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Cosmetics Tips – Selecting & Storing Preservative Free Cosmetics

I’m always going on and on about how important it is to use products that are free of synthetic ingredients-including preservatives. Of course this inevitably leads to the question about the shelf life of organic goods. All products-whether they’re organic or not-will eventually become contaminated with molds, fungi, bacteria and other nasty little things you don’t want swimming in your face cream. For almost 100 years conventional products have used parabens-the most common type of preservative-to protect cosmetics, medicine and even some food products.

It was only recently that people began to question the safety of these unnatural ingredients. A number of studies were performed with alarming results. Parabens may effect estrogen levels and contribute to breast cancer. And even if these particular things weren’t an issue, years of soaking up those chemicals still can’t be good for you. Thus the need for natural methods of preserving became more important than ever.

Organic companies use a safe and pure method of preservation utilizing antioxidants and plant based preservative systems. For example benzyl alcohol-a nature derivative of benzoin gum-is used in the Suzanne aux Bains Calming Body Wash to help battle bacteria and keep the organic formula fresh while it sits in your shower. While most conventional body and skincare products have a very long shelf life of three years or more, organic options can’t sit around as long. Most items will stay fresh after you open them between one and two years.

A couple perfect examples are Dr. Alkaitis and Sophtyo products. Dr. Alkaitis, which uses only raw plant ingredients in their formulas, have a recommended one-year shelf life. And Sophyto stays good unopened for up to three years. Once opened you can keep them around for up to 18 months. Dr.Hauschka products are good from six to nine months after they’ve been opened. Before opening they will remain fresh for at least two and a half years. At Saffron Rouge we make sure the products are fresh and will never send you ones that have been sitting around for years.

You can also help preserve items by keeping your skincare, fragrance and makeup products in a cool dry place and out of sunlight. Obviously the products that live in your shower can’t stay dry, but make sure to keep them closed to help keep them as fresh as possible. And how can you tell when a product has gone bad? Usually the smell will be your first clue. If it smells a little different than usual-and not in a good way-it’s a sign that you need to toss it. Other things to look for are discoloration and a change in the formula’s texture.

Concealed Weapons

Not all concealers are alike. In fact, even once you’ve weeded out the not-so-natural options you still have, well more options. You have to figure out what formula you want to use and even then you’re not done. There’s the task of choosing a shade. After all, not all concealers are alike. And obviously not every shade will work for everyone. To pick your shade, choose one that’s one or two shades lighter than your foundation. If your skin looks ashy when wearing the concealer, it’s too light. However, if it doesn’t brighten the area it’s too dark. It also may be smart to keep two shades in your beauty kit for working with extremely dark circles or on days your skin is more tanned than usual. It also may be necessary to blend two shades together to get the perfect color.

When it comes to choosing a formula, it can all come down to simple preference. However, if you don’t have a preference (or a clue), here are a few simple guidelines. If under eye circles are your main complaint, try using a liquid concealer. Suki’s Liquid Formula Concealer is a great option. And Dr.Hauschka’s Concealer Pen is easy to apply. The formula is thinner than a cream or stick, so it won’t settle into the lines of your eyes as much. Also, since you’ll be covering a larger area, you want the end result to look as natural as possible. To use it, apply several small dots under your eyes. Then use your fingers or a brush to lightly tap the color in. If you rub to harshly, the color will just smear away and off the area you’re trying to conceal.

The secret to using any type of concealer anywhere on your face is blending. So make sure to blend the outer edges of the concealer area well. If you can’t seem to master blending, try using the Suki Eye Shadow/Concealer Brush to help you out. It’s soft and flat and will help tap in the color. After one layer has been finished, check to see if you need another. It’s better to add a few sheer layers rather than one thick, noticeable layer. After you’ve tackled your eyes you can use the liquid to help mask red areas around your nose, mouth, or anywhere else as well. Finish with a sheer powder to set the concealer. Use a very small amount, as too much will settle into the lines, making you look older.

Cream concealers are wonderful at hiding blemishes. It just takes a little practice. Try the Dr.Hauschka Pure Care Coverstick or NVEY Eco’s Organic Erase Corrective Makeup. For best results, you’ll also need a firm, thin, pointed concealer brush like the one from Alima Pure. After all, the trick to hiding acne spots is dotting the concealer only on the spot. And even if you have tiny, steady hands this can be difficult. Get a small amount of the cream on the end of the brush and dot it into the center of the blemish. Then slowly blend it outward towards the outer edge of the blemish. A second layer may be needed. Then finish with a light dusting of powder to set the concealer.

Close Shave

I’m not one for short shorts. And short skirts and dresses aren’t my thing either. But all summer long I peeled off the layers to reveal a bit more skin. And even though cool weather is almost here, I’m not quite ready to relinquish bare legs just yet. So until my legs go in hibernation for the winter, and my shaving routine slows down (just a little), I make sure my bathroom is stocked with the most pure and delicate shaving products. Mainstream brands will lead you to believe you need to sizzle off the hair with a chemical cream or smooth on a synthetic-filled shaving cream, but there are alternatives. They’re gentle, they’re safe and they really work.

You can get a close, easy, and nick-free shave without the harsh chemical ingredients with organic options like Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lemongrass Lime Shaving Gel. Certified organic by the USDA (currently the strictest body care standard around) and Fair Trade certified too, this effective non-foaming gel removes hair while hydrating with shikakai, hemp and jojoba. And the crisp invigorating scent made with lemon, lime and lemongrass essential oils is perfectly refreshing.

In my shower you’ll find Weleda’s Shaving Cream. The lather gets really creamy and soft, which helps the blade glide over my skin. It’s extremely gentle and helps prevent any post-shave irritation (especially helpful in the bikini region). Plus it soothes and nourishes with goat’s milk, almond extract and pansy extract. Since organic shaving creams don’t foam up, you have to massage it into your wet skin to create a slick lather before reaching for the razor.

In a pinch (if I’m out of shaving cream or I forget to pack it on vacation) I’ll use my hydrating Santaverde Aloe Vera Shower Gel. It’s creamy enough to really protect my skin while I’m shaving. And the line up of softening ingredients–including almond oil, wheat protein and aloe Vera juice–leaves me legs feeling soft as silk.

Budget Beauty Buys

There are times when I don’t mind splurging on a great organic product. But let’s face it; I’d rather score something at a great price. Many people are surprised to learn that there are plenty of organic options that won’t empty your wallet. In fact, you can get almost everything you need from face and body to hair products for $25 and under. Here are my absolute favorite organic beauty steals, so you can save your hard-earned money for a rainy day… or a swoon-worthy fragrance.

Weleda Wild Rose Cleansing Lotion

Currently my favorite cleanser, this option, filled with Rosehip oil and organic Mallow extract, is mild, creamy and effective. Plus it doesn’t dry out or irritate my skin. And I love the soft, pleasant fragrance.

Balm Balm Face Balm (Rose Geranium)

I can’t stop finding new uses for this rose scented certified organic balm. It’s perfect to hydrate the usual suspects like my hands, feet and lips. But I also massage it into my cuticles, elbows and ankles. It helps prevent chapped cheeks when I’m out in the cold. And in a pinch, it helps smooth flyaways.

Weleda Almond Facial Oil

Not all oils have to be super pricy. This one is effective at quickly nourishing the skin. After I smooth it on, my face simply glows. It also doubles as a soothing eye makeup remover too.

Dr.Hauschka Lip Care Stick

I don’t know what I’d do without this affordable, moisturizing little stick. I stash one in my bag, in the bathroom and by my bed. The protecting formula glides on and lasts through coffee and kisses. There are cheaper lip balms, but this is the best.

Weleda Birch Body Scrub

When I’m having one of those mornings where I’d rather stay in bed than face the world, I pull out this exfoliating scrub. The intoxicating lime scent is deliciously uplifting. And the natural formula makes my skin velvety soft.

Weleda Foot Balm

I’m not a fan of foot products that smell like peppermint or menthol. Instead I’d rather soften calluses and moisturize my feet with the natural blend of Myrrh, Calendula and citrus oils found in this protective balm.

Badger Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 15

The adorable label implies it’s for the little ones. But that doesn’t stop me from using the gentle formula for myself. Natural minerals keep me safe from the sun while olive oil and rosehip oil nurture.

Weleda Citrus Deodorant

If you haven’t figured it out already, I love citrus scents. And this aluminum free deodorant is no exception. It’s a non-aerosol spray with a fragrance that’s not overpowering or cloying.

Bronzed Beauties

Although a pale face can be found here and there, it seems being tan—whether real or faux—is de rigueur when it comes to the celebrity set. From dark haired beauties like Jennifer Lopez to the blonde goddesses of Heroes, Ali Larter and Hayden Panettiere, stars know how to glow. And why not… tanned skin makes your eyes pop, your smile whiter and your complexion radiant. You feel thinner, happier and healthier. Of course being tanned from the sun is anything but healthy. So you can fake it with a few of my favorite products.

You have a couple options when it comes to formulas. Powder is really easy because you can start light and layer it on for more depth. My favorite bronzer is the Dr.Hauschka Bronzing Powder because the color looks sunny and natural. Before you apply it use your foundation and concealer as usual (if you wear them). If you’re wearing the bronzer right after you moisturize, make sure to let the moisturizer completely soak in first. Otherwise the powder will stick to damp areas depositing too much color in patches around your face. Grab a big, fluffy powder brush and swirl it into the powder. Lightly dust it around your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin (where the sun naturally colors your face the most). If needed, add another layer.

For a more dewy bronze look try Suki’s Tinted Active Moisturizer in Bronze in place of your usual foundation. And since it’s a moisturizer too, you get to skip a step in your morning routine. Pump a small dollop into your fingers and smooth it onto your skin like you would a foundation. Make sure to blend it in really well around the ‘edges’ of your face like your hairline and jaw. Another liquid option is the Living Nature Soft Light Illuminating Tint (in Dawn Glow, Day Glow or Evening Glow depending on your skin tone). The shimmering tinted moisturizer gives skin an extra dose of radiance without making you look like you got lost on the way to the disco.

After you’ve applied your bronzer make sure to follow up with a warm or rosy blush. Adding a pop of pink color to your cheeks on top of the bronzer gives your face a more realistic sun-kissed appearance. For the most natural-looking flush a good rule of thumb is to use the same formula of blush that you did a bronzer. If you used a powder, wear a powder blush like the Dr.Hauschka Rouge Powder. If you are going with a liquid bronzer, you can wear a cream blush like the Suki Pure Cream Stain (which you can also tap onto your lips to complete your look). Of course you can mix and match formulas, but it requires just a bit more work to look flawless.

Behind the Brand: Studio 78 Paris

Saffron Rouge is thrilled to welcome Studio 78 Paris to our family, an exciting line of luxury organic beauty products from France. It combines quality botanical ingredients with a modern color palette, offering perfectly pigmented products for face, eyes and lips that are gentle enough for sensitive skin. We recently spoke with founder Margareth Halfon about her cosmetic collection.

1. What motivated you to start your own line?

This was not just a marketing approach. Studio 78 Paris is a brand that has been made with our hearts.

We noticed that a real change was happening in the organic skincare market, but we just couldn’t find any makeup brands that seduced us. There was no alternative line that was also fun, with cool colors, that made us dream.

After working in the luxury, fashion and beauty industries, my partner Laurence and I decided to combine our skills to create our own brand.

Studio 78 Paris was created with a simple concept: to go back to the basics of any traditional makeup brand, which is to be feminine and glamorous, with innovative textures and strong, long lasting pigments. At Studio 78 Paris, making beautiful cosmetics comes first, and then the consumer is pleased to see that it is also an organic brand.

2. How long did it take? When was your product line ready for the general public?

We started in 2010 and it took us 10 months to develop the textures and the color range. Then we introduced Studio 78 Paris to the professionals at Beyond Beauty Paris in September to see how they felt about it. That year, 51 journalists elected us their Press Favorite among 65 brands in competition. Everybody was very enthusiastic about our brand. However, we decided to take few more months to improve the textures before the launch into the market because we wanted it to be perfect. Then Studio 78 Paris officially launched in September 2011.

3. What obstacles did you face along the way?

Studio 78 Paris is a very exciting venture, but there were some obstacles we had to face.

We wanted to have the Ecocert certification for all our products, but it was hard to find organic ingredients that gave us nice pigments but also meet the Ecocert’s standards, especially for eyeshadows.

It was a long road, but we persevered and it worked!

4. Who did you draw your inspiration from?

Studio 78 Paris was born so women wouldn’t have to compromise between beauty and health.

We decided to wander from the typical organic brand approach and to stay closer to the approach of traditional and luxury makeup brands, only with better natural ingredients. Our palate is inspired by the timeless, classic feel of the black & white era, and the glamorous, feminine style of floral watercolors.

5. What is unique, different or special about your brand?

Most of our products are based on our innovative formulas – baked technology for the powders, and bi-phased water foundation for a seamless texture that melts into the complexion.

The color range is modern and follows the current fashion trends. Our packaging is luxurious yet practical. Each detail is there to make life easier for women.

6. What if anything would you do differently if you could do it over?

We faced some problems since the beginning and I’m sure we will face other problems in the future. But each time, we ultimately found a better solution from what we had before. So, to be honest, we would do everything exactly the same!

7. How do you feel about changes in the organic beauty movement?

Throughout the past few years, we have seen a lot of changes operating in the organic beauty market. First, it started with skincare, then it followed with makeup, then perfume.

Some countries are more aware about organic products. Others still have to be educated to this new, better way of consumption. It will take some time. But as products become more attractive, the faster consumers will make the switch from traditional to organic products. It is our job as producers to make them want to make that switch. Don’t forget, when you sell beauty products, you sell dreams.

8. What advice would you offer other novice women entrepreneurs?

In one hand, when you start your own business you should be really motivated because you will go through hard times. You have to stay focused on your aim.

On the other hand, you should find suppliers who want to work with you because they trust in your project. They will get involved in your adventure and become a kind of partner.

9. Do you think it is more difficult for women when it comes to business?

To be honest, I think it’s easier for a women to create her own business. I’ve found suppliers are often filled with admiration for our courage and they want to help us.

Laurence and I used to work for huge companies before launching Studio 78 Paris. We both agree that was often much more difficult.

10. How do you find work/life balance?

When you start your own business, it’s like having a baby. You never have weekends or holidays. You always think about it.

But it’s all for good and happiness!

Beautify, Relax, Energize: Ultimate Baths for Every Mood

It’s no secret that baths provide an opportunity to unwind after a hectic day. However, what you add to your bath water can help to beautify your skin, calm both body and mind, cure a common cold and even energize your senses.

No matter what your mood, it’s always a great time for a bath. Check out some popular baths below, and discover exactly what you need to create your ultimate bath experience.

Milk Bath
Some people will tell you that bathing in camel’s milk was the secret to Cleopatra’s gorgeous skin. While we can’t say for sure whether the infamous Egyptian pharaoh did in fact frequently bathe in milk, it is true that milk baths positively affect your skin’s appearance.

Milk baths have a beautifying effect on your skin because milk contains nutrients that rejuvenate the skin, making it appear younger and softer.

Relax your mind and body with Weleda’s Pine Bath Milk, or get a burst of energy with their citrus scented milk bath mixture, ideal for use prior to any physical activity.

Moms-to-be can also can enjoy an invigorating milk bath. Erbaviva’s USDA certified formula is safe for both mom and baby, and has a lovely lavender and herb scent.

Aromatherapy Bath
The essential oils of an aromatherapy bath penetrate the skin and enter the nasal passages as a vapor, calming your mind and instantly relaxing tense muscles. Aromatherapy baths also improve blood circulation and moisturize dry skin.

Adding a few drops of lavender oil to your bath helps to soothe sore muscles and reduce the look of red, irritated skin. Dr.Hauschka’s Lavender Bath dissolves quickly in warm water. Or, if you can’t find time for a soak in the tub, relieve shoulder tension by adding small drops of the lavender oil to a hot compress and place it on the back of your neck.

If you’ve got a cold, an aromatherapy bath can help clear congested respiratory systems. Primavera’s Eucalyptus Cold Therapy Bath Oil helps to ease symptoms of a common cold while in the bath.

Energizing Bath
Most people are aware that baths can be incredibly relaxing, but baths can also give you a boost of energy while still softening, strengthening and moisturizing your skin. Primavera’s Energizing Ginger Lime Bath Oil uses organic ingredients that do just that!

Ginger invigorates the body with its unique warming effect, while lime awakens the skin with its mild astringents and antiseptic properties. Jojoba and olive oils hydrate and protect your skin by increasing its natural moisture barrier.

Create your ultimate vath experience today!
Run some warm water, grab your fluffiest towel and jump into the bath that best suits your mood.

Bath Recipes – Herbal Bath, Bath Salts Recipes and More

So you want to relax, but splurging for a high-priced bath product leaves you tenser than ever? And a pampering getaway to a five-star spa is something that will only happen in your dreams? No problem, simply grab some inexpensive essential oils along with other ingredients that are probably already lurking in your cabinets. Before you know it you’ll be soaking in a luxurious, stress-relieving bath.

3 cups sea salt or Epson salt
5-7 drops each of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Neroli Moroccan essential oils
1 tbsp carrier oil such as Apricot Kernel or Jojoba

Mix oil and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add drops of essential oils. Start with no more than 5 drops of each oil and add more as you stir the salts together. Try experimenting with different types of sea salts or blend different salts together. Store in an airtight glass jar. To use pour 3/4 to 1 cup of salts into warm, running water. Swish the water around before getting in to ensure the salt has dissolved.

Other fragrance ideas:

Combine equal parts Lemon and Grapefruit essential oils for a refreshing bath or combine Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Bergamot to relieve stress

3 cups powdered buttermilk (can substitute regular powdered milk)
10-15 drops of Lavender essential oil or an oil of your choice (optional)
Using a wire wisk thoroughly blend the dry ingredients together before adding in the essential oil(s). Store in an airtight glass jar. To use pour 3/4 to 1 cup of the mixture into warm, running water.

1/2 cup honey
3 cups powdered milk
10-15 drops of Chamomile essential oil or an oil of your choice (optional)

Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Store in an airtight glass jar. To use pour 3/4 to 1 cup of the mixture into warm, running water.

2 cups brown sugar (can substitute white sugar, but brown sugar is more gentle on sensitive skin)
1 cup almond oil (found in health food stores) or extra virgin olive oil
5 drops of essential oil of your choice (optional)

Mix the ingredients together until they’ve formed a thick paste. You can experiment with the ratio of oil to sugar depending on your preference for a thicker or thinner scrub. Store in an airtight glass jar. To use, massage a small amount of the scrub onto wet or dry skin the shower, rinse thoroughly.

A Spring Cleaning Tutorial for Your Face

Spring has sprung, and that means it’s spring cleaning time. While you’re busy tidying your closets, clearing your clutter and sprucing up your home, give a little thought to how you wash your face. Sounds pretty basic, but there’s more to it than a mindless splash, lather and rinse.

Cleansing is the most important step in a facial skin care routine. It gets rid of dirt, sweat, oil, make-up, bacteria, dead skin cells and other pollutants so you can get down to a pure, fresh canvas. Washing too much or too harshly can be drying or irritating, and using the wrong products for your needs is a no-no. It’s time to take this grooming ritual off autopilot and go through the process step-by-step.

The first rule in washing your face is, actually, washing your hands. You don’t want to transfer grunge, grime and germs from all that you touch throughout the day onto your delicate facial skin. Your fingers are the perfect tools to gently work and massage cleansers around your face, so you want to start with squeaky clean digits. Some people prefer to use wash cloths, but these can be a bit abrasive so use a soft touch, especially if you have sensitive skin. Cotton pads (preferably organic!) are another option for eye makeup removal or for wiping off cream cleansers.

Now give some thought to the water temperature you use. Not too hot (too drying), not too cold (not effective), aim for comfortable, in-between, just right warmth. Most cleansing products are designed to work best at dissolving dirt, removing oil and unclogging pores with tepid water.

Removing eye make-up is a step unto itself. You only want mild, natural, non-stinging ingredients near this tender area. Go easy with your cleansing strokes – never tug or rub. Living Nature’s Gentle Makeup Remover is a light liquid that extremely effective at cutting through all your cosmetic artistry, and is suitable for even sensitive eyes. Inika’s Eye Makeup Remover gently takes off all trace residue with soothing natural ingredients like chamomile, calendula and aloe vera.

Now onto facial cleansers, several of which do double-duty as an eye makeup remover too. Note that skin is naturally slightly acidic, with a pH of about 5.5. Traditional soaps are alkaline, which can throw your skin off-balance, so stay away from soap. Many drug-store and cosmetic-counter cleansers are chemical-laden synthetic formulations that can be harsh on your face and the environment. Saffron Rouge carries natural facial cleansers suitable for all skin types, so first determine if you have oily, dry, normal, sensitive, mature or combination skin. Some of our most popular products include Primavera’s Revitalizing Cream Cleanser, which nourishes normal to mature skin with anti-oxidant rich pomegranate oil, jojoba and rose water, and Living Nature’s Purifying Cleanser, a liquid cleansing gel for oily and combination skin with enzyme-rich manuka honey and naturally lathering kumerahou from New Zealand. These products nourish as they cleanse. Careful not to pull on the skin as you gently massage the product around the face, avoiding the eye region.

Exfoliation is the next step, but only once or thrice a week depending on your skin’s needs and sensitivities. Oilier complexions can handle it more than dryer skin, but don’t overdo it. The tiny granular particles in these products help slough off dead skin cells and stimulate cellular renewal, leaving a fresher, brighter, more radiant complexion, which then allows moisturizing products to penetrate better. Use light circular strokes to distribute the product around your cheeks and T-zone. For an effective polish, try Suki’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser or Dr. Hauschka’s Cleansing Cream. Other products, such as ilike’s Rosehip Exfoliator use fruit or lactic acid to dissolve dull flakes without the scouring granules.

Once a week, deep clean with a steaming facial to really open the pores and increase circulation. Simply as fill a basin with hot water, drape a towel over your head and let the trapped steam work its magic for about five or ten minutes. Adding a few drops of essential oil to the water takes things up a notch, but do a little research to find an oil – or combination of oils – that is suitable to your skin type. For example, oily complexions might try bergamot, lemon, sage or ylang-ylang while drier complexions might use neroli, jasmine, rose or lavender oils. Close your eyes, inhale deeply and savor the meditative me-time while you deep clean your skin.

As a final step, splash your face with a cold water rinse to close up the pores and wash off any remaining traces of your cleansing products. Use a clean towel to delicately dab off any remaining water droplets rather than a rough rub-down and then move on to the toning and/or moisturizing step – but that’s the subject for a whole other tutorial.

A Rosy Outlook on Winter

It’s official. The groundhog just declared that we’re in for six more weeks of winter and for many of us that means dry, sensitive, irritated skin. While our bodies are wrapped in coats throughout the season, our faces are exposed to the elements, and that constant combo of wind and cold certainly takes its toll.

So how do you help turn that tight, flaky, dull winter skin into the rosy cheeks of summer? Actually, roses.

Be it rose water, rose hip or rose oil, the complexion benefits of this wonder-flower have been harnessed by apothecaries, herbalists and alchemists since ancient times. Modern science is now catching up to these folk traditions. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and fatty acids, rose extracts can help increase collagen production, reduce inflammation and keep moisture locked in the epidermis.

One of our top recommendations for a winter facial moisturizer is the Rose Day Cream from Dr. Hauschka. It’s a little thicker and richer than the popular Rose Day Cream Light, but that’s just what the doctor orders for this time of year. Give it a minute to sink in and this non-greasy emollient soothes and protects weather ravaged skin, combating redness, calming itchiness and replenishing hydration so you can face the chill of another day.

And who couldn’t use the pick-me-up of a bouquet of roses in the dead of winter? Over 30 biodynamic organic roses go into every tube of Rose Day Cream, which not only contributes to the therapeutic properties of this luxurious moisturizer, it makes its scent naturally divine.

Perhaps if that groundhog got a whiff of this cream he’d pop out of his burrow with a rosier outlook.

Roses are a key botanical ingredient in many Saffron Rouge products, such as Duchess Marden’s Damacena Rose Water, Jurlique’s Rose Hand Cream and ilike’s Rose Petal Toner.

So why not pick a rose product or two? It just might help you make it through to Spring.