Skin Care Rule #1- Take Off Your Makeup or Forget About Results

The Birdy Blog- The Cardinal Sin of Skin Care- Are you Guilty?Yes, I’m looking at you.

There are many steps to a good skin care regimen. I’m sure you’ve read a ton of blog posts and articles that state moisturizing is the most important step OR choosing the right anti-aging products is “King” for your skin care.

But, the fact is, none of these “Most important” skin care routines or products will do you any good if you don’t wash your face properly every night. Especially if you don’t remove your makeup.

When you cleanse you accomplish a variety of good deeds:

  • Remove dirt, grime, sweat and icky environmental gook– leaving on your makeup or just an unwashed face enables the free radicals built up on your skin to breakdown your collagen faster. This results in premature aging.
  • Unclogging your pores– dead skin cells, sebum and dirt will build up and over time creating a bottleneck effect in your pore. As the debris increases so does the acne bacteria.
  • Allowing your skin to breath as oxygen repairs a multitude of sinsRemoving your makeup or washing your face at night helps to recover from oxidative stress (imbalance of free radical production and the body’s ability to fight the affects). More premature aging.
  • Allows your skin to absorb the good ingredients you use your hard earned cash to buy

Now that I have your attention..

Wash your face at night, every night whether you wear makeup or not.

  • Your skin repairs itself the most while you sleep and you want to take advantage of skin cell renewal and collagen production powers of the night.
  • You don’t want that crap on your pillowcase– The dirt and makeup buildup on your pillow creates an uphill battle.
  • A combination of all the wrongs of an unwashed face leads you to a dull complexion and breakouts.

The Face Washing Challenge
I challenge you to wash your face every night for 2 weeks and I guarantee you will see your complexion start to glow. If you can take it to 4 weeks you will really see some dramatic results as it takes the skin cells around 1-2 months to regenerate from the lower levels of skin compartments. This cell renewal process takes longer as we age.

I know this is easier said than done.

Good skin, like a healthy body, takes time and planning but it doesn’t need to be a drag. An extra 5 minute routine before you go to bed could make all the difference to your skin care results.

Natural vs. Synthetic Scents- Some Facts for Heath and Skin Care

Natural vs Synthetic Scents- The Stinky Facts that Affect Your Health and Skin Care

Do you know the difference between natural and synthetic scents?

Is one better for you then the other?

The debate between natural and synthetic scents is never going to be over and way too big for this one little blog post, but I can help you decide which one you prefer to use.

Natural and synthetic scents are like comparing apples to an apple-scented car deodorizer. While apples are good for your body, the synthetic scent has no therapeutic value.

Let’s discuss….

Some definitions:
“Natural” means it came from nature, made of natural chemicals and we call these “Essential oils.”
“Synthetic” means it’s composed of synthetic man-made chemicals.

Essential oil facts:

  • “The chemistry of essential oils is very complex: each one may consist of hundreds of different and unique chemical compounds.” [1] They are highly concentrated substances. Some of the naturally occurring chemicals in essential oils are so minute that man cannot copy them.
  • Essential oils contain therapeutic value.
  • Essential oils are very powerful, natural ingredients but just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Think poisoned berries. They’re natural but they’ll kill ya.
  • That said if a skin care company is using essential oils properly the therapeutic use of essential oils on the skin can be profound.
  • Essential oils can have adverse affects on a small percentage of people, manifesting as headaches, dizziness, nausea and migraine headaches.

Synthetic Fragrance facts:

  • Synthetic fragrances are, contrary to popular belief, regulated by the FDA.
  • Synthetic fragrances have zero therapeutic value.
  • No matter how many aroma chemicals or preservatives are included in a recipe, they only need to be listed as “Fragrance” on the label. These fragrance chemicals do not need to be revealed on the label due to proprietary laws that allow companies to keep their formulas hidden from competitors.
  • Synthetic fragrances can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea and migraines.
  • If you are not privy to the chemicals you are applying to your skin, then you can’t know if they’re dangerous or make an educated decision as to their safety.

How to educate yourself
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has demonized synthetic fragrances along with a number of other skin care ingredients for years, claiming dubious sources, hype, assumptions and misinformation. Their findings are not based on science.

When researching ingredients I never use EWG but turn to websites like Personal Care Truth which rely on science based information. Their mission is to educate rather than scare and they don’t generally hold to the credo that natural = good and synthetic = bad, unless scientific findings warrant it.

About allergens and endocrine disruptors in natural and synthetic scents:
Both natural and synthetic scents contain allergens and hormone disruptors but I can’t find any articles from reputable sources (the kind based on science, not hype) that discuss the relative safety of natural vs. synthetic with regard to allergies and endocrine disruptors. The general takeaway form my research is that reactions from synthetic fragrance chemicals seem to be more severe then with natural ingredients but I encourage everyone to do their own research.

What is in your product?
The easiest way to see what’s in your product is looking at the ingredients label.

  • Essential oils will usually be listed as “Essential Oils” or a list of each type of oil separately like “Orange essential oil, rosemary essential oil.” The list of individually marked essential oils is the best resource for identifying which ingredient may be causing a bad reaction. Birdy Botanicals is working to have all labels list essential oils individually instead of using “essential oil blend.”
  • A synthetic fragrance is usually listed as perfume, Parfum or “fragrance.” Whether is had 10 synthetic chemicals or 100, a fragrance recipe is not required to give you more information then this.

So which do you choose?
Birdy Botanicals prefers using natural essential oils because:
Synthetic fragrance oils are, in general, stronger and longer lasting than their natural essential oil counterparts. I don’t often see this as a good thing.
Synthetic scents can desensitize our sense of smell so we tend to use more and more until we are overwhelming the people and environments we come in contact with.
Natural scents neutralize odors rather then mask them. So while they may not stick around long they fix the problem rather then cover it up.
Natural scents are a more intimate experience for those that are close to us or come in close contact with us. It’s a more sensual, personal experience.
After using essential oils for years, when I come in contact with synthetic fragrances I feel my throat, nose and head react instantly in a negative way. Not only do I not feel good but the smell I am reacting to can become repulsive.

Regarding sensitivity:

Sensitive skin is an enormous umbrella under which all reactive skin issues live. There are no black and white rules about what an individual will react to.

There is no such thing as a truly hypo-allergenic ingredient. Someone out there will react to it.

Some of you with sensitive skin may be able to handle some synthetic fragrance and essential oils. It all depends on what specifically you react to.

But, if you do have sensitive skin, the wiser choice is to go with essential oils unless you’ve shown prior issues with them. This may take some trial and error.

Always use a patch test before ever using a new skin care ingredient. If you react cease using immediately.

If you are still reacting try using unscented products. (Beware, a lot of unscented products out there are really scented. For example I bought an unscented Mitchum deodorant and was blown over by it’s “unscent.” Blech!)

Birdy luuurves essential oils but understands they too have limitations. Essential oils can be so healing and solve a huge number of skin care issues but we realize they are not for everyone.

1- Essential Science Publishing- (2009) “Essential Oils Desk Reference”- Fourth Edition. Pg.1

Pumping Lots of Cash into Skin Care Products Without Results?- You May Not Be Using Enough

Pumping a Lot of Cash into Skin Care Products Without Results?- You May Not Be Using EnoughHave you ever spent lots of money on leave on products and wondered why they’re not working?

Many of the expensive face serums and eye creams we spend major dollars on are what the industry calls, “Dose Dependant.” Meaning, a specific dose of the product is required to be used in order to gain the benefits for which the product was created to provide.

Unfortunately the rule with most skin care products: You have to use it to get the results.

There’s always the chance that the product is bogus. How many times have we been played by fake before and after photos that promised magical results? Unfortunately this is rampant in the skin care industry.

But, what if the product does work but you’re trying to use less in order to stretch the life of the product before you have to re-buy it?

You’ll never know if it works because you’re not using enough of it.

How do you know if you’re using enough?

There’s such a thing called “The Goldilocks Principal.” It refers to a dosage that must be within certain margins. Not too much, not too little, but just right.

Rule of thumb to reach the “goldilocks effect”:

  • If there is a recommended dosage, don’t ignore it or you’ll be wasting your money.
  • If there’s no dosage size recommended, start with one pump or a pea size amount. The product should flow over your skin easily and absorb within 10-20 seconds and with a few gentle, massaging strokes. If you need more go with another pea size or adjust the amount depending on how much coverage you got from the first dose. And don’t forget your other aging hot spots like your neck, decolletage and back of your hands.
  • If you don’t see any results in 30- 40 days, I would deduct the product isn’t working for you.
  • The best solution is to buy product that you can afford to re-purchase when you’re product is finished. If money is that much of an issue (usually is) then take a chance on expensive positions only when you get a money back guarantee.

Buying good quality product can be crucial to your skin care efforts and results, but if you’re not going to use enough of it to make a difference, then leave your money in your wallet and step away from the beauty counter.

New Product! Introducing Enzyme Face Scrub With Milk and Papaya

Enzyme Face Scrub with milk and papaya
#1 question, “Do you have a scrub?”

Now I can say, “Yes, I do!”

Whoo Hoo!

Exfoliation is a major step in the anti-aging process. You’ve must remove dead skin cells to allow new ones to form in their place.

I created a product that was for most skin types with exfoliating ingredients at gentle but effective levels.

IntroducingBirdy’s new Enzyme Face Scrub with milk and papaya.

Ingredient highlights

  • Papaya and Pineapple enzymes– soften and smooth skin while dissolving dead skin cells.
  • Low levels of Anti-aging exfoliating fruit acids (AHAs- Alpha Hydroxy Acids)– with natural occurring malic, tartaric, glycolic, lactic and oxalic acids to gently strip away dead skin cells, minimize pores and even out your skin tone.
  • Exfoliating Jojoba beads– gently support the other exfoliating ingredients safely without scratching or wounding the sensitive skin on your face.
  • Milk, aloe, chammomile, lavender and green tea– soothe and calm your skin.

A couple things about using AHA’s

  • Professionals often recommend using AHA products at levels of 3% or higher. At these levels, products are extremely active and not for everyone.
  • My Enzyme scrub uses AHA’s and enzymes together at a level of between 1%-2% and has the addition of gentle jojoba beads to support the exfoliating efforts. This creates a gentle but effective scrub that will get the job done effectively for all skin types.

Directions
For all skin types. Sensitive skin use patch test first.

  • Use 2-3 times per week instead of or in addition to cleanser (depending on your skin type).
  • Gently massage onto your face for 1-2 minutes. Don’t scrub too hard! Let the ingredients do their thing.
    Don’t ignore your neck and decolletage. And don’t forget them when you sunscreen too!
  • Always use sunscreen when using exfoliating products

*Sunburn Alert:
This product contains alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.

But since you’re already wearing sunscreen I didn’t need to tell you that, right? 🙂

Basic Anti-aging Skin Care- It Ain’t Just About the Wrinkles

Basic Anti-Aging Principals- It ain't just about the wrinklesWhen we think about aging skin we automatically think wrinkles.

Wrinkles and fine lines are not the cause, but the effect of aging skin. They are a byproduct of the aging process.

So, when discussing anti-aging what exactly are we trying to accomplish or fix. Where do those damn wrinkles come from?

Key Anti-aging principals:

#1 Control the environmental effect of aging skin

  • Sunscreen protects you from the suns damaging rays that creates age spots, damage to your collagen and free-radicals. Sunscreen does not prevent skin cancer. It prevents possible damage to your skin cells that in turn can cause skin cancer.
  • The environment: Air pollution and sun damage causes free radicals.
  • Antioxidants are the super heroes that fight the damaging free-radicals. Daily application of antioxidants are key to keep your skin cells healthy and vibrant.

#2 Control inflammation effect on aging skin

#3 Control sagging

This is much more difficult to prevent. With age our skin and face muscles sag. In order to prevent this you can do a couple things:

  • DMAE- an ingredient that acts like a bandaid reducing fine lines and sagging for the day but with repeated use you are keeping things firm and in place. The less you let those lines and sags set in, the less they will appear.
  • Botox: If you go this route I firmly suggest you check out the work of your skin care professional from several sources before jumping in.
  • Facial massage and excercises: It’s tough to tell if this one works. You have to commit to it like any routine and you need an extended period of time before you can see if it’s working. At least 30-60 days. Resist any movements that creates wrinkles as you work your muscles. No pursing of the lips, think exercises that expand rather then contract.

#4 Exfoliate

  • You must remove dead skin cells in order to allow new ones to grow.
  • This step needs to be done safely or you can damage your skin barrier allowing the environmental pollution to penetrate as well as swelling and irritation to form. These factors can destroy dermal tissue and collagen and will age you faster.
  • Exfoliate 2-3 times a week and always wear sun protection for up to a week after.

If you are better educated on what causes those pesky wrinkles you are better prepared to fight their appearance. Proper, gentle and effective skin care products are just part of the arsenal needed to keep your skin young and dewy.

Having a Healthy Attitude on Aging Skin Doesn’t Mean Throwing in the Towel

How to have a Healthy view on Aging Skin. - Birdy BotanicalsIf anyone understands the stress of watching your skin age its me. I sell skin care products. My skin is a direct representative of my product. I care that my skin shows signs of age. I know you do to.

I get it.

With that said, it’s easy to get obsessed with changes we watch happening in the mirror.

I did some research on attitudes about aging skin. I found lots of information about why our skin ages but not how we feel about it.

How do we feel about it? It sucks.

But why does it have to “suck?” Why do we fall prey to magazines and constant pressure from society when most of the girls in magazines are air brushed and starved? Besides, their 15 and meant to look like their 20-something.

It’s not real. Why is our ideal out of range of possibility?

The truth is our skin will age no matter what we do. I know. Buzz kill.

The silly things we do when we panic about those fine lines:

There’s tons of expensive lotions and potions we can buy with the promises from laboratory testing and “proven” with fake before and after photos. Bastards.

How much money have you wasted looking for a quick skin care fix?

There are expensive procedures like injections, lasers, surgery etc. Some more invasive then others. If going this direction boosts your confidence, go for it. I won’t judge.

But beware, this route can become a major slippery slope. Once we start to over examine and judge our appearance comparing ourselves to the unobtainable we are setting ourselves up for insecurity. Besides, is it actually giving us results? There’s a study from NPR “That Face-Lift May Buy You Only Three Years Of Youth.” Read it and then decide.

Once we start to beat ourselves up it’s hard to come back to that place where “I’m good just the way I am.”

It’s important to try and change the way we think about our aging selves.

But, this doesn’t mean we have to throw in the towel.

How to be the best version of ourselves we can be. Naturally.

In my opinion the best thing about aging is that I appreciate what I have rather than what I don’t. My booty may be bigger than most “butt”(haha) I have an hourglass figure and long eyelashes. So I’ll work with that and take care of my skin the best I can from the inside-out.

Follow Birdy Botanicals on Bloglovin for Skin Care Tips, Tricks, Information and Sass

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Can’t beat dat.

See you round the block!

Earth Day 2013 is here! Do you know your Carbon Footprint Score?

It's Earth Day 2013! Do you know your Carbon Footprint score?Earth Day is on April 22nd and I got to thinking about my carbon footprint. I realized I don’t even know what my carbon footprint is. I googled and found a nifty carbon footprint calculator from the Nature Conservancy.

The calculator measures greenhouse gas emissions by estimating how many tons of carbon dioxide my household creates every year according to my habits. I plugged in my info, exerted some “yeahs,” “gasps” “oops!”

It was an eyeopener! It included habits I had no idea contributed to greenhouse gases. It’s helped me realize what more I can do to help the environment and reinvigorate my efforts.
As I am very concerned about the environment and my impact on it I strive to keep my carbon footprint small.

What I do to reduce my greenhouse emissions at work and at home:

  • I use earth-friendly labels that will break down instead of stick around.
  • I use recyclable containers. I eschew any unnecessary packaging.
  • I reuse shipping boxes and recycle shipping peanuts.
  • I never print out anything from the computer unless absolutely necessary.
  • I use my car only when absolutely necessary.
  • I use the power of my feet to do daily and weekly banking etc.
  • I have changed all my lightbulbs to energy efficient light bulbs.
  • I recycle and compost.
  • I reuse and wash all Ziploc bags.
  • I by biodegradable garbage bags.
  • I use only reusable shopping bags for my purchases.

Things I want to do better:

  • Use my car less. I got a bike!
  • I really struggle with the paper towel thing. I don’t have a washer/dryer where I live so it’s tough to deal with reusable rags. If anyone has suggestions on how to change this I would love to hear them!
  • My appliances are getting old and I would like to replace them with more energy efficient ones.

What do you do to reduce your carbon footprint and what can you commit to this year to make it even better?!

Birdy loves Earth Day. Being a bird, she is very susceptible to the delicate balance of the environment and likes to celebrate Earth Day like it’s her birthday.

So, happy bEARTHday!

Wait…it’s a Room Spray AND a Zombie Repellant?

There I was in my kitchen, minding my own business…

trying to neutralize the smell of the fish tacos my husband cooked the night before. I grabbed my trusty bottle of Birdy Botanicals Nest Room Perfume with Orange, Clove and Cedar and exactly at that moment heard loud grunting and gnashing of teeth and the arhythmic, thumping cadence of someone (or some thing) climbing my back stairs, all announced by the acrid marriage of rotting meat, mildewed laundry and a hint of spearmint. What can I say—I develop beauty products.

Then it appeared.

A foul, malignant visage, trembling and screeching, with a face that looked like it had been removed, pulsed a few times in a Cuisinart and re-applied with a spatula.

Eeew. And it was at my back door and obviously was not a Jehovah’s Witness…

…at least any longer.

The essential oils repelled the rotting corpse, leaving freshness behind

The only weapon I had at my disposal was a Bialetti 2-cup espresso maker at arm’s length on the stove and the Nest Room Perfume spray bottle I still clutched in my right hand. Knowing I still might want a second Americano before beginning my day in earnest, I opted to use the Nest spray. I threw the door open and in one seamless action reflexively spritzed a generous cloud of Nest in what was formerly his face. Fully expecting to be devoured in the next moments, I prepared for my impending doom by closing my eyes and assuming a fetal position on my kitchen floor. The eery silence was accompanied by the lingering aroma of Clove, Orange and Cedar. Reminiscent of a fall morning in Vermont after a gentle rain—with zombies.

When I opened my eyes a few seconds later, the unwelcome pestilent visitor had vanished. I peered out the window in time to catch a glimpse of it heading into an alley rubbing it’s one, working eye and screaming like a 3rd grade girl.

Who knew we’d be using natural products to solve supernatural problems

That’s when I realized—this product I created to inject a little autumn ambience into the rooms of slightly hip, 20-55 year-old females  in the mid-to-upper demographic, could do double duty as a zombie repellant—and Zom-B-Gone was born.

A Birdy post-apocalyptic original, the spicy aromas of Birdy’s Zom-B-Gone are reminiscent of cool, crisp October mornings before the global plague or your Mom’s kitchen before she became one of the legions of walking dead. Zom-B-Gone will clear the air, might save your ass but will definitely leave you humming a happy tune. Because you’re alive.

Now it can be yours for only $12 a bottle. We calculate that one bottle will successfully repel anywhere from 1,500-2,000 walking dead, depending on size, degree of putrification, prevailing winds and aim.

WARNINGS!!

As I was describing to my husband how I thwarted the zombie in my kitchen, I got caught up in the moment and accidentally squirted the poor man in the face with Zom-B-Gone. The good news is now I can say it’s been tested on humans, the bad news is…well just don’t use it on humans. Trust me on this one. The ingredients are all natural but the reaction you get will sound anything but. Also, keep out of reach of children, living or undead.