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April 27, 2017

acid ›   beauty ›   green beauty ›  


Hyaluronic Acid for Heroic Hydration

 

Hyaluronic Acid

The Skincare Ingredient Every Routine Needs

Recently, a lot of buzz has been generated about the myth of “one-size-fits-all” skincare routines. That might be true in the case of tailoring routines to specific skin types, but there are some real heroes when it comes to skincare ingredients that are beneficial for all skin types, and today we take a deeper look at the veritable Cadillac of them all - Hyaluronic Acid.

A little-known fact of skincare is that every skin type, whether it be dry, oily, sensitive, or anything in between, are prone to dehydration. Hydration helps to improve skin quality by visibly plumping fine lines, but also works to regulate natural oil production and to soothe sensitized skin, making it an essential part for any routine. While glycerin and oils are excellent moisturizers (technical term: humectants), they can be too heavy for skin if not used properly.

Hyaluronic Acid

Enter Hyaluronic Acid, a gooey, sugar-based substance (technical term: a polysaccharide belonging to the class of glycosaminoglycans - say that ten times fast) that looks like a clear, thick gel when bonded to water. Half of the hyaluronic acid in the body is in the skin, where the rest occurs abundantly in the ECM (extracellular matrix - the mortar to the brick that are the trillions of cells that make up the body).

Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1000 times its weight in water, acting as a magnet to water and helps to plump the skin at a cellular level. Because of its ability to attract and retain water and the fact that it naturally occurs in the body, Hyaluronic Acid is the hydration hero for all skin types we all need.

In the beauty world, Hyaluronic Acid and Sodium Hyaluronate are fairly interchangeable, but there is a difference between the two. While Hyaluronic Acid has immense potential for hydration, the molecule has a high molecular weight, meaning that it’s difficult for it to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. The “Second Coming of Hyaluronic Acid,” as described by the New York Times, is the synthesis of a smaller molecule, a low molecular weight version, in the form of Sodium Hyaluronate that communicates with the deepest layers of skin.

Because of its various pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications, Hyaluronic Acid/ Sodium Hyaluronate is widely sought after, but are the methods of synthetic production ethical and sustainable? Traditionally, Hyaluronic Acid is extracted from animals, particularly rooster combs. However, with new technologies, it can be derived from plants such as tamarind, and artificial synthesis is made possible through bioengineering with enzymes and non-pathogenic.

 

How to Choose Your Baby's First Shoes

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Ready or not your mini-moi is about to become a walker. It’s an exciting developmental milestone for both parent and child. So along with clearing the way for your budding creeper, cruiser or full on walker you might want to carefully consider purchasing his or her first pair of shoes. 

Today, there are a plethora of shoes on the market, and you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the variety. But which ones are the best for supporting your mini’s growing feet?  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed recommendations to help you find your child’s first pair of baby shoes. These guidelines will tell you what types of footwear are helpful and won’t hinder your baby as they learn how to walk.  

The AAP says children learn to walk by gripping their toes on the ground, and they don't need arch support. While at home, leaving your child barefoot actually promotes natural foot development. On the other hand, uneven, hot, cold or rocky, surfaces are harmful , so shoes should be worn to protect their feet.

The AAP gives three specific tips to follow when shopping for your baby's first pair of shoes:

  1. Shoes should be lightweight and flexible to support natural foot movement.
  2. Shoes should be made of leather or mesh to allow your baby's feet to breathe comfortably.
  3. Shoes should have rubber soles for traction to prevent slipping or sliding. 

Many customers love our collection of Freshly Picked moccasins because of their quality unique designs and functionality. (The darling foot imprints serve as an endearing and timeless momento, too.) Freshly Picked moccasins are more than a stylish shoe, children who wear soft soles they learn how to walk in an advantageous position. Here we breakdown some benefits for early walkers.  

EASY TO WALK IN  

Contrary to what many people think, hard sole shoes can actually make it more difficult for your child to learn to walk because of how heavy they are. Lightweight soft soles, however, are much less likely to inhibit their ability to walk. Soft soles are special because they allow your child to extend their toes and grip the floor as if they were walking barefoot. Soft sole shoes can also help children improve their balance and coordination as they grow.

PROTECT BABY FEET

Babies’ sensitive feet need protection from things like rough surfaces, cold temperatures, or objects lying on the floor. Even a thin soft sole shoe can offer this important protection. This is especially important when your child is playing outside. 

Finding a soft sole shoe with a good fit can also prevent injury as your wobbly toddler learns to walk. Things like sneakers and flip flops can fall off or cause your child to trip, so look for soft sole shoes that fit securely. This is why Freshly Picked soft sole moccasins have an elastic insert around the top to keep the shoes secure no matter what.

Rose Gold Freshly Picked Moccasins

ROOM TO GROW 

Soft sole shoes are often roomier than hard sole ones and therefore allow your child’s feet to grow unrestricted. Soft sole shoes are also more comfortable for your child without depriving them of any sort of essential support.

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), says that the average child doesn't need shoes with “wedges, inserts, high backs, reinforced heels, special arches, and other features designed to shape and support the feet.” So there's no need to sacrifice that important comfort for your little ones for something more structured. 

Freshly Picked is a great choice for families with little walkers. Shop our soft sole collection here.

December 07, 2016

beauty ›   calendula ›   organic ›  


CALENDULA: Irritated Skin’s Best Friend

calendula

 

Just in time for the dawn of the Polar Vortex, CALENDULA, is found almost everywhere, from the wide open fields of Ontario to your carefully plated dinner. MARISA ROY reminisces about her childhood and shares why this orange flower is a powerhouse beauty ingredient.

Growing up with a homeopathic/alternative medicine enthusiast for a father, I was exposed to all kinds of holistic remedies as a supplement to conventional medicine. Being a particularly clumsy child who grew too fast for her own good, calendula was one of the most commonly used remedies for all my cuts and bruises, speeding up healing time and reducing the appearance of scars.

Calendula officinalis, also known as pot marigold, has been used in multiple different applications, from ornamental to cosmetic to culinary and beyond. Native to Western Europe, Southeastern Asia, and the Mediterranean, this annual plant grows bright orange-yellow flowers, which are harvested to create Calendula extract. The flower owes its colour to a high level of lutein and beta-carotene. As a remedy, it can be taken orally, but is more popularly applied topically as a cream or ointment I remember from my youth.

What properties in Calendula make it an amazing healing ingredient? Calendula was found to have powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, that help to protect cells from DNA-damaging free radicals. It has a long history of use by botanical physicians to aid the healing of open wounds and insect bites and is believed to have an antiseptic effect.

Because of its anti-inflammatory nature, Calendula is also integrated into various skincare products for its skin-soothing properties to help relieve skin irritations such as diaper rash, eczema and dermatitis.

Though some conventional research has been done into the quantitative properties of Calendula, more investigation is involved in order to understand further applications of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as to explore the antimicrobial potential of this cheerful little flower.

Keep scrolling to browse our Amélie & Max-approved Calendula products that are great for the entire family.

Wash with Water new line up

 

 

Kids Conditioner

 

Original Sprout Shampoo

 

Original Sprout Styling Balm

December 05, 2016


Parabens: A Toxicological Hot-Topic

 

 

Are parabens really bad for you?

Whether you talk to cosmetic chemists or creators of niche organic cosmetic brands everybody has an opinion on parabens. The world of beauty can be a fascinating and complicated industry, where many of the ingredients are unpronounceable and intimidating. Here, Beauty editor Marisa Roy digs deep to discover how and why parabens got a bad name.

Most of us are introduced to parabens through the phrase “Paraben-free” as advertised in bold lettering on the front of the packaging for many newer beauty products. So what exactly are parabens, why are they so widely used, and why should we be avoiding them?

Parabens, often occurring in products as methylparaben, butylparaben, and paraparaben, are a group of stabilizing agents used as preservatives to prevent products from spoiling and moulding. They are used in many cosmetic and personal care products, including make-up, moisturizers, hair care products, toothpaste, and shaving products. Health Canada states that they are generally used at concentrations of 0.3% or less and that, while synthetically produced for commercial use, parabens also occur naturally as preservatives in certain fruits such as blueberries and carrots.

Though allergic reactions (contact dermatitis) and increased sensitivity to UV exposure is possible, the biggest issue with parabens stems from a report that was published in 2004 by Dr. Philippa Darbre where she noted that there were parabens present in cancerous breast tumours.

This, complicated with the fact that parabens have a similar chemical structure to the naturally occurring female hormone estrogen and that an increase in estrogen has been correlated with breast cancer, caused concern that parabens were the cause of the breast tumours.

Dr. Diana Howard, The Vice President of Research and Development of Dermalogica, a respected skincare brand that prides itself on peer reviewed medical research, states that this report was “totally taken out of context” when this conclusion was made and that “there was never a causal link of the parabens and the breast cancer or the breast tumours.” Health Canada, and the U.S. FDA also maintain that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate the cause of breast cancer by parabens as a hormone disrupter, and there are currently no regulations involving parabens. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), the European Commission’s notably stricter FDA equivalent, suggests that the use of parabens at a low concentration is safe.

The American Cancer Society suggests that until there is more conclusive peer reviewed evidence, there are no clear health risks from parabens in food, drugs, cosmetics, and skin care products, but those with a “better safe than sorry” mentality may want to avoid them.

So, in short, further research is required to really demonstrate that parabens are harmful to the body the way they're used in products now. The question remains, though, that since we need preservatives in products to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, which are the safest ones? A whole host of alternative cosmetic preservatives exist, from the familiar (alcohol and salt) to the all-natural (extracts of rosemary and Vitamin C). However, as reported by Best Health Mag, it’s a challenge to find preservatives that are as cheap and effective as parabens. In an interview with microbiologist and paraben-free product producer Alain Ménard, he noted that parabens are mostly being phased out, but it’s moreso because of public outcry than it is conclusive evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 23, 2016

breastfeeding ›   pregnancy ›   sustainable ›   women's wear ›  


How to Choose the Right Maternity and Nursing Bra

Anita Maternity Bras

Did you know that about 85% of women are wearing the wrong bra size? That’s like almost everyone! And now that you’re expecting, you’re going to need a new —properly fitting— bra. If you’re debating over whether or not you actually need a maternity bra, consider this: during pregnancy your entire body changes.

The changes vary from woman to woman but good old metamorphosis has plans you. During the time that you are with child you’ll undergo a battery of hormonal shifts, weight gain, and later in pregnancy your mammary glands will prepare to make milk for your mini.

So how does fitting for a maternity bra differ from fitting for a regular bra? To find out, we spoke to Mark Caskenette of Anita Maternity to get his expert advice on how to choose a maternity and nursing bra.

How to shop for a nursing bra

1. Get the fit right

According to Anita, the 130-year-old German bra maker, there are two categories: pregnancy bras and nursing bras. Pregnancy bras are designed to help an expectant mom as her body changes and her breasts enlarge. The fabric has more stretch to accommodate her growing body, while providing optimized support and comfort for the breast tissue and skin. Without the proper support and stabilization tissue damage can occur including stretch marks. When you’re nursing, you’ll want a bra that’s agile, and Anita’s Kwik ™ nursing bras will do just trick because they are designed with a clip for easy opening and closing making breastfeeding with one hand easier.

2. Get the timing right

We’re not talking about when bras are most likely to go on sale, instead, you should start shopping for a nursing bra around the 8th month of your pregnancy. The second is making the mistake of buying one cup larger than your current bra size, which is contrary to conventional wisdom. When shopping for pregnancy bras, usually your current bra will work for the first trimester. After that, it’s critical to pay attention to how your body is changing before you purchase a new bra. Above all, it’s always best to shop at a specialty lingerie store, says Caskenette.

Tips for buying a maternity bra

3. Put it to the test

  • It’s very important that the fit the band is straight from the front to the back.
  • It shouldn’t arch for the perfect fit, nor be too loose. 
  • The clip should be on the largest opening, so it can be adjusted over time
  • Remember that the band may not be 100% comfortable due to the size of your belly, which will soon change!

Make sure the shape of the cup and how it supports the breast is comfortable and doesn’t require that you without exert any pressure to make it fit correctly, especially across the top and sides.This is especially important because can have an impact on milk flow. While you try on the nursing bra, look carefully at under the arm. Is it high enough? Is it cutting into your tissue or pressing hard on your breast? If the bra cuts in to your tissue or pressing hard on your breast you know you don’t have a good fit.

Quick Tip!

Bras that open and close easily with hand one are critical as baby in the other!

4. Make sure you have enough maternity and nursing bras?

Anita recommends three bras.You’ll need two nursing bras for the daytime and one night nursing bra.This allows time to wash bras and give them a days rest. You'll appreciate a night nursing bra because they tend to be lighter and more comfortable to sleep in. Plus there is the added bonus of breast milk leak prevention on your clothes and your bed. Lastly, having three on rotation will allow you to extend the life of your bras. As far as pregnancy bras go, Caskenette recommends a minimum of two bras.

Shopping for a maternity and nursing bra

5. Choose a sustainably made maternity and nursing bra

Bras are worn on the skin so the way your under garments are manufactured does make a difference because your skin is the body's largest organ. All of Anita's maternity products bear the Oeko-Tex certification, which is the highest standard of fabric certification in Europe concerning chemical-free fabrics. In addition to this, Anita manufactures 100% of their maternity products in house at their four company-owned factories.

This is a rare occurrence today as most companies outsource to reduce costs, however the company is focused on the control and accountability of their supply chain.  As a European company, they adhere globally to European human rights and employment standards, at all their facilities.

Breastfeeding mom

6. Buy a brand that practises the 3 R's 

Anita's manufacturing process is driven by the three R's:  reuse, recycle and reduce.  For example, they ship fabrics from their German head quarters to their factories around the world (when they can’t source locally) and ship everything in reusable collapsible plastic boxes, that are significantly longer than cardboard containers. They also collapse flat for any additional transportation needs. In fact, for the past six years they have eliminated the use of cardboard boxes.

Now that you know what you should be looking for, Happy Shopping!

EcoDiva Beauty