Pantone’s Fall 2012 Color Report

Wondering which beauty products to invest in this fall? Pantone released its 2012 fall fashion color report, predicting which shades will likely trend this season in everything from eye shadow to handbag color. Including darker, more serious tones like “french roast,” this palate is also big on pops of color, such as “pink flambe” and “bright chartreuse.”

We’ve searched for our favorites of these shades in some of our go-to all natural brands and come up with a list of products that will help you stay on trend this fall (the all natural way!):

  • Tangerine Tango: Zoya’s all natural nail polish in “Paz” is a great way to add a spot of bright, attention-grabbing color to an otherwise neutral outfit. Vibrant and long-lasting, this nail color is also free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate.
  • Rhapsody: Try Afterglow Cosmetic’s mineral eye shadow in “Velvet” for a subtle way to incorporate muted purple into your makeup routine. With certified organic ingredients including grape seed and rosemary extracts, these eye shadows are gentle on skin without sacrificing vibrant color.
  • Rose Smoke: For understated lips with a hint of rosiness, try Primitive Makeup’s lipstick in Sedona. Moisturizing and all natural, this product includes calendula, green tea and rose hips for a beautiful, conditioning treatment for your lips.
  • Pink Flambe: To wake up your complexion, try a dash of bright creme blush by Real Purity Cosmetics in “Pink.” Free of any FD&C dyes, oils, talc, alcohol, parabens, chemicals, this blush delivers easy-to-apply, creamy color to naturally brighten winter skin.

What’s your favorite Pantone color this fall? Do you plan on investing in fall colors? Let us know!

 

 

4 Essential Oils For Healthy, Luminous Skin

Via: healthyuwithayu.com

Via: healthyuwithayu.com

By now, many of us are familiar with essential oils and the diverse array of health and beauty benefits they provide in safe, natural ways. Still, the search for the correct essential oil for your skin can be confusing due to the large selection of these ingredients. Instead of selecting your preferred oil based on scent alone, check out this list of some of our favorites and how they can help keep your skin healthy and luminous:

1. Lavender:

  • What it is: Many of us enjoy the essential oil of lavender, which is common in bath products and candles. Derived from the lavandula angustifolia plant, this oil is present in a variety of forms depending on its origin and the altitude at which it was grown.
  • What it does: Helping to balance oily skin and clear blemishes, this oil has antiseptic properties that can even help in relieving burns, insect bites and small cuts. Its fragrance also has a calming effect that many report as aiding in sleep and relaxation.

2. Tea Tree:

  • What it is: Coming from the Australian plant melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil is probably one of the most popularly used oils due to its effectiveness in treating skin and unique and diverse uses. Used for thousands of years by the aboriginal people of Australia and New Zealand, tea tree has proven its worth throughout history by serving as a treatment for wounds and as an antiseptic for many skin ailments.
  • What it does: With great effectiveness in warding off infections of all kinds, this oil has been known to cleanse and treat skin prone to blemishes and is even purported to help fade scarring of the complexion. Additional benefits include aiding in the healing of minor cuts and scrapes, as well as insect bites and chicken pox.

3. Chamomile:

  • What it is: Extracted through steam distillation from fresh camomile flowers, this oil was widely used by ancient Egyptians in shampoos, perfumes and cosmetics due to its soothing and cooling abilities.
  • What it does: Based on its place of origin, camomile oil comes in two different varieties: Roman and German. While both oils have excellent calming properties, Roman chamomile is more effective for skin irritation, while German chamomile  is especially effective in not only soothing and calming the skin, but also in tissue regeneration.

4. Rosemary:

  • What it is: Crisp and clean smelling, this oil comes from a shrubby evergreen bush originally native to Asia known as rosmarinus officinalis. Now cultivated in France, Tunisia and Yugoslavia, this plant was burnt in hospitals during the middle ages to ward off plagues.
  • What it does: Rosemary oil is ideal for acne-prone skin with enlarged pores, as it cleanses and invigorates skin, leaving a gentle astringent effect. Because it tones and firms skin, rosemary is also ideal for mature skin and is employed in many anti-aging skin products.

*Note: Please keep in mind that, while natural, many essential oils are strongly effective and therefore may cause irritation on some skin types. When using alone, remember to use sparingly and test a small amount of the product on skin before use. For gentler options that still offer similar benefits, try finding skin care products, such as our facial soap bars, that contain essential oils mixed with other soothing ingredients.

What’s your favorite essential oil? Let us know!

Ancient Skin Remedies For Modern Times

Via: italiantribune.com

Via: italiantribune.com

So many trends in the fashion and beauty world (and beyond) move in cycles: in the past few years, we’ve seen the reemergence of everything from 70’s inspired flower child wavy locks to the neon spandex styles of the flashy 80’s. Mad Men helped re-popularize the glamorous, well-tailored fashions of the 50’s and 60’s, and when it comes to beauty, the rise of Pinterest and prevalence of beauty blogs beckoned us back to an older, simpler time when beauty products could be prepared with everyday, natural items.

In a rat race world of complicated situations we can’t necessarily control, why not simplify what we can? In my search for age-old skin remedies that are still easily obtainable, here are the ingredients that stood out to me in their reputed efficacy and ability to stand the test of time:

  • Honey: The Ancient Greeks, as well as those in Africa, the Middle East and India have used honey for thousands of years on wounds to help speed up the healing process. Able to ease pain, reduce swelling and infection and promote healing, honey is still a great way to keep skin smooth and blemish-free.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Used by the aboriginal people of Australia for over 3,000 years, this oil has been employed throughout history as a treatment for infections and various other medicinal purposes. Now, tea tree is again rising in popularity as an effective therapy for everything from acne to dandruff. With strong disinfectant properties, it is therapeutic for troubled and damaged skin.
  • Olive Oil: Referred to as “liquid gold” by the Ancient Greeks, olive oil has been widely used for thousands of years as a natural moisturizer for both skin and hair. Used to anoint kings and athletes in Greece, this oil was considered sacred for many years due to its amazingly effective and versatile abilities. Still used in many beauty products, it is ideal for those with allergies, as it is extremely gentle on skin.
  • Almond Oil: Before there was Botox or expensive anti-aging creams, Ancient Egyptians relied on the powers of almond oil to look younger. Popular in skin products used in almost all classes of society, almond oil has remained prevalent due to its rejuvenating abilities and high antioxidant content in the form of vitamin E.

What’s in Your Shampoo?

shampoo

After a day in the jungle that’s been the American Southeast this summer, nothing feels better than lathering up greasy hair with clean-smelling shampoo. However, like (some of) the best things in life, this practice probably isn’t good for you, largely because of the makeup of many shampoos you might find in your local drugstore. So what can you do to avoid potentially harmful chemicals short of letting your hair devolve into a stringy mess of unmanageable filth? While many swear by letting hair regulate itself, rinsing it occasionally and letting natural oils nourish the strands, my (very) long and (very, very) straight hair just does not allow for this method. My attempts at washing my hair less go something like this:

Day One After Washing — OK-looking side braid with questionable-looking bangs

Day Two After Washing — Questionable-looking side braid with pinned back I-have-given-up-on-you bangs

Day Three After Washing — Does not exist*; let’s be honest, I barely ever even last until day two

(*exceptions: sleeping through alarm, being lazy)

Upon doing some shampoo-related research, it seems that there are in fact alternatives to mainstream shampoos that treat your hair more gently and keep the harsher chemicals at bay. First, let’s look at the things you might want to avoid when lathering up:

  • Sodium and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfates — These are the ingredients in shampoo that attract dirt and oil, washing them away. They also create the foam that many of us are used to, but which serves no actual purpose in cleansing hair. These chemicals have come under scrutiny due to the fact that they can be irritating to eyes and skin and can be harsh on hair, sometimes creating breakage and damage.
  • Fragrance — Present in most shampoos, “fragrance” in mass produced products is essentially chemicals created in a lab to emulate natural smells. In fact, when you see this ingredient listed on your product, it can refer to up to 4,000 different chemicals, including acetone (yes, like nail polish remover), formaldehyde and alcohol. Like you might have already guessed, these ingredients aren’t great for your hair, stripping it of essential oils and maybe even causing damage to the hair follicle itself.
  • Propylene Glycol — Allowing the shampoo ingredients to penetrate deep into the hair shaft, propylene glycol serves the purpose of making hair look shinier and healthier. However, over time this chemical has the potential to ravage the hair follicle and damage the integrity of each individual hair.

While the above information may make you want to promptly remove 90% of your shower’s contents, remember that these ingredients are more likely to cause harm over long periods of use, so your best bet may be to use up what you have and then try some of the more gentle shampoos free of major irritants to see how they work for you. In my search to find more natural shampoos, these are some that look worth trying:

1.  Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash

  • Pros: Yes, this is technically for babies, but that just makes it all the more simple, gentle and great for sensitive skin. Burt’s Bees cites this product as being 98.9% natural and is sulfate, phthalate, petrochemical and paraben-free
  • Cons: Still contains fragrance

2.  Intelligent Nutrients Organic Hair Cleanser

  • Pros: A mild cleanser safe for color-treated hair, this product is free of sulfates, silicone and parabens; cool-looking bottle!
  • Cons: Contains fragrance, although the fragrance is a “certified organic natural aroma”; and at $29, this cleanser is not exactly cheap

3.  John Masters Organics Bare Unscented Shampoo

  • Pros: This daily shampoo is said to gently cleanse hair without the use of sodium lauryl sulfate; it is fragrance-free
  • Cons: Has a long list of complicated-sounding ingredients; however, many of the ingredients are certified organic

4.  Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo

  • Pros: Suitable for all hair types, this shampoo contains no laurel sulfates, is cruelty free and employs certified organic botanical ingredients
  • Cons: The tingling sensation and strong tea tree smell may be off-putting to some people; some reviews report it as “drying”

What’s your favorite shampoo (all natural or otherwise)? Do you think it’s important to avoid the harsher chemicals? 

Knowledge to Fill Awkward Silences: Facts About Soap

Here at Snowy Owl Cove, we’re passionate about all of our skin care products, but have a special affinity to the items that started it all, our all natural soaps. There is just something about the process of creating a perfectly compact bar of sweet smelling cleanliness, knowing it will help someone begin the morning or wash off the stresses of the day at night that is incredibly satisfying. And there is also the cool feeling of being part of a long tradition of soap making that has stretched back for thousands of years (the first literary reference to soap used for cleansing was by Greek physician Galen in the second century A.D.)

For inquiring minds, I’ve compiled a few interesting facts about this basic, everyday, yet extraordinary substance:

  • The first known soaps were created by boiling animal fat on a wood fire. The earliest known users of soap were either the Celts or the Phoenicians.
  • Early soaps were usually used for washing clothes or curing animal hides. The Romans, however, were known to use soaps as a part of bathing and spread this usage throughout Europe.
  • The soap making process stayed about the same until mass production methods were introduced in the late 18th century. Some of the large soap manufacturers, such as Pears Soap, date back to this time period (Pears Soap was founded in 1789).
  • Mass produced bar soap that you may buy in the grocery or drugstore is mostly detergent, which is why it bubbles up so much.

And one bonus fact…

  • Murphy’s Oil Soap is the most commonly used cleanser to wash elephants!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Frazzled From Summer Travel? Bounce Back with DIY Treatments

Via: thewanderingwanderluster.com

Via: thewanderingwanderluster.com

 

I just returned from a wonderful, fun-filled and entirely draining week in the beautiful city of Chicago. While I enjoy the kind of vacation involving beachside napping as much as the next person, I also love the hectic exhilaration of spending days on end sight-seeing, flavoring new foods, catching a live show and browsing hole-in-the-wall boutiques for the perfect surprise presents to bring friends back home.

We usually envision ourselves returning from vacation rejuvenated, ready to tackle the piles of work that have stacked up in our absence, with slightly fewer bags under our eyes. Of course, after running around the city under a blazing sun for a week, compiled with the joys of public transportation and navigating O’Hare airport, I’ve naturally returned more frazzled than before I left. And I’m just going to guess that it was some sort of city toxin/airplane dryness combination that has left my skin dull and hair frizzy.

Are you feeling the effects of mid-summer skin, hair and body stress? For me, it’s the perfect time to treat myself to a night of all-natural DIY beauty treatments (while doing loads and LOADS of post-trip laundry, of course). Here’s what’s on the menu:

1.  Carrot & Honey Face Mask

  • What it does: This mask is perfect for rejuvenating tired skin since carrots are full of antioxidants that help fight free radicals (think: city smog) that cause your skin to look less radiant, and honey is a great natural antibacterial cleanser and moisturizer. This easy recipe also includes witch hazel (tones and cleanses pores), cucumber juice (soothes irritation) and lemon juice (contains vitamin C; plumps skin), which all work together to help your skin rebound from post-travel dullness.
  • What you’ll need: 1/2 cup cooked mashed carrots, 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon witch hazel, 1 tablespoon cucumber juice and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  • What you’ll need to do: Find the freshest ingredients possible; this will ensure that they’re full of the powerful antioxidants you’re after. Start by mashing the carrots (bring water to a boil, reduce heat and add carrots, and allow to cook covered for about 20 minutes or until they are tender; then simply mash the carrots into a smooth consistency). Next, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix together until consistency is thick and pasty. Massage and layer it onto skin and allow for it to sit for 25 minutes or longer. Rinse off and follow with a non-alcoholic toner (witch hazel is great as a toner by itself!) and apply a light moisturizer.

2.  Rosemary & Lemon Foot Soak

  • What it does: For all of us who strongly regret our footwear choices after extensive walking on trips, this soak can be a lifesaver. The rejuvenating properties of lemon, combined with the soothing and calming qualities of rosemary make for the perfect (and aromatic) foot soaking experience. This recipe also includes oat flour, which reduces inflammation, rashes, and works as a powerful moisturizer.
  • What you’ll need: 2 drops lemon essential oil, 2 drops rosemary essential oil, and 4 tablespoons organic oat flour. Note: Essential oils can be found at most whole grocery stores or health food stores.
  • What you’ll need to do: Add ingredients to a warm water foot bath. (It doesn’t have to be fancy! A small plastic tub would work). Soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes. For added moisture, rub on some hand or foot cream afterwards (or alternatively, have someone nice massage it in).

3.  Coconut & Avocado Hair Mask

  • What it does: Both coconut and avocado are full of fats needed by hair to look shiny, soft, bouncy and healthy. When applied from roots to ends, these ingredients can help smooth hair at the cuticle and repair the appearance of split ends.
  • What you’ll need: 1 large avocado, mashed; 1 tablespoon solid coconut oil (I get mine at Trader Joe’s); 1 tablespoon aloe juice; and 1 teaspoon jojoba oil.
  • What you’ll need to do: Combine ingredients with either a spoon, or for a smoother consistency, with a food processor. Apply to damp hair from roots to ends as evenly as possible and cover with a shower cap to avoid too much drip-age. Let sit on hair for 30-45 minutes and rinse, wash and style as usual.

4.  Vitamin E Cuticle Soak

  • What it does: This one is simple. As you probably know, vitamin E is fundamental in delivering smoother, healthier skin, and cuticles are no exception. Combined with a powerful hand lotion, your nails will be looking great in time for the weekend!
  • What you’ll need: A few drops of Vitamin E, which is available in most grocery stores.
  • What you’ll need to do:  Simply add a few teaspoons of the oil to a warm bowl of water and soak your hands for 10-15 minutes. Shea butter is also great for rough cuticles, so try finding a hand lotion containing this ingredient for maximum soothing power.

Happy summer travels, everyone! Do you have a trick to help you recharge after a tiring trip? Let us know!

Save Your Nails Without Sacrificing Vibrant Color

Three reasons I know I’m a bona fide nail polish addict: 1. I bought a large decorative basket to house my nail polish collection. Then had to add another one for expansion purposes; 2. My best friend knows the birthday present with which to “surprise” me when she’s short on cash is a bottle of the newest shade I’ve been admiring; and 3. I don’t remember the last time my nails were unpainted/I find myself feeling “naked” when the coats of polish I’m wearing start the chipping process. Like almost anything as gorgeous as freshly painted, brightly colored nails, however, my passion for polish is not without a few not-so-beautiful side effects. Take, for example, my nails’ tendency to occasionally become dry and brittle, the layers peeling away and silently crying out to me, “Lay off the chemicals, please.” I found out recently, however, that not all nail polish is chalk-full of toxic chemicals, and better yet, that non-toxic nail polishes come in shades just as beautiful, vibrant and diverse as what you might find from OPI or Essie.  Some of the non-toxic polishes I found (and plan on trying!):

1.  Non-Toxic Nail Polish by Priti

  • The story: D’amato launched Priti NYC in 2005 with the purpose of supporting organic farmers and decreasing the amount of chemicals poisoning the earth and its inhabitants. Long-wearing and safe for kids and adults, these polishes are also fine for use by mothers-to-be.
  • What they have to offer: They are 100% biodegradable, vegan and never tested on animals.
  • Chemicals they’re free of: Priti Polish doesn’t contain toluene, formaldehyde or DBP.

2.  Zoya Nail Polish

  • The story: Originally a classical pianist in Russia, Zoya earned her cosmetology license in 1979, immigrated to the US and began her career in delivering quality, healthy, and all-natural ingredients to her clients through unique products.
  • What they have to offer: Over 300 long-wearing colors and treatments that are vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Chemicals they’re free of: Zoya doesn’t use formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor or dibutyl phalate.

3.  Scotch Naturals

  • The story: “Smart, fun, and forward thinking,” Scotch Naturals is concerned with keeping its products healthy for both its customers and the world around us.
  • What they have to offer: Safe and eco-friendly, these polishes are made up of a revolutionary water-based formula that delivers long-lasting color in an array of unique shades and are vegan, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, fragrance-free and paraben-free.
  • Chemicals they’re free of: Scotch Naturals steers clear of ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone and heavy metals.

And for when your nails, like mine, just want to breathe:

4.  Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover

  • The story: Karma Organic Spa became one of the first organic spas to open in New Jersey in October of 2007, offering an eco-friendly environment with organic products as a healthy alternative for beauty needs. These products are now commercially available in nationwide stores such as Whole Foods.
  • What they have to offer: This product is a soy-based remover derived from farm crops and packaged in 100% recyclable glass bottles.
  • Chemicals they’re free of: Karma Organic Nail Polish Remover does not employ petroleum ingredients and is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic (and actually smells good!)

What My Skin Care Product Addiction Has Taught Me

beauty

Cleaning out my bathroom cabinet last night, I was reminded of one of the irrefutable truths of my life thus far: I own way too many products. Gels, serums, lotions and creams, all (sometimes deceptively) in polished packaging suggesting their uncanny abilities to make my skin smoother, clearer, more even, more beautiful.

Of course, most products, however honest their intentions, don’t exactly live up to their word, which leaves me on a constant search for what, in fact, just works. The bright side is that being a sucker for skin products hasn’t been entirely futile; I’ve learned a few truths that generally ring true in the world of skin care.

1. Trendy, complicated-looking products do not necessarily equal effective products. Some of the most tried and true products I use are packaged simply in utilitarian-style bottles with easy-to-understand, honest descriptions. Here is a great database to help you know what to look for on the label of bottle before you purchase it.

2. Check for long, hard-to-read ingredient lists. You wouldn’t pour complicated-sounding chemicals in tonight’s casserole, so why allow them to be absorbed into your system through your skin care products? Look for all natural oils and butters instead of a plethora of 23-letter words. Check out this comprehensive list of chemical ingredients in cosmetics to find out what they really mean and what they do for your skin.

3. Try supporting local business. Not getting the results you were hoping for from commercially made products? Consider trying a local company with lower production levels. Not only will you get to support your local economy, but you may also find that a smaller company puts more care, energy and attention into their products.

4. Research natural ingredients and know what you’re looking for. Looking for relief from dry, flaky skin? You may want to look for avocado oil in a moisturizer. Combating an oily complexion? Hazelnut oil can serve as a great astringent in a facial cleanser. The more you know, the less lost you will feel looking at ingredient lists. Check here for comedogenic ratings of botanical oils so you know which ones are best for your skin type.

5. Keep it simple. Don’t let your bathroom cabinet devolve into mine. When you find products you like, stick to them. And chances are that the products that are most effective will be the straight-forward, all natural real deals that simply deliver results.

Do you believe in using natural products? What works best on your skin? Let us know in the comments!

7 Things You Need to Know About Under Eye Moisturizers

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Snowy Owl Cove’s Morning Dew and Owl Eyes Under Eye Serums

At some point, we’ve all spent more time obsessing over our complexions in the mirror than we’d like to admit. You’ve probably noticed that the skin around your eyes differs from the thicker, slightly tougher skin on the rest of your face. Skin in the area around your eyes is indeed more thin, more delicate, and more sensitive than the rest of your face and should be treated as such. When choosing an under eye moisturizer, it’s important to be selective and mindful of the ingredients to maximize soothing capabilities and minimize irritation. Try keeping the following tips in mind:

  1. For the best wrinkle prevention, women should start using under eye moisturizers in their early 20’s. Even if aging is not visible, keeping skin hydrated will put you one step ahead in combating fine lines later in life.
  2. Gels or serums are often preferable consistencies for under eye moisturizers, as delicate skin in the eye area readily absorbs substances and does not necessarily require heavy creams or lotions.
  3. To reduce puffiness and dark circles, look for natural ingredients such as soy peptides that plump skin by improving circulation to the under eye area.
  4. If you’re looking to tighten sagging skin, try finding ingredients such as avocado seed oil, which is reputed to promote collagen production in skin.
  5. For maximum efficacy, look for eye moisturizers suitable for day and night use. A separate moisturizer for night-time use is important, as skin absorbs products more effectively at rest.
  6. When applying under eye moisturizer, simply dab a small amount on skin using your ring finger (which is the weakest finger and won’t stress the skin) in a semi-circular motion under each eye, then gently pat skin until product is absorbed. Be careful to keep the product out of your eyes, as it may cause irritation!
  7. Above all, remember that if you treat sensitive under eye skin as delicately as possible, it will reflect your time and care!