Favorite Organic Hair Products

In the jungle of all hair products out there, we occasionally find some favorites. I started using only organic hair products without harmful chemicals, such as sulfates, mineral oils and silicons about 3 years ago and I constantly try new ones. I have truly benefited from using natural hair care and my days of flaky scalp and thin, flat hair are gone! But, it very much depends very on what I use, here are some new favorites – Enjoy! 

Ogario London, Revive and Shine Scampoo and Conditioner Purely Perfect - Cleansing Creme (requires a few washes) VM Shampoo (Blueberry -  fantastic result) John Masters Organics - Leave in conditioning mist (Savior, no need for conditioner) Neils Yard - Hair treatment Moroccan Natural - Argan Hair Treatment

Ogario London, Revive and Shine Scampoo and Conditioner
Purely Perfect – Cleansing Creme (requires a few washes)
VM Shampoo (Blueberry – fantastic result)
John Masters Organics – Leave in conditioning mist (Savior, no need for conditioner)
Neils Yard – Hair treatment
Moroccan Natural – Argan Hair Treatment

Skin supplies for the spring season

Even though there are some (but not many) advantages of cold weather; for your skin it is torture.  Harsh winter winds and dry, hot indoor climate often leaves your skin dehydrated, fed-up, pale and stressed out.

Now when spring has finally arrived to Stockholm and the humid springtime air calls for a change in your beauty regimen! It is time to boost, freshen up and prepare your skin for the summer season. What do we then need to think about? At winter time we normally use heavier moisturizers to compensate for the lack of humidity in the air but as spring arrives many of us can switch to a lighter cream, preferably one with sunscreen already included. The SPF protection should be high if you use a thin layer of your cream (as many of us do) since the thinner you put on the lower the SPF. Start to rejuvenate your flaky skin with a gentle exfoliator to get rid of the dead skin and give your dull face new life. A good eye cream that cools down and reduces puffiness around eyes is also a good investment in allergy-seasons like spring.

I would recommend you to book a facial to get help to remove the toxins that are embedded in the pores and allow fresh oxygen to circulate in the skin. If you seldom treat yourself with facial treatments, this is the perfect time of year to book one. An eyebrow and eyelash tint is also o great investment this season to cut down some makeup and enhance your natural beauty.

Make sure to get rid of old products that have past the expiration date, looks/ smells odd or products that appear dry and crusty. Clean all makeup tools thoroughly.

I thought I would share my highlights on products tested last month that have helped me this spring:
Skin

1. Patyka – Repair Face Cream
This light, fresh and fast absorbing face cream repairs skin and gives a fresh and soft result lasting the whole day. Love it.
2. Dr Burgener – Green Caviar Crème
This is just a fabulous, fabulous, perfect cream to use both day and night. Feels light once applying but is rich in its formula and gives me that perfect surface. Works all by itself and that is rare for a serum/boost/oil lover like me…
3. Subtle Energies – Facial blend
Charming scent, exclusive texture and glowing result is what you get from this tiny oil bottle!
4. Organic Pharmacy – Self Tan
I have mentioned this one before, but it is just the best self tan exsisting. And it is pure and organic.
5. Jurlique – Herbal Recovery Gel
This product is my true skin savior in all times. It is a pure moist gel that repairs, moisturizes and restores my skin, whatever products or climate that might have made damaged to the skin. Perfect for spring and for skin like mine who sometimes gets sensitive.

Happy spring!

/Josefin

My five favorites in March

The winter is still holding a strong grip of Stockholm…not only are we getting tired of the cold temperatures, but also the slippery and icy streets in the city. The skin is also longing for some warmer weather, with some sunshine to warm up our tired and dehydrated skin…

I had a quick look in my bath room and picked out following products, they were all placed in the front line of the shelf, and yes – these products have saved my skin this month;

March

  1. Jurlique Daily Exfoliant – a great exfoliator/peeling that can be used daily. So gentle, but still effective. It takes away any dullness in the skin and gives immediate freshness and purity. You need to use a specific technique (press and lift), but it’s not difficult at all. Life saver for a dry winter skin that needs to gain some luminosity and glow!
  2. Jurlique Eye Gel – very light gel (there is a cream version for dry skin), this gel is cooling and so refreshing. Wakes me up every morning!
  3. Patyka – Iris body Oil – it took me a while to get used to the scent, but now I’m addicted. Not too strong, kind of a sweet scent, just the perfect scent for the winter. And it makes the skin so soft, and even though it is a nourishing oil it is quickly absorbed.
  4. Subtle Energies Henna and Carrot seed Mist – Ayurvedic herbs and plants refreshes the skin. I use it several times a day, both after cleansing the skin, but also during the day, if I need to refresh or give moist to the skin. One bottle is in my bath room and one is beside my laptop in the office!
  5. 6630 Extreme cycle – well, actually this is not mine…it is my husband’s favorite products. 6630 is a Men’s skin care line. The extreme cycle is perfect for colder climate, and dehydrated skin, but it still doesn’t make your skin shiny. Also very nice packaging according to my hubby.

//Maria (longing for the spring)

The secrets of a face

“Until 50 you create your own face, after 50 you get the face you deserve”. I read this sentence in an article written by Ann-Charlott Snickars, a well-known therapist who is very experienced in Chinese face diagnostics.

This sentence made me rush to book an appointment with her….according to this sentence I still have some time to do something about my skin and face…but I better do something NOW….

Ann-Charlott Snickars, is a therapist based in Stockholm, Sweden. She holds a diploma in ALT face lifting technique, Tibetan face massage, face acupressure and aromatherapy. Ann- Charlott has studied Chinese face diagnostics for several years, and she has studied for a famous professor in Traditional Chinese Medicine; Lillian Bridges.

Ann-Charlott works with Chinese face diagnostics, and this was the main reason I went to see her. Chinese face diagnostics is done by studying the features of the face. The lines and wrinkles can tell a lot about a person’s life and health. The face is considered to be the mirror of our body and soul. It is believed that the face shows how you are feeling right now, the face is like a window to your past and to the future…

The aim with the diagnostic technique is to receive increased knowledge about one self; the therapist can help you to gain a better understanding about their your overall health, body and personality.

Ancha

I sat down with Ann-Charlott to learn more about face diagnostics:

MN: Why should I go for a face diagnostic session?

AS: Except that it’s interesting and fun, a face diagnostic is also good to do when you feel a bit “down” or overall have a low energy. Through the face diagnostic you can get information about what’s going in on in your body and you can get help to improve your lifestyle.

MN: What are the most common “issues” you tend to find in a face? How can you tell a person is stressed just by studying the features of the face?

AS: In Chinese face diagnostics you don’t just analyze “one spot” in the face, you study the whole face including ears and eyes, to get a complete picture. Stress can be found in several areas of the face. Overall I tend to notice that urban people, living in big cities tend to have more dark circles under the eyes compared to others. I can also see that many stressed, urban people have 2 wrinkles between the eyes which is related to anger and irritation. Many women also tend to develop vertical wrinkles above the lips or lines from the corner of the mouth. These lines usually appear when you are not satisfied with life or you give too much energy to others.

MN: What do you mainly look for when you diagnose a face?

AS: I study the whole face; including the features of the face, the color of the face, areas where wrinkles appear, I check the shape of the hairline, eyes, ears… I look at the complete picture which is just as important as studying different parts of the face. Another important aspect is a person’s charisma and how it reflects in the face.

MN: What is your best advice to keep the skin young and healthy? How can we prevent premature ageing?

My best advice to keep the skin vital and avoid premature ageing is to always try to be honest to yourself and to others. Don’t hold back your feelings, dare to show what you enjoy and love. Remember that every time you hold back a feeling it will leave a trace somewhere in your body, very often in the face. And if you continue to do it over and over again, the thin line will eventually be deeper and deeper and develop into a permanent wrinkle.

Another advice that is to actually like what you see! Look in the mirror and accept and like the wrinkles and lines you have, or dare to reflect why they have appeared. Those who work with Chinese face diagnostics have a different way of looking at wrinkles, for example wrinkles from laughing (mimic lines) is something you should treasure, because they show that there is a meaning in life.

Remember that the face changes and your thoughts too, sometimes you like what you see, sometimes you don’t. The keywords are Acceptance and Gratitude!

I would also like to highlight to use pure, organic oils in the face. All these advices combined with a good, organic and well-balanced diet will keep your skin vital and glowing.

//Maria

For more information; visit: http://www.omansiktet.se

Our favorites products!

Another year has passed by, faster than ever…even during this year we have continued to search for the perfect skin care brand… we have tested new brands, brands that are not yet launched on the market, we have tested brands that have reformulated their products and we have tested “good old friends”… Among all the products we have of course found some products with “that little extra”. Here are our absolute favorite products from 2012:

JosefinJosefin, Executive coordinator / Course manager

Undaria Algae Oil – Osea

“Just by having a peek at it in my bathroom tempts me to use this lovely body oil described like “the healing power of the sea”. I use it as much as I can: in the morning, after shower, in the shower, for cupping & massage and sometimes before bed just to have a moment for myself. As you can hear, I love it! Makes my skin baby soft and repaired, radiant glowing and also improves skin and cellulites. What more can you wish for? The scent of sea minerals, acai and passionfruit…”

Enzyme Peel mask + Self tan – Organic Pharmacy

“This combination has truly saved my skin throughout the year. The enzyme peeling transforms the skin immediately to a soft, pearly surface but it makes my Nordic, already fair skin even brighter – then the natural self tan comes in and creates a perfect mild, sun kissed and radiant result. Fantastic combo”!

Anna, owner of Raison d’Etre

“Medik8 – this is overall one of the few more medical skin care brands that actually produces a result. The Beta Mask Clay is a favorite and the Pretox Eyelift actually feels as it is lifting and reduces line.Photo Mark Earthy   COPYRIGHT © Photographer Mark Earthy.WWW.PHOTOGRAPHER.SE

OSEA – I have been in love with OSEA since the first time I tried it 2004. Jenifer Palmer, the founder, operates the company with such high ethics and the products are, and has always been very result oriented. Their red seaweed wrap is the best wrap I have ever tried”.

Isabella, Training Director

“First of all I have really enjoyed testing Jurlique, I just love to apply them, the products feel nourishing, fresh and has a subtle scent, so it will be great to work more closely with the brand during this coming year!

Subtle Energies

Old time favorite, Indian magic from Australia. Subtle energies has the very best massage oils that I tried and I am just hoping that they will eventually launch a massage butter…”Photo Mark Earthy   COPYRIGHT © Photographer Mark Earthy.WWW.PHOTOGRAPHER.SE

Massage butters – VS Massage oils

Lately there is a lot of massage butters available on the market and I just simply prefer them to the extent that I don’t even like to give professional massage with oils anymore, maybe a gentle longstroking aroma as an exception.

The butters, if they are coconut based are far more effective as the therapists strokes get closer to the body that they are working on, the friction and overall contact increases, some oils, specially sesame oil based, the therapist is just skyskating on tp of the skin, never being able to create friction or even feeling what is going on beyond the connective tissue.

MariaMaria, Project Manager

Luxsit – Enrich Magic Moisturizing Facial Mask

“I have during the year had the privilege to work closely with the Swedish skin care brand; Luxsit. I have developed facials for the brand and it has been an enjoyable work. Some of my top favorite products are yet only available in the actual treatments, as professional products, among them they have a magical enzyme peeling and a cooling and deeply hydrating mask!

But my number one favorite product is the nourishing “Cinderella face mask” – the Enrich Magic Moisturizing Facial, a nourishing, creamy mask that makes your skin glow. It is perfect for the cold and dry Nordic climate and has saved my skin this winter!”

Some great spa escapes in Southern Europe

This week started with a lovely trip to Monaco, we had the opportunity to look closer at the spa market in this special environment. There are 4 major spas in Monaco; Willow Stream at Fairmont, ESPA at Hotel Metropole, Therme Marine, which is the largest Thalassotherapy center in Monaco, and finally the Cinq Monde Spa at the Monte Carlo Bay. In addition to these 4 spas, there are of course many smaller institutes and beauty centres. I experienced a very good Kerstin Florian 90 minute Ultimate Facial in the Willow stream spa at the Fairmont, and the results were immediate. Why? The therapist was excellent, the treatment had a really good flow, and some luxurious caviar products made the whole difference. Add some sunshine and some interesting work to this and the days in Monaco were a success…

On my way back I bought the latest issue of Tatler (UK edition) at the airport and the November edition contained a special spa issue; The Tatler´s spa guide for 2013 (a very nice and inspiring appendix I must say).

They had listed and categorized the best spas according to them, and I found at least 3 spas in their listings, in which Raison d’Etre have been involved in the conceptual work. Below you see some of the spas;

Borgo Egnazia in Puglia, Italy

Verdura Golf & Spa resort, Sicily, Italy

/Maria

It is the time of the year when sunscreens are hot topics for discussions!

What works, what is safe and what is the difference between chemical and not chemical? We have sorted out the question marks and given some examples below. There is nothing better than a t-shirt and a hat and below are some surprising truths about sunscreens:

1. There is no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer

2. There is some evidence that sunscreens might increase the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people

3. There are more high SPF products than ever before, but no proof that they are better

4. Too little sun might be harmful, reducing the body’s vitamin D levels

5. The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed the development of cancer

Mainstream or “chemical” sunscreens work by using chemicals to absorb UVB and UVA rays. Drawback: People are sometimes sensitive to the chemicals.

*Natural or “barrier” sunscreens use the active ingredients titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to form a barrier between the skin and the sun. Drawback: Natural sunscreens often look really white and thick when you put them on and take a while to absorb (not always the best look, I admit). Chemical sunscreens with synthetic active ingredients need time to be effective — up to 30 minutes. That’s because chemical sunscreens have to soak into the skin before they begin to work. Furthermore, sunscreen chemicals have been found to pass through the skin and mimic the effects of estrogen, which may disrupt the delicate balance of the body´s natural hormones.

So, are natural sun screens completely safe? The shocking truth is the fact that both chemical sunscreens (avobenzone, methoxycinnamate, padimate-o and the like) and physical sunblocks (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) have been found to generate free radicals when exposed to sunlight, which then can attack the nuclei of your skin cells and cause mutations. That´s right: they can cause skin cancer.

So, what is our advice? Use natural sunscreen, they are for sure better than the chemical ones, in our opinion. Our favorite and natural sunscreen is from The Organic Pharmacy.

To summarize; keep these “safety tips” from the Environmental Working Group in mind for the coming sunny season;

  • Avoid the sunscreen chemical oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and contaminates the body. Look for active ingredients zinc, titanium, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.
  • Sprays and powders cloud the air with tiny particles of sunscreen that may not be safe to breathe. Choose creams instead.
  • New government data show that tumors and lesions develop sooner on skin coated with vitamin A-laced  creams. Vitamin A, listed as “retinyl palmitate” on the ingredient label,  is in 33 percent of sunscreens. Avoid them.
  • SPF 50+ does not provide longer-term protection when you’re in the sun. Stick to SPF 15-50+, reapply often and pick a product based on your own skin, time planned  outside, shade and cloud cover.

”Badskumt” – a book about all the harmful chemicals that we daily apply on our skin

A few weeks ago we met the author; Katarina Johansson, at Spadagarna, and we got inspired to find out more about her book “Badskumt”. In our everyday life we use so many products that are filled with environmental hazardous and damaging substances. We apply products to our skin that contain ingredients that are known for causing allergies. We use perfumes that can affect the hormonal system and we use sunscreen that can hurt our DNA. Isn’t this crazy? Or are we making too much fuzz about this? What do you think? Feel free to share your view on this matter in the comments field below.

Even though not all chemicals are dangerous we still know very little about the cocktail effect; What happens when we mix hundreds of chemicals every day on our skin? And this is where Katarina’s expertise comes in.

Interview with Katarina:

What is your background? Katarina: I used to work for the National Swedish TV, and I used to do a lot of documentary films. But I have also always had a great interest for environmental issues and I have studied environmental journalism.

What made you write the book? Katarina: I think it all started when I was studying Environmental Science at university and we had a marine biologist visiting, who really inspired me to learn more about all the chemicals we apply on the skin and what it does for us and for the nature. I wanted to learn more, but could not really find a lot of material or information on this subject. I read the book “Hemliga kocken*” (a book about all the “hidden ingredients” in the food and what our processed food actually contains) and that is when I got the idea to my book; Badskumt. I wanted to compile information and write an informative book about what our cosmetics contain and what the ingredients actually do for us and for the nature.

Were there any difficulties while researching and writing the book and how long did it take? Katarina: It took me 2 years to finish the book, from start to print. While doing the research I felt that there is a lot of information that is missing out there. Also the information about hazardous ingredients in the cosmetic industry can be interpreted in many different ways. Different countries also have different guidelines and recommendations and limitations to how to use and handle all the chemicals.

While researching, did you see any differences among countries? Could you see any countries that stand out more when it comes to cosmetics and concern about the environment? Katarina: I would say Denmark appears a lot in these discussions, and they are also more cautious in their recommendations and advice regarding the use of chemical ingredients in beauty products. In Denmark there is also a greater concern about avoiding certain chemicals in cosmetics during pregnancy.

What area do you think is the most important to be cautious about? Katarina: My main suggestion would be to be careful with hair coloring, which contains a lot of chemicals. But also to generally cut down on the number of products in your bathroom. Even though not all the chemicals in your cosmetic products are hazardous for you or for the environment we know very little about the effect when hundreds of them are mixed together. I have also started to use solid hand soap instead of liquid hand soap, as there is no need for preservatives in a solid had soap.

Unfortunately this book is so far only published in Swedish, but if you would like to get in touch with the author, you can find a “Badskumt” – profile on Facebook.

Thinking of creating your own products? Think twice!

We often get requests from spa owners and operators that they want to create their own bespoke product line and many do, but it isn’t always that easy!

“Our own product line, perfect for us and it would make us unique!” is thought that has crossed many spa mangers, owners, operators minds, and it is absolutely true. But, be prepared…

…it takes more time than you think

…it is more complicated than you think

…it costs more than you expected

If you still want to go ahead, then here are a couple of wise advice from us (having created own lines for AmanSpas, Jiva (Taj) spas, One&Only Spas, Auriga (Capella) spas and our own LivNordic wellness brand).

1. First you need to be very clear on what you want, for example a special theme/concept, natural vs. not natural, medical vs. pampering etc. and compile this in a product tender brief. Do you want the creating company to also choose packaging, what is the quantity etc. Be specific!

Tip1! Ask for a final liter cost price from the companies – it can be a “to-from” price, but then you have capped the purchase cost. If you don’t do this from the start, then you are up for a nasty surprise. We have seen this over and over again!

2. Once you know exactly what you want, you send out your tender to selected companies and when you get the proposals you will see that they vary considerably, and it is time to start negotiate. Go for it, it often works!

Tip2! Decide which one to go with combining your business mind and gut feeling. If indecisive, go with your stomach, it never lies.

3. When you come as far as selecting and having an agreement signed, then it is time for the selected company to start developing and wait for the first samples to arrive.

Tip3! Once you get them, make sure that you have prepared a selection of people of varying origin, gender and age to trial them and have a form ready for them to fill out in order to give the product company comprehensive feedback for the next round of samples. You do this as many times as needed before you are 100% satisfied with the samples.

4. Meanwhile you should have been looking at packaging and that is almost the trickiest part! Most packaging companies wants you to purchase quantities of 20,000 of one size, you can get away with as little as 3,000 but if you are just one spa or even up to 4 spas, this is still too many. This means that your choice is very limited to companies that supply a small amount, and you have to be very creative with the labeling as the bottles and jars on offer are very standard.

5. You have your products, jars and labels and you are happy. If you reach this stage, then it has most likely taken you about 12 months or more and you are tired, but happy as you are finally on your way!

Tip 4! We strongly recommend starting with body products and then possibly going for facial products, but as the technology, laws and research is changing by the second, it might be better to keep the facial line with a professional licensed line.

I am not even going to get into licensing and the challenges and loopholes with getting products into different countries, don’t forget to look into that too! China for example, you will have to ship product and empty bottles separately and then have them filled there…Egypt, well, just don’t go to Egypt trying to get products in and well… just make sure you know what is needed for the region that you are in.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to e-mail us questions! We would be happy to advice you not to the same mistakes we have done!

//Anna

Feeling a bit dull in the skin?

After spending a few days, mostly inside, eating lots of yummy Christmas food and too many sweets, I must admit that I feel a bit dull in the skin and there is a major need for a “kick off” treatment to get my skin back in “shape”. If you feel the same, and have already starting to worry about how to gain that Cinderella effect for New Years Eve, I might just have the solution…

Look for your nearest spa or beauty spot where they offer The Organic Pharmacy (TOP) treatments. TOP has launched a new, high potency treatment to target age spots, pigmentation and uneven skin tone across the face, neck and décolleté. Glucosamine, Hibiscus and Liquorice act as high performing lightening agents to lift the skin and reduce pigmentation, whilst Vitamin C, Gingko and Ginseng brighten the skin and will give an immediate radiance boost. Papaya extract will powerfully exfoliate the skin, encouraging cell renewal, to enhance the skin condition and make it smooth and pure.

At our Nordic Spa & Fitness at Grand Hotel in Stockholm, we offer a short, but effective radiance boosting treatment with TOP’s enzyme peeling. A gentle, but very effective treatment, perfect to do the same day or the day before THE party of the year. (For a deeper effect and result on pigmentation we recommend to do the facial as a cure, with a minimum of 4-5 treatments).

/Maria

www.theorganicpharmacy.com

www.grandhotel.se/upplev/spa

 

 

Warning for Potentially Hazardous Ingredients in your skin Care

Raison d’Etre has always been in the forefront when it comes to natural and organic skin care. Below is a good summary of some of the ingredients that we do not want to see in our skin care.

List by http://www.mercolahealthyskin.com/