What is "organic"?
Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Organic farming maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organic products are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the product’s integrity. At its most fundamental, organic farming co-exists with nature, sustaining the environmental resource base of our eco-system.
What is "certified organic"?
Certified organic means that the item has been grown according to the strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Inspections of farm fields, processing facilities, and soil and water sources ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the strict standards.
What kind of state standards is applied to organic products?
The California Organic Products Act of 2003, AB 2823, which was signed by Governor Gray Davis, assures consumers in California that the terminology used on non-food organic items, including organic personal care products; states the products contain a minimum of 70% organic ingredients. The botanicals used in Nature’s Gate Organics® are also grown in accordance with the California Organic Foods Act of 1990 or are certified organic by Quality Assurance International.
What is the process used to create the Hydrosols that are used in Nature’s Gate Organics products?
Hydrosols (floral waters) are created during the process that is used to make essential oils. The procedure begins with certified organic botanicals that are placed within an enclosed steam distillation tank. The botanicals consist of all the vital plant components and may include flowers, petals, stem and leaves. As hot steam is forced through the plant material, the precious bio-actives (the essence of the plants’ beneficial properties) are captured. The steam is condensed and cooled and the oils are separated from the remaining botanically infused waters. These precious waters, hydrosols, contain the fundamental nature of the plants themselves, making them highly effective when used in personal care products.
Is organic really better?
Organic products are spared the application of toxic and persistent insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. In the long run, organic farming techniques provide a safer, more sustainable environment for everyone.
What is the difference between Organic shampoos and commercial shampoos?
First of all, Organic shampoos do not contain sodium laureth sulfate(SLS), a strong foaming agent found in commercial shampoos. SLS is a skin irritant and can dry out your scalp and hair.
Secondly, Organic shampoos do not contain silicone wax(Dimethicone etc) that commercial shampoos use to coat hair shaft to make it smooth and soft. Accumulation of silicone wax on the scalp may cause flaking and itching. Your hair shaft may appear to be smooth when coated with the silicone, but may be brittle and dry underneath the wax. The true condition of your hair will be revealed when you use the Organic shampoo for 2 – 3 weeks.
Thirdly, Organic shampoos contain nutrient-rich botanicals to nourish your scalp and hair. Commercial shampoos may contain some natural ingredients but are often very minimal in volume.
I have itchy & sensitive scalp. I have tried many brands of shampoo and nothing works for me. What causes the itchiness and is there any way to get rid of it?
The itchiness is normally due to either bacterial infection or dry flaky scalp. Most commercial shampoos contain silicone wax to smoothen the hair, but the wax residue often accumulates on our scalp. Perspiration beneath the wax residue is susceptible to bacteria growth. When we scratch, the bacterial infection will cause your scalp to feel itchy and sensitive. The best solution is to use the Lavender & Aloe shampoo to clarify your scalp and to let the healing properties of Lavender and Aloe nurse your scalp to health. If the itch is quite unbearable, possibly due to the bacterial infection, you can also alternate with Tea Tree & Blue Cypress shampoo to let the antiseptic properties of Tea Tree get rid of the infection without drying out the scalp.
If you have dry, flaky scalp, you can use Tea Tree & Blue Cypress shampoo to reduce the flakes, and moisturize your scalp.
I have weak and sensitive scalp and experience hair thinning. Hair expert said that there is nothing they can do about it except to keep my hair short. Will using organic products help?
Organic products help, as they are made with organic botanical extracts that are nourishing, moisturizing and gentle towards scalp and hair. Organic products are also free of harsh chemicals and silicone wax.
How do I know whether I have a normal or dry or oily scalp?
If your scalp feels oily and greasy by the end of the day, and you have to wash it once or more to feel comfortable, then you have oily scalp. You can use Victorian Emerald Cypress, Lemongrass and Clary Sage, Mandarin Orange & Patchouli
If your scalp feels oily and greasy only after 2 days, it’s normal. You have normal scalp.
If your scalp is usually flaky, and seldom feels oily, you have dry scalp.
Healthy scalp, healthy hair
Do you suffer from
sensitive and irritated scalp?
Itchy and flaky scalp?
Sensitive and irritated scalp can be due to internal and external factors. External factors often include the use of hair shampoos that contain strong detergents like Sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate(also know as SLS/SLES) and perfume (also known as parfum). If you suffer from sensitive and irritated scalp it would be best to avoid shampoos that contain these ingredients. An irritated scalp is not conducive for promoting new hair growth. Organic extracts soothe your scalp with Horsetail, Chamomile and Yucca in SLS-free shampoo.
Many shampoos contain wax or silicone (also known as dimethicone, amodimethicone or copolymers etc) to give hair a smooth texture. The silicone or wax that coats the hair shafts, hides the true condition of the hair, giving it glossy appearance while the hair may be dry and brittle beneath the wax. It also leaves films of wax residue on the scalp, causing bacteria to breed underneath it. As the scalp cannot breathe freely, it can cause fungus growth on the scalp resulting in itchy scalp, and the weakening of hair roots will lead to increase in hair loss. Clarify your scalp with the plant essences of certified organic Lavender, while organic Aloe Vera, Yucca, Horsetail and Burdock moisturize your hair and bring back natural body, bounce and luster.
Shampoos for oily hair tend to contain strong detergents, which will stimulate the scalp to produce more sebum making the hair oilier. Excessive build up of scalp oils, sebum and toxins create thin, brittle, weak hair. Use SLE-free organic shampoo that contains botanical extracts like Victorian Emerald Cypress, Rosemary and Nettle to correct the scalp condition nourish hair follicles.
The above 3 conditions will affect the health of your scalp, which will in turn affect growth of new hair, and may even result in hair loss. It is difficult enough to control internal factors like our general health condition and stress levels. Controlling the external factors like using haircare with certified organic botanicals is the least we can do for our body.
*Organic ingredients are grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers.
Organic products are minimally processed without artificial or preservatives.
How to read the ingredients on the labels?
Ingredients listed on labels must be listed in descending order in relation to quantity. This means the first ingredient listed indicates the greatest amount, and the last indicates the smallest amounts.
Skin Care Basics
Healthy, beautiful skin is possible to achieve, but elusive to many. Despite the myriad of advertisements claiming that one cream or one product can give you the smooth, clear, wrinkle-free complexion that most people hope for, skin care is in fact a complex process grounded in real science and human physiology. Many factors contribute to our need for skin care products, so abstaining altogether from them is not healthy for our skin either. Healthy skin begins with a basic knowledge of your skin type, and how to keep it clean, nourished and protected throughout the year. It also requires a consideration of our overall diet and nutritional status.
There are four basic steps to successful skin care: cleansing, toning, moisturizing and special needs such as make-up. Our skin types are genetically determined, but can vary depending on the following factors:
environment, such as climate change or pollution
stress or anxiety
cosmetics and skin care products
illness or trauma
hormone levels, such as during puberty, pregnancy or menopause
degree and length of sun exposure
To determine your overall skin type, use this simple blot test. Press one ply of a dry tissue onto your face for ten seconds, then remove and examine the results. Balanced skin is damp with no traces of oil. Dry skin has no oil or moisture residue on the tissue. Oily skin has left oily and possibly dirt traces on the tissue. Combination skin has oily and dry marks on the tissue.
This skin type is characterized by:
dry, flaky patches and is easily chapped
feels tight across the forehead, cheeks and chin
itchy and easily irritated
can appear powdery or scaly
prone to fine lines and wrinkles
Dry skin is a result of decreased sebum production, the skin's indigenous oil, which is important in keeping the skin moist and lubricated. Consequently, this skin type has less of an oily barrier, allowing water to evaporate easily through the skin. This process can be worsened by detergents, heating or air conditioning, pollution, inadequate skin care, certain chemical ingredients in cosmetic products, overexposure to sun and wind and overuse of soaps and alcohol-based products.
Helping to 'restore' dry skin involves protecting the skin with creamy, oil-based products and avoiding harsh soaps, scrubs or products which contain alcohol.
This skin type is characterized by:
acne spots and comedones (blackheads)
tendency to repel and run make-up
resistance to fine lines and wrinkles
Oily skin is the result of excessive secretions of sebum. It can be exacerbated by poor health, or a diet high in saturated fats and sugar. Emotional upset or stress can also trigger more sebum deposits on the skin. Oily skin is worsened by hormone level fluctuations, alcohol-based products and harsh soaps, both of which dry out the skin, thereby activating the oil glands to produce more sebum. Comedogenic ingredients, such as mineral oil and other ingredients which are derivatives of petroleum block pores and can lead to acne spots.
Regular cleansing aids in the removal of bacteria and waxy oils from the pores. Oily skin responds well to alcohol-free toner and a lightweight, natural moisturizer.
This skin type is rare, and is characterized by:
a creamy colour
few irregularities or blemishes
an even distribution of the skin's natural oil
dryness with age
Balanced skin is worsened by many of the same factors which can afflict other skin types.
Most people have combination skin, with oily areas focused around the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Other areas of the face can at the same time be very dry.
Sensitive skin is not a skin type, but rather a skin condition which has developed from a skin type. Anyone can develop sensitive skin, often due to hormonal changes caused by menopause or pregnancy. This condition can also develop from allergies to cosmetic ingredients, foods or environmental factors. Many ingredients made from animal products, petroleum or synthetics are known allergens for the skin.
The characteristics of this skin condition are:
blotchy, reddened skin
high cheek colour
itchy, easily irritated skin
chaps and burns easily
prone to break-outs and rashes
This condition is worsened by ordinary soap, synthetic, animal or petroleum-derived ingredients, astringents, harsh exfoliants or drying masks, extreme temperatures and climate changes. Use only mild, soothing formulations on sensitive skin. If an adverse reaction occurs to any product, such as a burning feeling, discontinue its use immediately.
Climate Change and Skin Care
Healthy skin is slightly acidic, due to the acid mantle which covers it. The acid mantle is a combination of sebum and perspiration designed to protect the skin from the environment. Each day we lose 850 ml of water through perspiration, so drinking water is helpful to replace this lost fluid. During hot weather, water loss is more rapid, and humid conditions accelerate water loss through the skin as the body attempts to cool itself. As a result, sebum production increases, collecting on the skin and clogging pores. For many, this process results in breakouts, so regular cleansing with a mild cleanser is recommended.
Any skin care discourse which does not include a discussion of nutrition is lacking a fundamental principle of healthy skin care. Good health and beauty are synonymous. For instance, a clogged and spotty complexion can be linked to a diet high in saturated fats and sugar. Sensitive skin may become worsened by poor digestion or inadequate absorption of nutrients. Dry flaky skin may reflect a diet low in fatty acids or vitamin E. Skin that does not heal quickly may be low in vitamins A, B6, C or zinc.
A healthy, varied diet helps the skin defend itself against infection, cell damage and premature aging. Increasing your daily intake of fresh, raw vegetables and fruit adds vitamins, antioxidants and water to your diet, all essential elements for healthy, glowing skin.
Beautiful, radiant skin is within everyone's reach. Knowledge of your skin type and how to care for your skin using all natural cosmetics, combined with a diet rich in fresh, wholesome foods will help you achieve the skin you have always wanted.
Why we should use a facial toner
The basic daily skin care regime comprises of 3 simple steps:
Most of us would cleanse our faces because we can’t stand the grease and dirt on our faces. We also moisturize because we find our skins dry and taut, especially if we have used a foaming cleanser that is too harsh for our skin. In other words, most of us conveniently skip the toner and go right to the moisturizers.
However, the benefits and uses of a good toner cannot be under emphasized. The reasons for using a toner can be classified as follows:
Removal of residue and dirt – Toning will remove remaining traces of dirt or residues of cleansers. Saturate the cotton pad and sweep gently across the face, avoiding the eye areas. Toning will also remove chlorine and the metal residues found in tap water that may clog pores.
Tightening of pores – The astringent effect of a toner will help tighten the pores of the skin after cleansing. Over production of sebum (in the case of oily skin) will result in enlarged pores. A good toner will remove excess sebum will tightening the pores and reduce excess production. However, do not use a toner with alcohol and strong witch hazel as it may strip the skin dry and stimulate even more sebum production.
Balancing the pH – Our skin has a slightly acidic mantle that protects our skin. This acidic layer is antibacterial and is washed off after cleansing. It takes some time before the skin is able to adjust back to its normal pH. Hence, a good toner (which is slightly acidic) will help balance the skin’s pH back to normal, restoring the antibacterial protection. It is good practice to tone the face every time you wash your face, whether with cleanser or just water.
Hydrating the skin – This may surprise some of you, but a good toner is meant to hydrate your skin and prepare it to receive your moisturizer or serum. The best time to apply your serums and moisturizers is after toning when the skin is still a little damp.
During the in-between times, say about 2 –3 hours after you have cleansed your face, you have not gone out or applied make up, but the skin feels a little oily, just gently sweep the toner saturated cotton pad to remove excess sebum and feel refreshed.
Select a good toner that does not contain alcohol that strips your skin but contains botanical extracts like Rose water or Aloe Vera to tone and hydrate the skin. Look for toners that are suitable for your skin types.