Want Gorgeous Hair Color The Safe All Natural Way? Here’s How!

Photograph by Annie Edmonds

Since October is breast cancer awareness month, I think it’s appropriate to discuss the dangers of using unregulated cosmetics, especially synthetic hair dyes! According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, “Based on the data regarding bladder cancer, it has concluded that workplace exposure [to hair dye] as a hairdresser or barber is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” I assume that women who use hair dyes on a monthly and consistent basis are also at risk.

Conventional hair dyes are loaded with deadly chemicals. Some of these chemicals have been linked to serious health problems and even cancer! Not to mention testing on animals. I do not advise using synthetic permanent hair color, ever! Whether it’s from a box or your local hair salon it is hazardous to your health. It could affect the lymph and endocrine systems as well as your bladder and breasts, if you are exposed to it on a consistent basis. Here is a list of the deadliest chemicals in synthetic hair dyes: P-Phenylenediamine (PPD or coal tar, which is a known carcinogen), aminophenol, ethanolamine, hydroquinone, and 2, 4- diaminophenoxyethanol.

As soon as these toxins are rinsed from our hair, they are leached into waterways and the ground. Not only does this hurt our health and well-being, but it hurts our environment.

For years, my mother used black synthetic hair dye, and her mother before her. Every month she would dye her hair with these toxic chemicals, unaware of the dangers lurking. Black hair dye is one is the most toxic because of a higher concentration of the ingredients listed above, as well as ammonia, peroxide, sulfur, and harsh smelling fragrances. Every time she used the dye it would penetrate her scalp via the pores and enter her bloodstream. I finally convinced her about three years ago to change her ways. I was worried for her health because long term use can affect a person later in life.

So, you are probably wondering what your options are:

Henna dates back to the ancient Egyptian, Persian and Indian times and has been used as a safe alternative to dye the skin and hair. It comes from a small shrub tree also known as the Lawsonia Inermis. The leaves are dried and milled down into a soft powder to create a paste that makes a natural hair color. One of my favorite ways to be a beauty who loves nature is by using henna to color my hair. It’s all natural and leaves my hair looking shiny and feeling incredibly soft. There is also neutral henna, which is a non color henna. It can be used to make the hair shiny and soft without adding color.

Surya Brasil is a wonderful henna hair coloring brand that I came upon in Whole Foods one day. They have premixed henna colors ranging from light brown to black. The brand is completely vegan, sustainable and provides a pair of gloves and a hair cover with easy directions and use. It took me about an hour to complete my hair process and when I was through, my hair felt amazing! Oh, and the smell is lovely! Every time you wash your hair a little color comes out, and you have to reapply about once a month to keep up the richness, if you so choose. It is completely safe for pregnant moms as well, according to Surya Brasil’s claims. Although, it’s best to check with your doctor if you are going to change anything pertaining to your health.

Check out your local health food stores to see what options they have for natural hair coloring. I suggest this one because it is the easiest to use. Other brands have you mix your own henna which takes a while and is quite messy.

Tips: If you are coloring your hair with a dark henna, it’s best to wear clothes you don’t care about staining. Use dark or old towels and follow the directions. When you rinse the product out of your hair for the first time, your shower will be covered in color! Don’t worry though, it rinses off easily.

Be Advised: PPD has also been linked to “Black Henna.” It is approved by the FDA for use in hair color but not on skin because of adverse reactions. Which makes absolutely no sense to me because, if it contains coal tar- a known carcinogen than why does the FDA approve it at all. If you are purchasing a henna hair color with PPD in it, it is not natural and you should NOT buy it. Just to clear the record whether or not the FDA approves the safety of cosmetics, they do not. It is the responsibility of the companies and individuals who manufacture and market the products they are selling. This is a statement straight off their website:

FDA’s authority over other cosmetic ingredients:

“Except for color additives, FDA does not have the authority to approve cosmetic products or ingredients, although the use of several substances in cosmetics is prohibited or restricted due to safety or environmental concerns. Importantly, cosmetic products and ingredients are required to be safe for consumers under labeled or customary conditions of use. Companies and individuals who manufacture or market cosmetics have a legal responsibility for the safety of their products. FDA can take action against cosmetics on the market that violate the law.”

Links and resources:

http://www.suryabrasil.com/en/linha.php?id=16

http://www.aubrey-organics.com/Category/24_1/Color.aspx

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/hair-dyes

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm108569.htm

http://www.amazon.com/The-Green-Beauty-Guide-Fragrances/dp/0757307477

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Megan is an eco-friendly, cruelty-free, organic Makeup Artist, based in LA. She is one of the first pioneers in the eco cosmetics movement and is part of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. She teaches her clients about how they can make eco conscious cosmetic purchases that will help them and the environment. She loves to hike, kayak, workout, and hang with her handsome hubby and doggie Hobo.

Please visit her website at: www.meganporschen.com

The Sexiest Woman in the Room by Perfumer Natalie Bolton

As women, we ALWAYS spot the sexiest woman in the room. There are some core key factors that are in place. She dresses well, maybe even a bit controversial. She owns herself and the room with ease. And if you have the pleasure to get to close enough to her in proximity you might be graced with a waft of her “essence”.

A confident woman chooses her fragrance wisely.
To express her truth.
To push her own envelope.
What could possibly be any sexier?


Scent is so magical to me which is why I created Corpus Dei Perfumes to encourage women to live in their power. The aroma-therapeutic properties of pure essential oils can heal your body at the surface and even soothe you down to your soul. Just think of a time when a familiar scent warmed your heart and took you immediately back to a sacred time.
And since we are quickly welcoming fall, I am going to give you a few suggestions to help you become “fall fragrance ready”. With some of my perfume picks and a few of my favorite essential oils and their magical healing properties –you are sure to have a slew of  opulent olfactory options to wrap yourself up in.

Here are some of my favorites:
VETIVER: It is a warm and earthy scent so if you’re bold you might like experimenting with a fragrance that holds vetiver. This oil has a soothing effect on the nervous system. So you can calm yourself and simultaneously tame your prey to obey your every command!
PATCHOULI: This is my absolute favorite, and I know people have a love or hate relationship with this oil. This oil is also an earthy scent that is quite a powerful aphrodisiac, not to mention its mood enhancing properties. There are so many fragrances that hold patchouli, as it is a fixed oil that supports the fragrant release of other scents in which it is blended. So give a patchouli -based fragrance a try for fall. If you’re feeling exceptionally saucy, go ahead lift your mood and “lift” something else, if you know what I’m sayin’. It’s a very sexual scent.
SANDALWOOD: Aaah, sandalwood. This oil is rich, woody, and smooth. It has such a pleasant, non-intrusive smell that this may be a first choice if you are still afraid of patchouli. Sandalwood is extremely sexy and welcoming. If you feel like going out and being in control, a sandalwood blend might be perfect for you. Just be ready to welcome all those smitten suitors!
BERGAMOT: This oil is a very beautiful scent. It is citrus-y with a hint of floral spice. It creates an exotic yet graceful fragrance when it is blended with complimentary notes. It also has anti-depressant qualities that are sure to put you in the right zone. Bergamot blended with vanilla creates a smooth, buttery “so good you can taste it” smell…So this oil is perfect for the time when you are ready for that “anything goes” zone. Be careful-Bergamot is sure to make them crazy and want to devour every inch of you.

And being immersed at all times in all things fragrant, I am also including a few scents that are my favorites off the shelf. From” frugal to floral”, here are my picks for the budget conscious to the indulgently fabulous.

COTY VANILLA MUSK In a pinch, you can get this at any drugstore for a quick pick me up-a simple, classic blend.
For a middle-of-the-road; no-buyers-remorse price of $14.00.

FRESH CANNABIS SANTAL and SERGE LUTENS DAIM BLOND are my sexy go-to’s. Cannabis Santal is a complex fragrance labeled for men but with my unisex background in blending, I have worn it for years for its smoky, heavy yet citrus-y burn off. DAIM BLOND is a fruity fragrance that has a strong suede influence. It feels like a nice sweater. This sophisticated perfume is available at Barneys.
For a rich floral indulgence I LOVE FREDERIC MALLE CARNAL FLOWER! This is NOT that nauseatingly overpowering floral, we can all name one of those! This is sex! This tuberose blend captures the real scent of the flower with a little dirty grit. This yummy creaminess is also available at Barneys New York or at Frederic Malle. So go ahead, get gritty.

Now, it is time for YOU to be the sexiest woman in the room! It all starts from within. Believe in yourself, honor yourself, welcome love into your heart, and worship the body of God in you.

The power in me salutes the power in you,

Natalie Bolton

Natalie Bolton’s line Corpus Dei Perfumes has 3 signature omnisex scents that are retailed in Los Angeles. All Corpus Dei Perfumes are blended by hand using the finest oils and molecules to persuade one’s own natural pheromones (be them male or female) to cast spells upon those who are within the danger zone. For more information on essential oils and their benefits: http://www.corpusdeiperfumes.com

Red Carpet Skin by Celebrity Stylist and Writer, Michelle Brookhurst

As a celebrity stylist and former red-carpet walker, I know firsthand that even the most beautifully put-together outfit won’t make up for less than perfect skin. While the focus these days might be on “who you are wearing”, none of that matters compared to how you are feeling. Skin is skin, and it reacts to stress, weather, hormones, food, etc; there are some events in your life that might be hugely important to commemorate, but you’d rather the unflattering pictures not live on for eternity.

The only way to give yourself a little extra boost, is by being prepared. When a celebrity is on a press tour, you can bet they are ready for anything. They have a team: a stylist, who selects and tailors the ultimate outfit, a makeup artist, a hairdresser, a publicist to help with the interview questions, an assistant to make sure someone is walking the dog while their owner is stuck in a hotel conference room for 8 hours at a time. They have spent time getting facials, teeth whitenings, they are airbrush tanned for the perfect sun-kissed sparkle, they work with personal trainers and pilates instructors. They juice. They cleanse. They exfoliate.

So when it’s time for your big red carpet moment, whether it’s your best friends wedding, or the big office party, why don’t you take the time to give your skin some extra attention? I’ll bet you run around the mall looking for the perfect outfit, or try to squeeze in extra crunches during “The Good Wife”. Why don’t you take a few minutes, and spend a few dollars to make sure your skin is red carpet worthy too? Why is it we have special make-up for a big night out, but not special skin care at the ready? Everyone knows how to do a “smoky eye”, but what good is that when you have dull skin, or a breakout, or a T-Zone oil explosion? You can carry the clutch of the season, or keep your balance in the latest wedge heel, but who’s looking at that when the focus of every picture should be your face?

My two ultimate products for red carpet skin are simple, user friendly, and won’t break the bank. I don’t know about you, but when there is a big to-do happening, I don’t have time for a bunch of appointments, I’m lucky if I can do my nails on the bathmat at 1 am the night before. So my two red carpet picks are ones you can do at home, no muss no fuss, and they are gentle enough for the most sensitive skin. I can say that, because I have the most sensitive skin on the planet, and these two specialty items did not send me running for the benadryl or the dermatologist.

The first one is Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel Kit.


From the Sephora website: “The Microdelivery Peel Kit not only exfoliates the skin, it delivers vitamin C and peptides to the skin. This completely new approach to skin rejuvenation resurfaces and replenishes the skin at the same time.” It gives you a little scrub, and a little peel, just giving you brighter, softer, glowing skin in two steps. This is great for men too.

My second step for skin star-power, is the SKII Facial Treatment Mask. It looks ridiculous, but that’s part of the fun. No one said beauty is glamorous.

From the SKII website: “Radiance, Moisture Enhancing Mask by SK-II. Revitalizes. Comforts. Provides intense hydration. A 100% cotton mask that soaks skin with Pitera’s fusion of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids. Immediately replenishes dehydrated skin, leaving it refreshed and cool. “

After your skin has been scrubbed and peeled by Philosophy, let it soak in all the amino acids, vitamins and nutrients of this SKII mask. You will be so happy you did, because now, you are truly dressed for success.

Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel Kit available at:

Philosophy

Sephora

Skinstore

SKII available at:

SKII

Saks Fifth Avenue

Bliss

Michelle Brookhurst is a former teen actress (Can’t Hardly Wait, Charmed, Foxfire), turned celebrity stylist (clients include George Lopez and Baron Davis) turned writer. She has written a television series based on her life called “Certain Something”, and is currently based in Los Angeles.

“The Skin I’m In” by Celebrity Stylist and Writer, Michelle Brookhurst

I’m the person that “sensitive skin” labels were made for. Unfortunately, most products aren’t “sensitive” enough. I am allergic to every synthetic fragrance, every bubble bath, every laundry detergent, every make-up, every self-tanner, every everything.

I have horror stories of getting on a plane and using a beautiful, “healthy” cucumber hand lotion from an extremely reputable brand, known for it’s true to nature philosophy, and breaking out in hives 20 minutes into a 5 hour flight. When I go to a hotel, I have to bring my own towel, so I don’t get a red itchy rash all over my torso from the hotel bathrobe and towel sets. I have to pack my own blanket plus full length pajamas and socks, to keep me protected from the hotel linens. So much for a romantic getaway when you are covered head to toe, in the hopes of protecting yourself from a blanket. I am terrified of the Snuggle bear, and the wrath his scented dryer sheets can inflict on my skin.

So needless to say, I am extremely paranoid and picky when it comes to my skin care. For a long time I used Olay sensitive skin face wash, and moisturizer with sunblock, but when I wanted to make the switch to paraben-free skin care, I was lost in a sea of essential oils. I am always nervous to try anything new on my skin, I patch test everything, with a dime size scoop of any new product on my inner wrist for 24 hours before it goes anywhere near my face. So when a friend suggested DeVita skin care, I took her advice with a grain of salt; everyone always thinks they can outsmart my skin allergies, but my puffy eyes and swollen lips the morning after a “I swear it’s all natural” lotion test have always told me the truth. However, I started paying attention to her repeated suggestion, not because I necessarily believed the line wouldn’t affect my skin, but because her skin looked so fantastic.

My patch testing began on a summer afternoon, after reading everything I could on paraben-free allergy safe skincare. DeVita was the clear winner. It’s sold at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and they have their own website, http://www.devitaskincare.com. It’s a little more expensive than the average drugstore skin care products, but for someone like me, it’s truly priceless. The packaging is beautiful, and not only is it paraben free, it’s vegan safe, gluten sensitive safe, never tested on animals, and the products are fantastic! My personal favorites are the Aloe Vera Moisture Cleanser, the Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30, the DeVita-C Serum, the Perfecting Time Age Defying Moisturizer, the Hyaluronic Serugel, and the super duper High Performance Glycolic Acid Blend. I am way too sensitive to use Retin-A, but this glycolic acid serum does the trick! My skin has never been calmer, clearer, brighter, and happier. The line has every kind of troubleshooting product you can imagine, from under eye cream to capillary support. DeVita has “try-me” kits on their website, which are also ideal for travel- because the bottles are a beautiful thick glass, some of the full-size products are not great for squishing into a suitcase.

I don’t feel lost or embarrassed about my skin anymore, I’m just a sensitive gal in general. As I have matured, I am grateful for my emotional sensitivity, it makes me a better friend, daughter, parent, sister. And I am thankful, for every hotel towel, and well-intentioned bubble bath, for all the itchy and red days and nights, because they brought me to a safe, healthy skin care line, that looks beautiful in my home, and even better on my skin.

 

Michelle Brookhurst is a former teen actress (Can’t Hardly Wait, Charmed, Foxfire),  turned celebrity stylist (clients include George Lopez and Baron Davis) turned writer.  She has written a television series based on her life called “Certain Something”, and is currently based in Los Angeles.

Devita Skincare & Cosmetics Available at:
DeVita

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“How to GLOW from the inside out” by Emily Fletcher of Ziva Meditation

Think of the most beautiful person that you know.  Go on… picture her. What is it that you find beautiful about her?  While physical tastes may differ there are a few things that most of us find attractive across the board – confidence, joy and kindness. These things turn on your inner glow in a way that everyone around you will notice.

So how do we add more confidence, joy and kindness to our lives? Meditation. Yep, Meditation!  Why?  Meditation is a powerful stress relieving tool.  Stress will zap your inner glow and rob you of the experience of enjoying the RIGHT NOW.  Stress is making us sick, it is making us crazy and it is aging us at alarming rates.

One hundred bucks says that the beautiful person that you pictured earlier is NOT running around complaining, busy and stressed.

“But I don’t have time to meditate, I don’t want people to think I am a freak, I can’t stop my mind from thinking…”

Here is the good news.  No one can stop their mind from thinking, so take that pressure off yourself.  The only time the brain activity totally stops is when we are dead.  The time that you invest in meditation will pay of in dividends with what you are able to accomplish afterwards.  More people than you think are already doing it, loving it and getting their inner glow on.

How does meditation help you get your glow on?

Meditation is custom designed to dissolve stress.  We all know that a good night’s sleep is one of natures best beauty secrets.  What if you knew that meditation delivers rest that is 5 times deeper than sleep!  The body wants to thank you for that deep rest, and it thanks you by dissolving old stresses lodged in the nervous system.  Less stress in the nervous system allows you to be more present in the right now which is the only place that happiness actually resides.

Meditation also reverses body age by up to 8 YEARS! Sounds crazy right? But here is the thing.  Stress ages us in an expeditious fashion.  If you want proof of that, look at a picture of any president when they take office and a picture of them one year after being in office.  All of them seem to age ten years in just one.

If you want to practice right now here is a simple exercise you can try.  Let us know how it goes for you.

1. Find and comfy chair and close your eyes

2. Take 30 seconds of just chilling

3. Gently start thinking the word “one” silently to yourself

4. Repeat for 5 min (feel free to check your watch, don’t    set an alarm)

5. Know that thoughts will come, that is ok.  Keep coming back “one”.

Just five minutes a day of quiet time can do wonders in an age of ever increasing demands and distractions.  Take charge of your inner glow and try it now!

 

Want to learn more? Check out www.zivameditation.com to attend a free 1 hr Intro to Meditation.

Ziva Meditation was founded by Emily Fletcher who began her extensive training in Vedic meditation in Rishikesh, India under world-renowned meditation instructors, Thom Knoles and Will Dalton. Emily was inspired to become a meditation instructor after experiencing the profound physical and mental benefits it provided her during her 10-year career on Broadway, which included roles in Chicago, The Producers, AChorusLine and many others.

With a unique combination of training in Western psychology (7 years of study under Thomas Jones, founder of The Paradox Process) and 4 years of meditation training Emily is perfectly suited to teach busy people how to incorporate this simple and hugely effective practice into their lives.