Luxe Botanics

A botanic skincare line scientifically formulated to allow nature to nurture your skin.


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What Switching to a Natural Beauty Routine Means For Your Overall Health

When it comes to your beauty routine… Well, things can get complicated.

From toners to serums, exfoliants, moisturisers, cleansers, the list goes on. We get it, you’ve got lots of options for keeping up that continuous glow and it sure is hard work! We pair, pick and choose, some fads come and go, or we stick with our core products for what may seem like forever. Camu camu, right?

But let’s pause for a moment.  When you think about the products you’re using, do you actually know the ingredients that are in them? Or where the ingredients came from? How many of them err on the side of natural and are free from scary sounding words like parabens, petrochemicals and unpronounceables?

That’s what we thought!

Now, let’s take a step back for a moment.

When it comes to what we eat, we discovered over the years that making the switch to organic and unprocessed foods was better for our health. Less pesticides and additives, less confusing ingredients…we ultimately went back to basics, and frankly it feels (and looks) great!

Now, why wouldn’t we want the same benefits for our skin too? Trick question. Of course we do! Ok, we’re not eating our skincare products (at least we hope you’re not) but think of it this way- our skin is our body’s largest organ and the ultimate protective barrier for our body. [1]

It absorbs sixty to seventy-percent of what we feed it. Everything that we put on our skin slowly but surely sinks in (that statistic is probably sinking in too) and makes its way into our bloodstream, tissues and organs.  There it has just as much of an impact as if we were actually eating it. [2]

Unfortunately, in the last several decades, our bodies have increasingly developed more issues involving infertility, hormone imbalances, allergies and way more sensitivities than anyone should normally have. Just by walking outside every day, our bodies are going through layers and layers of toxins whether it’s from the air pollution, pesticides or chemicals that contribute to our imbalances and ongoing health issues. Pair all these other nasties with the ones hiding in our daily beauty routine and there you go. It can be a vicious cycle. [3]

But have no fear, there is hope!

What switching to a natural beauty routine means for your overall health 2 - Luxe Botanics

By making the switch to a more au naturel beauty routine today, your skin will not only thank you but so will your overall health! It’s a win-win, and a total no-brainer. 

So, where to begin? You guessed it. It’s right back to the basics. Start taking a peek at those ingredients so your complexion can keep on keepin’ on with its beautiful radiance just the way nature intended.

Are you ready to take your skincare up a natural notch? Join us.

For more info on ingredients and making the switch to clean, check out our earlier blog on the confusion of skincare labels.

 

Naturally Yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

[1] https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/why-is-natural-skin-care-better/

[2] https://www.thegreenlife.ca/why-you-should-switch-to-natural-skin-care-beauty-products/

[3] https://www.thegreenlife.ca/why-you-should-switch-to-natural-skin-care-beauty-products/

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Survival Skincare For The Holidays

The most festive time of the year can also be the most stressful—but your skin can glow brilliantly as the lights on your tree or the candles on your mantle. Between buying gifts and traveling, make sure your complexion stays alive and invigorated with these three simple skincare rituals.

Revitalize Thirsty Skin

In the thick of winter, anyone’s skin (even oily) can experience water loss causing patchiness, dullness and dehydration. One of the best ways to quench skin’s thirst is with our simple two-step ritual.

  1. Infuse skin with Marula Hydrating Serum for an instant rush of balanced, restorative hydration (the citrusy scent alone sends us to our happy place!), while soft, lightweight textures of nourishing oils give skin a huge boost of nutrition.
  2. Complete with a layer of Camu Brightening Moisturiser, containing super-plumping sodium hyaluronate (a natural substance that retains 1000 times its own weight in water) and vitamin C for skin that lights up every room!

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Combat Climate Change

Well, not exactly. But, if you’re going from one temperature to another another—whether it’s from indoor heating to a windy blizzard, or from an icy zone to the humid tropics—your skin may need to find its balance again. Care for skin by applying Kigelia Clarifying Serum which calms redness and re-centers skin taking it back to its optimal healthy state. Then layer with Marula Hydrating Serum to restore natural oils and strengthen the skin’s delicate lipid barrier easily damaged with fluctuations in temperature. Remember, a strong skin barrier is the key to more vibrant, luminous and happy skin!

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Stay Fresh En Route & In-Flight

As you jet-set to warmer destinations or visit family, the recycled in-flight cabin air can easily parch skin, causing it to wither or get gloomy. Exit the runway with picture perfect plumped-up skin by spritzing your face with Camu Brightening Mist, flooding skin with droplets of sodium hyaluronate and Damascus rose water for instant hydration and vitamin C-loaded Camu camu berry to boost radiance.

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Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team


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Living a Life of Lagom

balanced

There’s something about Scandinavian concepts of living. Clean lines with a minimalist approach. We’ve been buying into their beautifully simplistic interiors for decades, and with good reason why.

While Hygge, the Danish idea of cozy living, has been huge in the last year, now “lagom” has quietly elbowed its way into the spotlight as an ideology for life. Never heard of lagom? Well we’re here to enlighten you…

A Swedish word that means “just the right amount” or “not too much, not too little,” lagom is the latest lifestyle trend people have fallen in love with. And we have too! With its emphasis on moderation, it can be thought of as a more mindful way of living, for everything to be a balance and “just right.” It emphasizes frugality and sustainability, inviting people to live their lives with more consciousness of the world around them.

Lagom is a moment for pause, to look at all the items we use and why, asking us to really consider the importance, or lack thereof. By becoming more centred around what we genuinely value in life, this can bring about a sense of greater purpose and even help to de-stress. It can be massively beneficial to let a little bit more lagom seep into our busy, often overwhelming lives, and here are a few ways you can start living a life of lagom through your beauty routine:

 

Bare Necessities

If you stop to think about it, you really don’t need five different types of moisturizers and three different types of eye cream. Sometimes we find ourselves purchasing more and more without once stopping to ask why. We’re so used to consumption that it becomes second nature, and we find ourselves in a race to constantly buy new things. Retail therapy, after all, didn’t become a phrase without reason, but it’s an instant gratification that seldom lasts and has an insatiable appetite.

Get into a lagom state of mind by getting rid of beauty items that have long expired. Mascara older than three months can go, as can skincare products you’ve had for a year or more and never use. Starting with expired items is a good way to begin the de-cluttering process without feeling like you’re throwing your hard-earned money away – those moisturizers and serums didn’t come cheap, we know. But once these are gone, you may want to consider what you use on a daily basis, and what is simply taking up space on your shelves. Only you know what really works and what products deliver the best results. Stick to those and thoughtfully curate your beauty ritual to be the best it can be.

 

Back To Basics

Lagom preaches the belief of “just right,” which means goodbye to excess. This can relate to the ingredients in beauty products, putting emphasis on those that are simple yet powerful. The current trend of plant-based face oils fits right in with lagom, as does the rise in popularity of natural and organic beauty. Clean, nature-based ingredients like argan oil and shea butter provide effective results without any of the harshness of added preservatives and synthetic ingredients.

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The rule tends to go, the fewer number of ingredients in a product, the better. But that doesn’t mean these ingredients are any less potent. It’s all about finding the right combination and balance, ensuring each ingredient actually serves a beneficial purpose. Careful consideration of each ingredient and what it brings to the table is a core principle of lagom.

 

Sustainability

Our resources cannot last forever. This is one of the reasons why lagom emphasizes eco-friendliness. Practice lagom by using products with recyclable packaging as well as re-using the many jars and bottles that house your favourite beauty products. By scaling down your beauty regimen, you can also make sure you’re doing your part by using a product until the very last drop. This way you’ll ensure that you’re not being wasteful—and it’s easier to do if the product you’re using is wholly effective and one that you love. In the end, it all comes full circle.

 

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Sustainability can refer to ingredients as well. Ingredients that are sourced through wild harvesting or organic means ensure there is harmony between a finished product and its origins. Cultivating ingredients through fair-trade practices also respects the farmers who look after the land and who should stand to gain from their hard work just as you stand to gain from using a beautifully crafted product. It can be a win-win for all. Hurrah!

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Beauty that is rooted in sustainability also ensures that the planet will not be unduly harmed by harsh methods of cultivation that are ultimately unsustainable and cause pollution. By supporting eco-conscious brands that respect the planet and prize business methods that leave a small footprint, you can adopt many of the core ideals lagom.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

You don’t have to dive headfirst into lagom. Like any lifestyle change, it requires patience and understanding on your part. It will also take some time. It can be difficult to let go of old and comfortable habits, like hoarding every old beauty product and voraciously purchasing new ones, especially if you’re a self-professed beauty obsessive and love new things. Don’t we all? But if you’re serious about curbing old habits and embarking on a change that will ultimately benefit you and the planet, lagom can come easily to you. Start out small, taking tentative baby steps, and before you know it, you’ll be leading a lagom life.

 

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 


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Holistic Recovery

“In order to have skin that glows and looks healthy and actually is healthy, you need to look at the whole picture and have a holistic approach to it. A lot of it is exercising regularly, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and keeping stress down.” – Allison Williams

 

I’ve always considered myself a very healthy woman with a sound knowledge of health and wellness. However, as you may have seen in my last post, even when you think you’re doing well things can change almost overnight and for seemingly no reason.

When I had my first moderate to severe contact dermatitis reaction it was a big wake up call for me – as you age, change climates, and even make minute changes in your daily routine this all adds up to a cumulative effect that often comes through in your skin as a first sign of bodily distress. The biggest thing for me in this list is age – yes I am not that old! – but we love to think we will be young forever. But things change and its best to be aware and respect your body as you age. I initially tried to heal myself with natural topical treatments, however after 2 weeks at home with very little improvement I turned to prescription medications. Of course, when you take oral steroids this seems to fix everything and your skin looks wonderful again, but when the reaction keeps coming back you have to expand your thinking to a more holistic view.

VegetablesI started keeping a diary of everything I used on my face, hair, body, what I washed my hands with, what I used in the kitchen, what I ate, what exercise I did… This became a very long exhausting list and I began to feel lost in all this data. To help me understand this experience I was going through, I met with everyone I knew who worked in the holistic health industry – from lifestyle consultants to nutritionists to doctors to dermatologists – and the conclusion was always the same: You will have to drastically eliminate things from your diet and lifestyle to find out the cause and then slowly build back up again. So I decided to make my own way and began a dairy free, gluten free, low carb clean living diet along with healthy skin loving smoothies every day followed by at least 30 minutes of exercise. For my skin I cut back to only using my Luxe Botanics products coupled with a homemade argan and rosehip oil serum and organic hair care products.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 9.41.11 AM2 months on, I will honestly say it has been hard but my skin has improved dramatically! I didn’t 100% stick to my plan the whole time, let’s face it I am human after all, so I did notice when things started to go backwards. The most important things I discovered was that I have very definite triggers: Carbohydrates and an overload of dairy make me bloat which in turn causes inflammation internally and externally; and anything with phenoxyethanol definitely triggers the dermatitis (even handwash!). Dietary things that helped to resolve this were obviously sticking to my clean eating, green smoothies with natural oils and a daily dose of cider vinegar calmed my gut and my skin. Skin care wise, marula oil became my saviour when my skin flared – it was literally like my skin was drinking it. When my skin had healed I kept up an alternating nightly regimen of marula or argan & rosehip oil. If I thought there was too much redness and inflammation a dab of kigelia calmed it down and made sure it didn’t become infected when it was peeling.

Feet walkingTo any of you out there who have gone through this or are going through this now, my only advice is to listen to your body. Try, test and learn (within reason). See what works and what doesn’t. Talk to people in the wellness community – they are a fantastic resource. And don’t be afraid to seek medical intervention if necessary. In my case it was very hard to be the face of a skin care brand when my skin was in such a dreadful state. Remember that you do change with time, climate and age, don’t get complacent.

My journey has just begun…

 

Jene


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A personal experience with synthetic ingredients

face eyesHave you ever woken up to itchy eyes? It’s a strange, unsettling feeling and one that greeted me on a sunny morning last week. When I looked in the mirror I was horrified to find my upper eye lids breaking out in scaly dermatitis. The delicate skin around my eyes had decided it was time to protest against a serum I had used, and the results were red, purple and angry. If you have every experienced dermatitis you will know the feeling I am describing. The worst part is that it takes days or even weeks to heal properly, with a lot of itching, scaling and peeling in between, and can cause hyperpigmentation.

I have been using only natural and organic cosmetics for many months, but after a day of particularly dry skin, and with my usual natural serum finished, I decided to pull out a hydrating serum that is not 100% natural from my bathroom cupboard. The serum contains 4 ingredients: water, sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and phenoxyethanol (preservative). I figured that the percentage of phenoxyethanol in the solution was probably very minimal, so I decided to ignore that and use it anyway. How wrong I was… The result was not hydrated skin, but red, itchy skin. This is a brand that I know and trust, something I used on my skin for many years. I never use it close to my eyes – I know to avoid that. And yes, I checked and it’s still within its use by period so my reaction wasn’t caused by an out of date cosmetic. My only analysis is that after months of not using this, when I went back to it my skin was no longer used to coping with the synthetically derived ingredients in the formulation. Now I do accept that this could have been caused by food or other irritants, however I also know that I didn’t eat or do anything out of my ordinary routine last week, so I sincerely doubt that.

I’ve blogged about the potential effects of phenoxyethanol before. It’s a glycol ether that’s quite common in cosmetics these days as an alternative preservative to parabens. There are plenty of articles and blogs out there describing its ill effects, however lets focus on the research as gathered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). According to EWG[i] the use of phenoxyethanol is restricted in cosmetics in Japan, and the EU classifies it as toxic or harmful and a potential irritant. In a 2006 study it was shown to be in the top 10 most frequent allergens[ii]. There are actually quite a few studies on phenoxyethanol (usually carried out in cell lines and not on human subjects), if you want to read up on it check out PubMed[iii]. If you need any help going through the research let me know…So after reading all the research I could find, I have decided to make my bathroom entirely phenoxyethanol free. But more on that in my next blog…

Right now I am concentrating on healing. While I’ve ensured that I am only using the purest, most natural skin care for sensitive skin (Luxe Botanics being one of them), the biggest mistake I made on this journey was using a very light over the counter steroid cream (DermAid 0.5%) on day 3 which just inflamed my skin even more and I believe to have been the cause of my skin almost “burning” (see the photos below and the peeling that ensued). This steroid cream should have actually been fine as its extremely mild, but I guess in my case my skin was just too sensitive already for anything topical to be applied. When the DermAid made it worse I finally went to my doctor, and with a course of oral steroids my skin seems to be slowly recovering.

Here’s what I’ve looked like over the past 5 days:

I’ve experienced redness, itching and flaking extending down from my upper eyelid onto my lower lids, that then went on to form a thick, smooth layer of skin all around my eyes that felt just like a heat burn. And then, it peeled…

I would love to hear from you if you’ve had a similar reaction to phenoxyethanol or other synthetic ingredients – how did you cope? What did you do to heal yourself? How long did it take to get back to normal again…?

As always, read your labels, do your research and be aware of what ingredients affect your skin…

Jené

Founder + Director, Luxe Botanics

[i][i] https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/704811/PHENOXYETHANOL/

[ii] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16823706

[iii] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=phenoxyethanol


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A healthy skin routine – why you should have one

I just love that feeling when you wake up and know you have a day at the spa ahead of you. You begin to imagine the massage, the facial, the steam room, the mud bath, the pool, some healthy food, and hopefully a glass or two of champagne with your best girlfriends. That was how I woke up this weekend – full of excitement and looking forward to relaxing. We spent 4 hours in a fantastic spa, surrounded by nature and the occasional peacock, enjoying being pampered and lazing by the pool. When it was time to make our way to dinner, we showered and commenced the inevitable skin care routine that would help us continue to look fabulous into the evening.

 

My first shock came when I realised I was the only one who had brought a full suite of skin care products. So naturally, I offered to share. I convinced one of my friends to try my hyaluronic acid serum – fantastic for plumping the skin – and then our Luxe Botanics Camu Brightening Serum – to help maintain that healthy spa glow. She happily applied them and then began to walk away. I called after her: “don’t you want any moisturiser?” She replied, almost laughing: “you want me to put on another layer?” I found myself staring back at my friend in disbelief – she wanted to go out without any moisturiser on?

 

In that moment I realised that even my friends, who hear me talk about skin care all day long, didn’t really know what to use or how to use it. This moment explains so clearly why I do what I do and why it makes me happy. I want women to become wellness conscious, not just with their health, but also with their skin. To that end, and inspired by the recent Sarita Coren article on Ayla beauty, I want to explain a few things I believe are key to good skin care:

 

Cleanse

Cleansing well is the first step to good, healthy skin. And I don’t mean over cleansing – there are many brands out there that will tell you that you must double cleanse, but honestly this is 90% marketing in the hopes you will need to buy more product sooner. The only reasons to cleanse twice are if your skin is horribly dirty (think playing in the mud) or if your cleanser isn’t working well for your skin. Most of the time you need a pre-cleanser along with a normal cleanser. This is because pre-cleansers have a different function to normal cleansers – generally they are used to gently remove makeup, oil and dirt from your skin while still preserving your skins natural barrier. Your normal cleanser is then used to cleanse deeper into the pores and provide a clean base to start your next step.

On a side note – many people advocate using a toner to rebalance/ balance your skin after cleansing. Personally, this is not something I have seen any benefit from. I honestly believe if you are using the right cleanser, which shouldn’t strip or dry out your skin or remove your natural barrier, then you shouldn’t need a toner.

 

Exfoliate

This is my favourite part of my skin care routine for the simple reason that after I exfoliate, my skin feels like it did before teenage acne attacked me.

There are 2 major categories of exfoliants, each with a different use:

  • Abrasive (the ones you can feel the scrub, think of jojoba beads, rice bran, etc)
  • Enzyme (the ones that tingle – AHA (glycolic acid), BHA (Salicylic acid), other fruit/ plant based acids)

Abrasive exfoliants are used for superficial exfoliation – like when you need your skin to be super smooth for that date – and are more like a polish. If you have irritated or acne prone skin an abrasive is not recommended as it can inflame the skin even more, and generally people with acne tend to over exfoliate. However, a gentle abrasive is good for dry skin

Enzyme exfoliants are used for deeper exfoliation and these sometimes can take days before your skin will peel. They can be used for all skin types, as they are non-abrasive, but should still be used with caution until you know which type works for you. I’ve left a glycolic peel on too long before and ended up looking like a peeling lizard 3 days later. Not a sexy look.

If you have very sensitive skin you may skip exfoliation products all together and rather use a delicate sponge or facial brush, however if you are willing to try a product start with a gentle enzyme exfoliant.

Exfoliation is important because not only does exfoliation leave the skin feeling smooth and soft, but it also clears away dead skin and stimulates repair. So don’t skip it!

 

Preserve

The most important step after cleansing is applying the right serum. This all depends on your age, skin type, time of day, what you plan to do that day, where you live, what time of year it is, etc. However, it’s important to target 2 key areas with your serums:

  • Hydration (hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, caprylic/ capric triglycerides, natural oils)
  • Protection (Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, retinol, resveratrol, ferulic acid)

You can alter the strength of these ingredients in your serums accordingly but investing in serums that cover these 2 key areas will do wonders for your skin. In varying strengths and combinations these will address everything from oily to dry, dull to uneven, ageing and wrinkles.

 

Hydrate

Hydration is the key step in keeping your skin balanced. However, this is also the step most of us get wrong. Either we over or under hydrate. And we forget that this needs to change based not only on the seasons or travel, but also day to day. I am especially guilty of this.

Throughout my years of acne I assumed that the more hydrated my skin was, the oilier it would be, so I used the lightest moisturisers I could find. When in fact, it was actually oilier because I was depriving my skin of vital hydration and it was desperately trying to compensate by over producing natural oils. You will also find this happening when you use stripping acne products such as those containing benzoyl peroxide (who honestly thought applying peroxide to your skin was healthy?). The “aha” moment came for me when I was in a dermatologists office, on yet another round of roaccutane, wondering why my skin wasn’t getting any better. We together figured out that I was using too little hydration to support my skin. Once I upgraded my serums and moisturisers my skin calmed down completely.

Conversely, when I have had IPL in the past I’ve been told to layer on the hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, vitamin C and heavy moisturisers to facilitate the healing. But every time I do this I end up with more closed comedones than I started with. I have learnt that the key is to intensely hydrate in the first 2-3 days – after that I need to take my skin back to a more moderate routine.

 

Protect

This last step cannot be missed! Sunscreen is your best friend and the soundest investment you will make in your skin. I’ve heard every excuse for people not using sunscreen – ranging from “I don’t like the texture” (so try a different brand) to “but I work inside all day” (First of all I hope you get to see some sunlight in your day, but even if you’re outside for less than 30 minutes sunscreen matters, and not just on sunny days). Sunscreen is the most cost effective way to preserve your youth and your skin health. I worked for years in melanoma clinical trials and it was severely depressing to see so many preventable cases of skin cancer.

 

Overall, remember that your skin has mood swings too – it can go from dry to oily and back to dry multiple times in the day depending on your environment (aircon, humidity, cold), stress levels, exercise levels, diet, and many other factors. The best thing you can do for your skin is analyse it every day and then decide what to apply. Take time to review your skin and learn what works best for you.

The Luxe Botanics Team