It's July 2016 and it's our birthday month! That's right. Apple Rose Beauty turns 1 year old on July 7th!
What better way to celebrate than to give gifts ;) This month your purchases will go even further as proceeds will be directly donated to non-profits fighting human trafficking, rescuing and rehabilitating victims.
Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting one of our freedom partners, sharing what they do and donating $5 from each full-size product purchased and $1 from each sample kit purchased, directly to them.
Also when you use the code for that week during checkout, you will receive a $5 coupon for future use in the mail with your purchase. Below is a list of the non-profits we are partnering with this month, the dates proceeds from your purchase will be donated to them and the code to use for the $5 coupon in the mail.
We've all heard the old adage about our bodies being 70% water and so we need to drink water to have healthy bodies. We've heard that water helps regulate our digestive system, prevents dehydration and makes us all around more healthy on the inside.
But what about on the outside? Does drinking water affect the way our skin looks and even more, does it actually help heal skin issues like acne?
Maria Del Russo with Refinery 29 did a little experiment and had some interesting findings. She drank a gallon of water a day for 30 days and besides frequent bathroom breaks in the beginning and higher energy levels she reported some interesting results as far as her skin goes.
What if you drank your facial cleanser? I am by no means advocating that you rummage through your bathroom and start downing your skin care products over ice but what we do everyday when we lather on lotion or serums affects us internally, not entirely unlike the way the food and drink we consume can affect us. Did you know that at least 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), while there might be some chemicals that are too large to enter the bloodstream, many are small enough to penetrate. What we put on our skin does not just remain on the surface. It gets absorbed and either helps us or harms us. Think nicotine patches and birth control patches – they are designed to be placed on the surface of the skin and deliver chemicals that are absorbed by the skin into the bloodstream to have the intended effect. Just like we consume food through eating, we basically consume chemicals in personal care products through our skin.
The FDA does not currently test or approve cosmetic products and many contain toxic ingredients that have been known to have negative health consequences – things like hormone disruption, cancer and severe allergic reactions. Since we don't have much federal oversight, it's up to those of us who are interested in consuming ingredients that are beneficial and healthy for our skin, to do our own due diligence to make sure that we protect ourselves and our families.
We are all on this journey to making more Sustainable, Healthy and Ethical (SHE) choices together. Kudos for SHE choices! Seeking perfection can be overwhelming and paralyzing so I want to make it easy for you. I would like to arm you with some practical tools you can use to begin making steps towards choosing healthier skin care products.
There are two things to consider as we make the shift to healthier skin care. The first is what level of exposure we have to the personal care product every day and the second is which chemicals have the potential to harm us most. By exposure I mean what products do we use the most often and which ones cover the largest surface area of the skin for the longest period of time. For example a hand wash that you use to clean only your hands and then quickly wash off constitutes less exposure than a body lotion that you baste all over your body and leave on for the entire day. It's more effective to begin by focusing on making shifts in products we have higher levels of exposure to. Identify lotions, moisturizers and serums that you use on your face and body every day that remain on the skin for long periods of time and consider replacing those with healthier options.
Once we identify which products we would like to replace, the second focus is to identify the most harmful chemicals to stay away from.
Here are my top five:
Parabens are preservatives found in many personal care products. They include methylparaben propylparaben and ethylparaben among others. Studies have shown that parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors. Estrogen exposure has been linked to breast cancer development and progression. While there is disagreement about whether the levels of Parabens found in skin care products is enough to cause cancer, I recommend that we err on the side of caution and avoid these altogether.
2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sufate is a surfactant used in thousands of cosmetics products. It's the ingredient that makes many of them foam. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) SLS has shown links to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ and reproductive toxicity and possible mutations and cancer.
The state of California and other authoritative bodies has classified phthalates like dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as a reproductive and developmental toxicant, and the European Union has banned the use of this ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products. Phthalates are sometimes not listed on the label but may be hidden in ingredients like “fragrances”. It's important to look for products that explicitly say they do not contain Phthalates.
4. Diethanolamine (DEA)
DEA is another ingredient used in personal care products to provide lather. The World Health Organization has found it to show limited evidence of carcinogenicity.
Fragrance may seem like an odd ingredient to include in my list of harmful ingredients. I am specifically referring to synthetic fragrances here or “fragrance” ingredients that are not listed as natural. The term fragrance can be used to mask a combination of toxic chemicals, some including the ones I've listed above.
No guide is complete with only a list of don'ts. Let's get to the fun part of safe and effective ingredients and SHE choices for skin care.
Do use products with the following: 1. Essential Oils & ingredients derived from natural sources 2. Wildcrafted ingredients – these are ingredients that have been grown in the wild without human intervention 3. Organic ingredients – these are ingredients that have been certified organic by the USDA
I hope you feel empowered and excited to begin a journey of wholesome personal care and skin care. If you've already begun the journey, I hope you feel inspired to kick the SHE shifts up a notch. What has been your perception or experience with natural skin care?
When it comes to aging beautifully and taking the best possible care of our health and skin, vitamin C is one of the best ways to go. Many people think that vitamin C is just something we take to get better when we have a cold or the flu. But this nutrient is oh so important to help us look great as we age and to keep our skin healthy and glowing. Here are a few of the benefits that vitamin C can provide and tips to get you started on making vitamin C a major part of your skincare and health routine.
Benefit #1: Collagen Production
Vitamin C is a nutrient that stimulates the production of collagen in the skin. Collagen is basically a skin plumper. Essentially, it is the part of our skin that makes our face look youthful and full. It reduces crows feet, wrinkles, and the sallow look that skin can have with age. Many of us know that Vitamin C is available in foods like oranges but did you know that there are amazing skin serums that are also rich in vitamin C? A serum applied to your skin that contains vitamin C will help trigger the production of collagen. Serums that contain naturally occurring Vitamin C like the one in Apple Rose Beauty's Bloom Beautifully 20% Vitamin C Serum are even more beneficial for the skin because they don't have the harmful side effects of harsh synthetic chemicals.
Benefit #2: Reduces Aging By Attacking Free Radicals
Free radicals are chemicals that can get in our body and on our skin that do damage to our healthy cells. Vitamin C helps our body's immune system function properly and at its best so it can fight off those nasty free radicals that can make us age faster. Eating foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, broccoli, and leafy greens can help ward off these free radicals.
Benefit #3: Keeps Your Hair Healthy
As we age, it can be more difficult to keep our hair looking moist and lustrous. Vitamin C can helps our hair grow and become stronger to prevent breakage and damage. Applying serums or products rich in vitamin C directly to our hair can kick that hair health factor up several notches.
Benefit #4: Improving Skin's Elasticity
As we age, our skin does not spring back into place like it once did. In other words, it does not remain taut against our underlying facial structure and as a result, we can get wrinkles and sagging skin. Vitamin C, both applied to the skin and consumed, can help improve our skin's elasticity and make it appear more taut and smooth.
Benefit #5: Nail Health
Brittle and easily broken fingernails are never pleasant. And as we age, our nails naturally become weaker. However, vitamin C can help remedy that problem. Vitamin C strengthens the connective tissues, blood vessels, and the skin that support nail growth and strength. Not to mention it also keeps bones healthy. Let's hear it for drinking orange juice and eating dark leafy greens to keep our nails strong and growing!
With these many benefits in mind, make sure you include generous amounts of vitamin C in your diet and skin care regimens. You can be sure to keep yourself healthy and radiant as you age with the help of this natural skin care hero.
Here's a quick recipe for a Vitamin C face mask!
Blend one kiwi and a half-cup of papaya, and apply the mixture to your face. After 15 to 20 minutes, wash it off with cold water.
Let's face it, we are all busy. As women whether we work outside of the home, are stay at home moms, are going back to school or entrepreneurs, we can all use some down time. What better time to practice self-love and pamper ourselves than during this season of love? Here are 5 No-Cost ways to pamper yourself this Valentines:
1. Light a candle and soak in the tub.
The scent of the candle and flicker of the flame will engage the senses for a relaxing time. No candles on hand? No worries. Boil slices of oranges and lemons to create a wonderful citrus scent.
2. Give yourself an at-home facial.
You can make amazing skin care products with the stuff that's already in your pantry. Make a quick face scrub with coffee grounds and olive oil, or try this wonderful avocado mask recipe at the end of our Cayenne Pepper acne fighting blog. Add to the spa feel with some soothing music while you lay on the couch.
3. Cozy up to your favorite movie with your beverage of choice.
Tea, coffee, wine? It doesn't matter. As long as you enjoy it and the movie makes you laugh, cry, dream or all of the above.
4. Dance with fuzzy slippers like no-one's watching.
Remember those days when you were in to pop culture and knew the latest songs and dance moves? Even if it's been a while, your favorite oldies song is just a click away on YouTube. I dare you to leave work a half hour early put on your favorite fuzzy slippers, blast that music and shake those hips down memory lane.
5. Dress up just because you can.
We all love those days when we can stay in pajamas all day. But doesn't it feel good to get really dressed up sometimes? Who cares if you have nowhere to go? Even if your husband and children are the only ones who see you, it will be worth it. Take selfies or better yet, get your family or girl-friends involved. Have them take pictures and turn it into a mini glamour shoot.
We hope you feel the love this Valentines. Enjoy the roses and chocolate but remember to take the time to love yourself.
"Remember that great love and great achievements involve risk" - Dalai Lama
People often ask me how I could leave a successful, decade long career in engineering and management to embark on a risky venture to serve survivors of human trafficking through Apple Rose Beauty. To be honest, in my low moments of doubt the question fleetingly crosses my own mind.
The answer is always the same, though. I was and am "compelled by love". For me it has always been a question of "how could I not do everything I know how to do to help save even a few?"
From the moment my heart was broken for the cause of human trafficking in Thailand when I met Apple, a young woman trapped in human trafficking, and where I lived for a month, teaching survivors English, I knew I would spend the rest of my life serving them and fighting for them.
On a cool, quiet Thursday night, crimes of all types unfurl on South Figueroa Street.
This is one of the main tracks for prostitution in Los Angeles, a strip where sex can be purchased from teenage girls on almost any given corner, where pimps, some of them gang affiliated, carefully guard their turf and property.
At about 200 blocks, most of them rough, the Fig, as it’s called, can hide a lot. In April it was hiding a 16-year-old named Stacey, missing since December.
She contacted a cousin on Facebook earlier that month, using someone else’s phone. She was with a pimp, she said. Then a big break: She called her mother from a blocked number, saying she didn’t know where she was and that she was scared.
As you know, Apple Rose Beauty was founded to address the crime of human trafficking, perpetuated mostly against women. Another crime that targets mostly women is domestic violence. But what many of us were unaware of was the link between this crime and animal abuse. According to a recent article by Huffington Post, there seems to be a direct link between occurrences of animal abuse and domestic violence.
"It is common for abusers to attack their victim's loved pets during the onset or the aftermath of incidents of domestic violence. In these cases, the abuser seems to be sending the message, 'See what you make me do?' But contrary to his claim that he 'lost control', or 'was provoked,' the abuser is actually attempting to exert control by choosing behavior that is designed to frighten, terrorize, or punish his partner. As one abuser, who had left his wife with two black eyes, once related when I asked if he had punched his wife, "No I would never hit her like a man!" If in fact, he really 'lost control', as he claimed, he would have been able to consistently choose his violent behavior, or to seek credit for slapping rather than punching his partner. One victim told me, "It's always my cat that gets kicked, never his."
The underlying logic of such violence is to punish his partner for her defiance by telling her, "That could have been you," or "You're next," or by proclaiming, "See what happens when you make me mad?" In these cases, pets are used as props for reinforcing the abuser's rules, whether these are explicit or implied. It is no accident that the abuser is targeting his partner's and/or his children's cherished pets. Injuring or killing a pet represents a step-up from damaging or destroying the victim's inanimate property."
Allure Magazine just came out with the "20 Funniest Beauty Memes Ever". I had to share this good laugh with you. Happy Monday, Hump day or whatever day you're reading this. Below are my favorites and the link to the article with the others :)
Funny how that happens!
It's the age of the selfie - they can come in handy.
I hope you enjoyed these. Check out the others on Allure's website here.
Just five years ago Alyssa Beck never thought she would be working in finance and administration at Rethreaded, a non-profit organization in Jacksonville, FL. Five years ago she was a victim of Human Trafficking. Today she is a survivor and shares her story to pave the way for other girls. Her goal? "To show them (survivors) that there is nothing to be ashamed of and it is possible to heal."
Rethreaded is one of the organizations that you support with your purchase of Apple Rose Beauty organic skin care. Your Apple Rose Beauty purchases support the fight to end human trafficking by providing life-giving work for human trafficking survivors and financial support for organizations involved in their rescue and rehabilitation. We partner with organizations around the globe to see true freedom brought to the lives of men, women and children trapped in this atrocious system of modern day slavery. We want to open your eyes to the impact you are making and share the amazing stories of lives changed by your support. This is the second story in our Survivor Story Series. See the last story here.
Ok, so Apple Rose Beauty has nothing to do with desserts, or anything edible for that matter - well other than the fact that our skin care formulations are made with natural and organic ingredients that may be food grade :). Apple and Rose were actually the names of two women caught in human trafficking that I met in Thailand ... but I digress. When a friend of mine posted this Baked Apple Roses video to my Facebook timeline I couldn't help but share it on this site! Seriously it's so creative and looks so yummy. Try it for the holidays and let me know if it's a hit with your family and friends!
As you know, your Apple Rose Beauty purchases support the fight to end human trafficking by providing life-giving work for human trafficking survivors and financial support for organizations involved in their rescue and rehabilitation. We partner with organizations around the globe to see true freedom brought to the lives of men, women and children trapped in this atrocious system of modern day slavery. We want to open your eyes to the impact you are making and share the amazing stories of lives changed by your support. So we are introducing our Survivor Story Series. Many of these stories will be told in the voice of the survivor as they have shared them with us.
Today we would like to introduce you to Jo. Jo is from Thailand and was rescued from a life of coercion and exploitation by one of our partner organizations in Thailand, Samaritan Creations. I (Kristy) have personally met Jo and worked alongside her at Samaritan Creations in Bangkok. She has one of the biggest, most generous hearts I have come across. When in the presence of her contagious smile and warm conversation, it is hard to imagine the hardships she has lived through and survived. But survived she has and she helps others as she lives and tells her story. Here's Jo …
"My name is Jo and I am 36 years old. Growing up, home was not a safe place. My father was an abusive alcoholic and gambling addict. Neither of my parents cared much for me or helped me grow up. I came to Bangkok for the first time after I dropped out of school in 6th grade. My first job was in construction. I worked long hours mixing concrete and carrying wood and metal around the construction site.
When I saw others my age who had happy lives with families who cared and provided for them, I felt so rejected by my own family. People would tell me how ugly I was which only added to my feelings of worthlessness.
I got married when I was 17. I thought he was the love of my life and that he would take care of me and our children. We were very poor so he went to work in Singapore, leaving me to take care of our three kids. He worked there for four years, returning once for a visit two years in. During that visit, I learned that he frequently visited prostitutes while he was in Singapore. By the end of his time in Singapore, our family was completely broken.
I started drinking, gambling, and sleeping with other men to cope. I thought I was justified since he cheated on me first. It did not take long for our relationship to end permanently.
I realized that, with all my gambling and drinking, I was not providing for my children as I needed to. I left them with my mother so I could go find work.
I went to Pattaya, a town in Thailand known for its bars and prostitution. The man who drove me there said he had connections and could get me a job, if I slept with him first. I worked at the bar that he brought me to for two and a half months, servicing men. I lived in the space above the bar with many of the other girls. It was miserable. It was so small and everyone was on drugs and addicted to alcohol.
Because I was so ugly, I made very little money at the bar. I sent almost all of the money back home to my mother and children. I was miserable. Every day before my shift started, I walked along the beach praying to the spirits in the trees. I begged for a better life. But the trees were silent.
I moved back to Bangkok, hoping to make more money there. I thought my life would be better there, but it only got worse. I could not get customers at the bars so I had to go to the streets which threw me in the path of the worst men. I would sleep with men who refused to pay me afterwards or with men who were horribly abusive and used me for their own sadistic sport. I wanted to leave the bars, but I didn’t have any other way to support myself or my family. I felt trapped.
One day a group from Samaritan Creations came and told me that they had a ministry that could help me. They would teach me to sew and make jewelry and pay me. I decided to accept their help. Shortly after, I left the bar and came to live and work at the organization. 9 years ago, God met me there and began to remake my life. I finally found the love that I had been looking for. For the first time in my life, I experienced the love of God and of people who wanted the best for me.
I was so broken and empty when I left the bar. I never thought I would find people who cared about me. I married a godly man and we have four children together. I plan to go back to my village to care for my aging mother and share Jesus with her and the rest of my village."
Jo has been working at Samaritan Creations for 9 years now. Her dignity is restored and her life is restored. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jo.