DIY Mini-Spa for Home

diy-mini-spaHave any of you been to spas? I used to LOVE going to them in Taiwan. The spas felt like total luxury, with scents of tantalizing essential oil blends in the air, and calming music in the background. In the U.S., I know they can be incredibly expensive.

So what can you do at home, you ask? A mini-spa is relaxing, yet invigorating. A fun but simple routine I like to do once a week is a facial steam, which is simple and effective. First, remove all makeup from your face. For a facial steam, boil enough hot and distilled water, and pour carefully into your most lovely ceramic bowls at home. You then add fresh flowers, herbs, or drops of essential oils into the bowl.

Next, position your face over the bowl, and breathe in deeply. Put the towel so it covers your head and the bowl. (See an example here on Wikihow). Close your eyes, and breathe, enjoying the scents of the facial steam. After ten minutes, remove the towel, and dispose of the water and herbs carefully.

Some of my favorite ingredients are rose petals, lavender buds, peppermint leaves, and green tea leaves. Of course, you can pick and choose, depending on your mood. diy-mini-spa-rosesAs you can see in the photo on the right, I chose to use an herbal tea bag filled with roses! The best part is that the bag is biodegradable, so you can simply dispose of it once you’re done.

After the facial steam, I use a hydrosol as a toner, then one of the Wonderland Organic facial oils on my face and neck. This experience feels amazing– I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do. Let me know if you’re interested in buying samples of the Wonderland Organic oils!

Ingredients:

  • boiled hot water
  • bowl
  • flowers, herbs, or EO (essential oils)
  • towel

Tips:

  • Be careful of scalding yourselves with the hot water
  • Do this in the morning- it’s an amazing feeling before you start your day

Thanks so much for your input, fellow readers! This blog exists solely for you– as always, feel free to leave comments as to what you’d like to read. Has anyone tried a facial steam? What are your favorite ingredients to use?

 

Why Are Preservatives Necessary?

Why Are Preservatives Necessary?

the-truth-about-preservativesConfused about paraben-free? Sulfate-free? What do these mean? There’s been a lot of controversy regarding preservatives and overall ingredients in the beauty industry: I know that many consumers have been lost in terms of which ingredients are good, and which are bad.

There’s plenty of information floating around, but many experts can’t agree on what’s best for the industry. As a consumer, I was outraged at the amount of preservatives and ingredients that companies would put into their products. However, now that I’m on the other side (so to speak), ready to sell, I understand why they would need these ingredients in the first place.

In water-based formulas, bacteria thrives easily– companies HAVE to add some kind of preservative, usually under 1%, in order to keep the products fresh. If this isn’t done properly, end-users have reported breakouts, mold, problems with vision (badly preserved eye creams), and more. Although in small amounts, preservatives like Optiphen and Liquid Germall Plus are safe, they are still not good for the environment once they’ve been washed down the drain.

There has been more research featuring more “natural” preservatives, such as derivatives of lavender, thyme, rosemary essential oils, and more. Potassium sorbate is one that has been been used widely in food, so we have been consuming it for years.

With the onslaught of hysteria on parabens, I went to find out more information as to why. Back in 2004, studies found parabens in the breast tissue of breast cancer patients.Since many people have been disconcerted with parabens, companies have been quick to jump on the wagon, proclaiming “Paraben-free” on their marketing materials. However, parabens have been around for over 80 years. In fact, they’re even found in naturally-grown foods such as blueberries and carrots. Experts such as dermatologist Dr. Richard Thomas have advised to be sure that the alternative chemicals will be just as safe.

In oil-based formulas, there’s no need for preservatives, since bacteria won’t thrive well. Instead, I use anti-oxidants like ROE (rosemary oleoresin extract) and a sunflower-derived Vitamin E (no soy here!) to keep our products as fresh as possible. It’s my hope that Wonderland Organics will continue to make oil-based products only, in order for the products be as safe as possible. This is why I highly encourage my awesome readers to buy more oil-based products! At the least, you won’t be contributing to as many terrible ingredients going down the drain and toward our wildlife in the sea.

Readers, what do you think? I hope this has helped to clear up some confusion about preservatives, and why they are needed.

Stay tuned for more posts on ingredients!

References:

PAPAGEORGIOU, S., A. VARVARESOU, E. TSIRIVAS, and C. DEMETZOS. “New Alternatives to Cosmetics Preservation.” Journal of Cosmetic Science 61.2 (2010): 107-23. Journal of Cosmetic Science. Mar.-Apr. 2010. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://journal.scconline.org//pdf/cc2010/cc061n02/p00107-p00123.pdf>.

Molly. “Parabens, Blueberries & Skincare: 8 Facts That May Surprise You « The DermApproved Blog « DermApproved.” The DermApproved Blog. DermApproved, 18 July 2013. Web. 02 June 2014. <http://dermapproved.com/blog/parabens-blueberries-skincare-8-facts-that-may-surprise-you>.

 

 

TGI Fridays: Interview with Tory Li, DMD Student in Training

tory-li-wonderland-organics-interviewWhat’s something health-related that we don’t often talk about? (Unless you’re a dentist, that is). Dental health is fantastic in the United States, but it takes a little TLC to keep our pearly whites that way.

Today, we have a special collaboration with Tory Li, who is a dental student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Bradenton.

Ally: Hi Tory! What made you want to pursue a career in dentistry?

Tory: I enjoy the lifestyle of a dentist and the ability to perfect a specialized skill that can help others. A smile is often the first thing people notice in others, so it’s very important to make a good first impression.

Ally: That’s very true! On that note, what kind of toothpaste brands would you recommend?

Tory: Most toothpastes contain the same ingredients, but I recommend getting one with fluoride and a taste or smell that you enjoy.

Ally: Good advice. What do you think of mouthwash? (Some say it changes the pH of your mouth)

Tory: Mouthwash will lower the amount of bacteria in your oral cavity. Therefore it will take longer for the bacteria to recolonize your teeth surface. I think it’s personal preference to use or not use it, but brushing and flossing is highly recommended.

Ally: That’s good advice. We try flossing after most meals. Have you tried oil pulling?

Tory: I think I need more scientific research about it. but there doesn’t seem like an ingredient in coconut oil that is anti-bacterial. There are mouthwash that change colors when it encounters bacteria, because it was manufactured in that way.

Ally: Oils like coconut oil change color when they turn from solid form (white) to liquid form (clear). Once oil pulling is complete, it actually turns white from all of the bacteria. Crazy, we know. Tell us a little about the life of a dental student. tory-li-wonderland-organics-interview2

Tory: It’s exciting to get to work specifically with teeth. We have a pretty rigorous schedule from 7am to 4pm daily, but we mostly enjoy it 🙂

Ally: The grueling life, we know it well. Do you have daily oral health tips?

Tory: Brush twice daily for 2 minutes each time. 30 seconds each quadrant. Remember to floss correctly! You only get one set of teeth so protect them well!

Ally: This is quite true. Are there any types of food that would add to oral health?

Tory: I don’t think there’s one thing I can tell you that will definitely enhance oral health. What I can say that is certain is to limit the intake of sodas and sugary snacks. If possible, brush and floss after every meal.

Ally: How often would you recommend going to see the dentist?

Tory: It depends on the susceptibility of caries of your teeth. For most people, it is recommended twice a year. Some people who are more likely to get caries or have periodontal diseases are recommended to go 3-4 times per year.

Ally: We hope that our readers take heed! As a Beta tester, what is your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics soothing oil?

Tory: The oil was awesome! My mom and I both used it yesterday, and it really helped. Other oils have just sat on top of our skin, but your oil absorbed well. The soothing oil smells amazing, like a spa.

Ally: Thanks for the kind words! We’re glad it worked out so well for you and your family! And last but not least, what’s your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics blog?

Tory: I love how the Wonderland Organics blog explores a little bit of everything. I can’t wait for the rest of the products to launch so I can try them out!  Cheers to healthy living!

We’d like to thank Tory Li for taking time out of her day to talk to us. Does everyone try to be as careful as he or she can with teeth? Let us know!

Tend Your Skin Thursdays: Jojoba Oil

Tend Your Skin Thursdays: Jojoba Oil

jojoba-oilOne product that I love using in my skincare creations is jojoba oil. So what is it, you may ask?

According to Livestrong, jojoba plants thrive well and are grown in southwestern United States, and Northern Mexico.

Although jojoba oil is called an oil, it is actually a liquid wax ester. This oil’s shelf life is considered extremely long, which is a great reason to incorporate it into facial oils. Other oils such as almond oil and grapeseed oil have a much shorter shelf life, which means they may go bad in less than three months. This liquid wax ester is incredibly similar to the skin’s sebum, similar to macademia and sunflower oil.

Jojoba oil is not oily for the skin, which is another benefit for those who are as oil-prone as I am. When I first started researching oils, I was skeptic that any kinds of oil could possibly help out my skin. Oil wipes from Sephora were my best friend, a lifeline I would cling to rid of any residue from my face. After testing jojoba oil and a mix of others (coming soon on the blog!) on my face, I realized that the right combination could moisturize my skin effectively, without leaving a greasy film behind.

The type that Wonderland Organics uses is certified organic, and is a lovely golden color. According to the Journal of Cosmetic Science, pure jojoba is only filtered and pasteurized, which will maintain its golden tint. There is also a clear version, but this is filtered, refined, bleached, and deodorized. Which one would you prefer?

For more information about oils, check out the post on kukui oil and argan oil here!

Has anyone tried out jojoba oil? Let us know in the comments below.

References:

Hennessy, Regan. “Skin Benefits of Jojoba Oil.” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 29 May 2014.

Arquette, D.J., E.M. Bailyn, and J. Palenske. “Non-comedogenic and Hypoallergenic Properties of Jojoba Oil and Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil.” Journal of Cosmetic Science 49 (1998): 377-83. Journal of Cosmetic Science. Nov.-Dec. 1998. Web. 29 May 2014. <http://journal.scconline.org//pdf/cc1998/cc049n06/p00377-p00383.pdf>.

DIY Recipe Wednesdays: Healthy Smoothie Recipe

DIY Recipe Wednesdays: Healthy Smoothie Recipe

diy-recipe-wednesday-5.28.14What’s a super quick and simple recipe for the morning? If any of you have followed me on Facebook or Instagram, you have probably seen the many smoothies I’ve created in my trusty old Blendtec blender.

One of the great things about juicing is that you can use veggies that may not taste so delicious, and it’ll be mixed into your juicing for the day. For instance, I dislike the taste of arugula, but once it’s great blended into the sweet scent of succulent strawberries.

According to a new University College London (UCL) study, consuming 7 or more portions of fruits/vegetables per day reduces your risk of death by 42%, when compared to consuming less than one portion.

Doesn’t that sound like a fantastic reason to start eating more vegetables? According to Walter C. Willett of Eat, Drink and Be Healthy, uncooked vegetables are better because heat may destroy phytochemicals that are present. In this case, wash your chosen fruits and vegetables carefully before placing them in your blender. If you’re not able to find fresh vegetables, frozen may be just as good as the ones that you would find in the farmer’s market. There’s been many instances that I’ve purchased fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, just to find them rotting once I’ve returned home. diy-recipe-wed-strawberries-5.28.14

There’s been a few reports stating that you should not incorporate fruits into your blended creations, which is why I prefer to keep half of what I’ve sliced as a mini snack for later (it’s like getting two for one!)

Of course, this shouldn’t be the only thing that you have for breakfast: you can try quick oatmeal with flaxseeds and nuts to keep you nice and full before you head out to work. Without further ado, here’s the juicing recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Blender
  • Organic dark & leafy greens (kale, spinach, etc)
  • Organic bell peppers
  • Organic bananas
  • Organic apples
  • Oranges
  • Organic strawberries diy-recipe-wed-oranges-5.28.14
  • A little bit of distilled water

Tips:

  • As a first rinse, you can use ACV (apple cider vinegar) as you scrub your fruits and bell peppers- ACV is edible
  • You can prepare some of the fruits and vegetables for the next few days into your juicing
  • Buy as much as you can from your local farmer’s market! The oranges you see to the right were just $8 in total
  • Buy organic strawberries and bell peppers: there have been a large number of pesticides found on these two crops

Have any of you tried juicing in your home? What do you like about it?

References:

University College London. “New evidence linking fruit and vegetable consumption with lower mortality.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140331194030.htm>.

Willett, Walter C., and P. J. Skerrett. “Chapter 7.” Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating ; a Harvard Medical School Book Co-developed with the Harvard School of Public Health:. New York: Free, 2005. 145. Print.