Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Let us just start off by stating how much we love carrier oils. What are they, you ask? They’re plant or vegetable oils that are commonly used to carry the benefits of essential oils and other ingredients into the layers of skin. When we were first immersed in the wonders of natural skincare, we felt amazed at the fact that certain skin types are better suited for different carrier oils.
We’ve discussed argan oil, kukui and jojoba, and we’re happy to introduce new ones for aging skin! (Note: that would be all of us, as we have not managed to create an actual Fountain of Youth)
Rosehip seed oil is a potent oil for mature skin as it works to fight the signs of aging in a number of ways. It is a natural source of both vitamin C and retinols, so it has powerful antioxidant properties, helping to protect against free radicals. It has been proven to increase cell turnover, which helps to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and scars. Rosehip seed oil absorbs easily and penetrates deep into the skin to hydrate and moisturize. As you may expect, this beautiful oil takes on the color of a rose-like hue, and can be used directly as a moisturizer. For fall and winter months, the chief formulator at Wonderland Organics plans to incorporate this oil into our facial serums!
Coconut oil has a large amount of lauric acid, which turns into monolaurin in the body. This (healthy) high-saturated fat oil is even safe to take internally: you’ve probably seen a lot of people cooking with it, or taking coconut oil in its capsule form. What makes coconut oil even better is that it’s great as a moisturizer, and we love using it as makeup remover as well. Perhaps one of the best parts of this carrier oil is that it doesn’t go rancid very quickly- it’s good for over a year. We’re currently using fractionated coconut oil in our facial serums, as it adds to its shelf life, and doesn’t constantly melt and remelt. For those of you fascinated by science, coconut oil’s melting point is at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that it keeps melting and re-melting during the hot summer months!
Avocado oil is an excellent carrier oil because it is easily absorbed by and penetrates deep into the skin. It has been shown to significantly increase the amount of collagen, which provides the skin’s structural foundation. Avocado oil contains a high amount of sterolins which are known to reduce sun/age spots and help to heal scar tissue. We love avocado oil, but this is one best suited for wintertime! This is mainly because it’s extremely heavy, so we adore using it when the weather makes our skin dry. It smells amazing, and is highly moisturizing.
Borage oil is a perfect choice for dry, mature skin. It is rich in the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid, which helps to maintain and replenish moisture in the skin. Additional essential fatty acids help keep cell membranes flexible and slow water loss from skin cells. It also contains tannins, which provide a skin tightening and toning effect. Borage oil also promotes the production of prostaglandin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory that helps calm irritated skin.
Evening primrose oil is extremely high in linoleic acid, which is scientifically proven to be a very effective antioxidant. This means evening primrose helps to destroy free radicals, and protects skin against free radicals’ damaging effects. Evening primrose oil helps stimulate the production of collagen and boosts new cell formation. It is a good moisturizer, and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Have you tried any of these oils? Let us know in the comments below!
The 5 Woogo Founders
Hankering for a smoothie during the hot summer days? While living in Taiwan, there were plenty of cool drinks to choose from: iced water, tea, boba, juice. But we constantly had a yearn for smoothies, similar to Jamba Juice’s. Lo and behold, we met Jay Chen, co-founder of Woogo Smoothies, and we fell in love with their amazing smoothies. (Expert tip: our favorite is their berrypuff smoothie!)
Wonderland Organics: Where did the idea for Woogo start?
Jay Chen: It all started one of those hot and humid summer days in Taiwan. Two of WooGo’s co-founders, Robbie and Sagiv stepped out of the gym and Sagiv mentioned that he was dying for a cool and refreshing California-style smoothie. After conducting some research, they found that no such thing existed in Taiwan. They mentioned the idea of opening a smoothie shop to myself, my brother Adam and Tim. My brother and I were avid smoothie drinkers back in Canada and Tim had tried them on a trip to California. We all instantly agreed that opening up a smoothie shop here in Taipei would be a lot of fun, so we went ahead and started our business plan.
Beautifully captured Woogo smoothie
Wonderland Organics: That’s a great beginning! We absolutely loved that you found this niche market in Taiwan. What industry were you working in before starting your own business?
Jay Chen: I come from an applied health science background. Before I came to Taiwan, I was working as a clinical consultant for an orthotic company called The Orthotic Group. I always knew that I wanted to start my own business someday but I never imagined that it’d be a smoothie shop on the other side of the world.
A glimpse inside the Woogo store
Wonderland Organics: It’s awesome when life takes us in a new direction. Do you have partners?
Jay Chen: Yes, WooGo Juice has five co-founders, including myself. That’s why it’s called WooGo because it sounds sort of like 五哥(wu ge) in Mandarin which translates to five brothers.
Wonderland Organics: We love the play on Chinese words! (Have to agree, take a look at the 5 handsome founders). Tell us a little about your workday.
Jay Chen: I try to set aside mornings for exercise or getting things done around the house. Then I get on my bike and either head to the store to work or run other WooGo related errands. Any free time is generally dedicated to my passions which include enjoying music and spending quality time with good friends.
Woogo mouth-watering smoothie!
Wonderland Organics: It’s great to have that balance of work and personal life! What’s the best part of working in Taipei?
Jay Chen: It’s fun working in Taipei because it’s a big city and I have an opportunity to interact with all sorts of people on a daily basis. On any given day, I will get to interact with people from various age groups and cultural backgrounds. It makes me happy knowing that we sell a product that can brighten the day of just about anyone.
Wonderland Organics: You most certainly do! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs starting out?
Jay Chen: I’m still new at this whole entrepreneur thing, but my advice would be to seek out as much advice as you can from experienced and successful entrepreneurs. We got tons of helpful advice and insights from trusted sources. I would also make sure that you are doing something that you love or believe in 100% because that’s what is going to keep you going during the harder and more stressful times. If you have any doubts from the start, then you should really sit down and think about whether this is the right idea or not.
Wonderland Organics: We agree: your drive for entrepreneurship is definitely important. And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Jay Chen: I like how it’s written. It’s written in such a positive and helpful tone. The posts are very informative and I could really feel the passion and desire to help people take care of their bodies. Keep up the amazing work!
Thanks Jay! If you’re interested in Woogo’s fantastic smoothies, feel free to drop by their store–No. 42, Lane 233, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Road (台北市大安區敦化南路一段233巷42號), located around Exit 3 of Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT in Taipei, Taiwan. Also feel free to check out their website and Facebook!
Loved Woogo? Let us know in the comments below!
Image courtesy of satit_srihin/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What’s the most important meal of the day? It’s been drilled into us for many years now, but sometimes we can’t resist skipping breakfast as we rush out the door. If you feel that you don’t have enough time, we’ve compiled a list of simple yet delicious ideas for you to try!
1. Green smoothie (mixed baby greens, kale, green bell peppers, blueberries, strawberries) For those of you that follow us on either Facebook or Instagram have seen our smoothies for years! We hope that this will give you incentive to make your own delicious versions. The best part about this is that it’s easily customized, so you can pick and choose depending on what fruits and veggies are available at the local farmers markets! Expert tip: prepare and wash the night before, so you can just toss them into the blender in the morning.
2. Yogurt (look for the type with live active cultures, like Trader Joe’s). Personally, we love yogurt– they’re great to snack on, though we make sure to buy the ones with less sugar. We’ve mentioned this in a previous post here, but Greek yogurt is absolutely fantastic. To customize, add granola or freshly cut fruit!
3. 1 minute Quaker oatmeal. You may think this is rather bland, but it’s incredibly simple to make. We love adding almonds and other types of nuts to make us full. Other ideas include adding frozen organic corn and a dash of salt to turn this into salty porridge (think Taiwanese style porridge that you often find at dim sum. But without too many calories and MSG).
“Antsonalogb” by Lkmassey28 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antsonalogb.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Antsonalogb.jpg
4. Ants on a log: this one isn’t quite as scary as it sounds! This delicious idea consists of raisins on peanut butter, slathered over organic celery (idea from childhood books). Opt for organic if you can, especially since celery is one of the mostly heavily pesticide-laden crops.
5. Free range scrambled eggs over whole wheat toast– this has to be a staple, seen especially at comfort food diners. However, why bother with all of the added cholesterol? Try scrambling organic and free-range brown eggs with your choice of healthy oil (organic coconut oil perhaps?). We love this over lightly toasted whole wheat bread, offset by a side of fresh melon.
6. Fruit: This is easily prepared the night before, and can be partly used for the green smoothie listed at #1. Fruit is so much more delicious than GMO-processed candy, and sweet as a pie. We suggest slicing up organic apples, bananas, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, and danjou pears. If you have any left over, why not save extra to bring to work as a snack?
7. Fitness Buff Breakfast: We’ve had suggestions from athletes who love grapefruit, hard-boiled eggs, and a protein smoothie with bananas, whey, and almonds. This is simple to make too, and we’re definitely going to have to try this on our workout days.
The best part is, most of these can double as healthy snacks! What’s your favorite breakfast? Let us know in the comments below!
Wonderland Organics Facial Serums: Soothe, Sublime & Balance
Photography has always been an area that we’ve loved, since “pictures speak a thousand words”. When we first started Wonderland Organics, we knew that we would need someone amazing to capture the essence of our company. When a friend introduced us to Danielle White Photography, we admired her talent, and asked her to do our product photography (and a fun shoot with our founder!)
Wonderland Organics: How did you get into photography?
Danielle White: At the beginning of last year (2013) I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which meant I could no longer work in the dental field that I had loved for many years. I was looking for volunteer opportunities in the area to fill my time, and came across a professional photographer looking for an apprentice. I jumped at the chance. As a kid I was always pretending I was a big time photographer and got my first SLR camera when I was 14.
Founder Alice Lin in Wonderland
Wonderland Organics: We think it’s amazing you’ve turned a diagnosis into a new and extraordinary life direction. For our curious readers, what kind of lens and camera do you shoot with?
Danielle White: I shoot on an old Canon 5d that I bought used and a couple prime lenses- a 50mm 1.8 (leftover from my first SLR camera from 12+ years ago) and an 85mm 1.8.
Wonderland Organics: Your camera is amazing! What’s a sneak peek into a day at Danielle White Photography?
Danielle White: My day always starts with coffee!! After I’m sufficiently caffeinated, I catch up on photography blogs and artists (photographers, dancers, musicians, etc.) that inspire me on Facebook. I edit my shoots while listening to meditation music (My current favorite is the Asian Zen Spa Music) playlist I found on Spotify and burning incense. It gets me into the editing zone.
Facial Oil Samples
Wonderland Organics: We’re definitely with you on the caffeine. What’s your ideal photo shoot?
Danielle White: I like to call my style of photography “Organic Photography”. I love natural light and shoot where my clients are comfortable, including in their own yards or apartment complexes. I get a combination of traditional portraits, lifestyle details, and candid shots. It’s not a big production with me (just me and my camera), which makes professional shots within reach of anyone out there. I love a shoot where my client lets his or her personality shine- I love nothing more than to capture a real, crinkle-nosed, full on belly laugh- kids and adults alike!
Wonderland Organics: This was evident in the stunning photos you shot for us! Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
Danielle White: It’s really important to work within your means, including time,
Blending in with nature
money, and space– it will force you to be creative in your learning and problem solving methods. I bought a used 12 mp full frame camera because it’s what I could afford. Most cell phones these days come with higher resolution cameras! It forced me to really learn my camera and settings to get the best quality.
I work with prime lenses, because they tend to be cheaper. This has forced me to think about the placement of my clients and where I stand and I how I move around them. I couldn’t afford fancy presets and actions for editing software, so I had to learn how to do everything from scratch. Of course, I drool over new cameras and lenses and have a giant wishlist, but I am thankful for my meager start, because it forced me to learn things that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, which I feel makes me better at what I do.
Balance Serum in Wonderland
Wonderland Organics: Brilliant suggestions for the entrepreneurs out there! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?
Danielle White: I love that the blog acknowledges that health is a mind, body, soul connection and gives tips and information on a wide range of healthy topics! Keep it up!
We love Danielle’s insightful answers to our interview– isn’t she amazing? If you’re looking to support local businesses (or if you’re based in the Bay Area), feel free to reach out to her at her website here!
Loved the interview? Let us know in the comments below!
The heat wave has been gaining steadily across the country as we hit summer, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up on looking our best in this sweltering heat. We’ve garnered plenty of requests for great skin and makeup tips, and we’ve answered your call. (Just call us Lois Lane). We’ve compiled a list of our favorite tips and brands that we use all summer long.
- Eye shadow: We adore cream shadows for summer, as they blend nicely, and won’t smear as much with the (dark) pressed shadows. (We’re a big fan of the shimmer types) Cream eye shadows can also be used to highlight the face and brows. Currently, we’re using Lauren Brooke Cosmetique’s Pearl shadow: it’s a beautiful, shimmery color that’s subtle, and is reminiscent of vanilla.
- Facial Oil/Moisturizer: We love the Wonderland Organics Balance Serum (available soon on Etsy) to help balance oily and combination skin. The kukui and jojoba oils help moisturize, and the apricot kernel oil has a slight tightening property to balance the skin’s sebum. Best of all, it has a light citrusy scent that smells spa-like.
- Blush: What we find incredibly useful are those multi-purpose products. The Vapour Organic Beauty blush stain can be used on the lips, eyes and cheeks. We were actually lucky enough to win this beaut a few years ago in a contest, and fell in love ever since. Since red is such a hot color, this particular stain looks fantastic on your cheekbones (gently rubbed in), and as a pop of color on your lips.
- Toner: We’ve mentioned it before, but hydrosols are a must to keep cool in the heat. They’re best to spritz before using facial oils/moisturizers, and after to set your look. Hydrosols are also great for aromatherapy purposes: spray, then breathe deeply for a second or two to absorb the lovely scent (rose is fantastic).
- Deodorant: We all need deodorant to keep us fresh during these hot summer days. You might even say it’s one of the most important skincare needs we have during this season! We’ve been using Bubble and Bee’s cream deodorants for the past few years, and they’ve been life-saving. You simply apply with clean fingers, and it keeps for hours. Our favorite scent is the lime and geranium, though they offer plenty of choices. Pro tip: keep this in the fridge, especially during the summer! Don’t you adore this packaging?
- Lip balm: What’s not to love about lip balm? It fits perfectly in our purses (or pants for you gentlemen out there). We usually use this for chapped and dry lips– but did you know lip balm can also be used as a nail cuticle balm, or for dry skin spots in a pinch? (We advise using clean hands only).
- Mascara: Living in Asia meant finding mascara that wouldn’t smear, stat. While we loved using natural brands, we realized that many of these brands still left us looking like a panda after a 104 F degree day. Thus, we made the difficult decision to stick to more mainstream brands– they have less than awesome ingredients, but they hold up better in the heat. For instance, Shiseido’s waterproof mascara and Benefit’s They’re Real mascara have performed admirably.
Is there anything you’d like us to add to the list? Do let us know in the comments below!