Hospital Bag Essentials for New Moms

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My little girl made an early entrance into this world and I did not have a hospital bag ready for when I went to the birth center at the hospital.  Thankfully, my husband and my sister came to the rescue with everything I needed for what ended up being a 2 week stay with both bed rest and my daughter in the special care nursery.  Comfy pjs and my body pillow from home made sleeping in a hospital bed much more comfortable.  The hospital provided all of the basics, but it was really nice having some of the comforts of home as well as my own toiletries.

Some of the beauty products that I was so thankful to have with me include:

–  Dr. Bronner’s Soap

–  Pureology Shampoo

–  MARIA ÅKERBERG Baby Oil

–  MARIA ÅKERBERG Lip Care Vanilla

–  MARIA ÅKERBERG Cleansing Cream

–  Burt’s Bees Cleansing Cloths

–  Kores Tinted Moisturizer and Undereye Concealer

Adjust Your Winter Skin Care Routine

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As the weather continues to get colder, it is even more important to pay attention to your skin’s needs.  Dehydration and chapped lips can be kept away by choosing products that can better protect you from the cold.  It is a good idea to use an organic product line that is free of harsh chemicals and preservatives that can be damaging to your skin.  At Balans, we use MARIA ÅKERBERG Deepskin Organics from Sweden.

Hydration is essential for a healthy complexion.  Due to dropping temperatures outside and having to crank the heat indoors, many people experience flaky skin and dry lips in the Winter.  This time of year, it is helpful to use a thicker moisturizer.   For sensitive and dry skin try Face Protection by MARIA ÅKERBERG.  It contains chamomile which is soothing and can help heal dry patches.  They also have an amazing vanilla lip balm that helps keep lips soft and supple, Lip Care Vanilla.

If you are not already using facial oils, balms and masks, now is the time to start!  Facial oils help maintain balance and restore your skin’s natural production of oil.  Balms also deliver the healing properties of essential oils to treat your skin but are thick so I prefer to use them at night.  Masks are also a great way to deliver healing ingredients directly to your skin.  There are many to choose from, so look for ones high in antioxidants.  Some products from this line that work particularly well during winter months are Olive Cleansing, Royal Facial Oil Rose,  Face Balm Neroli and their Eye Balm.

These products can be purchased in the online store at http://www.bostonbalans.com, or you can call Balans at 617-450-8333 to schedule a facial and I will customize a routine for you.

The Dangerous Truth About Cosmetic Ingredients: What’s Really in Your Makeup Bag?

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The other day, I was having tea with my good friend, Megan Graham of Megan Graham Beauty on Newbury Street and she asked me what kind of makeup I use. At first I thought this was just simple girl talk, but then she explained that she was concerned about the chemicals in the products she was currently using. The truth is that since leaving my salon job a year and a half ago to join the wellness team at Balans, I really haven’t been using much! That need to “put my face on” is not as strong for me these days as it was for me during those years at the hair salon. I am glad that she asked me because now, more than ever, I am aware now of my environmental footprint and what ingredients I use on my body. Since working with the line MARIA ÅKERBERG Deepskin Organics, I have learned a lot about how important sourcing of ingredients is. This definitely applies to skincare products, but perhaps even more so for makeup. There are a myriad of nasty chemicals lurking in most popular cosmetic brands.

I have compiled a list of 5 of the most dangerous ingredients:

Benzyl Peroxide, Parabens, Sulfates, Silicone and Mineral Oil.

1.  Benzyl Peroxide– This is a popular ingredient in many acne products despite being and eye, skin and respiratory irritant.  It produces DNA damage and may act as a mutagen.

2.  Parabens–  These are highly regulated in Europe because there is evidence that they interfere with hormone function and are endocrine disruptors.  They are widely used in the USA, and other parts of the world as preservatives even though they are known to be toxic.  You may be surprised by how many products you already have contain parabens.  Look out for methylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben and ethylparaben.

3.  Sulfates–  This ingredient is found in everything from car wash, to personal care products, especially shampoo.  Although a known irritant, it is widely used to make products foam. Look out for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). 

4.  Silicone– This ingredient is derived from Silica (sand) that has been chemically processed.  In Europe it is classified as an endocrine disruptor. This is a popular ingredient in eye shadows, eye liners, liquid foundation, lipstick and powders used to increase water resistance and to make it spread easier.  Look out for dimethicone and siloxanes.  

5.  Mineral Oil– This ingredient is derived from petroleum just like motor oil and interferes with the body’s natural ability to breathe and release toxins. It is used in many creams and personal care products.  Sadly, Baby Oil is 100% Mineral Oil.  Stop using it!  it is no good for you or your baby.  Besides clogging your pores, it is also linked to Cancer.    

Why Choose Organic Skincare?

 

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When choosing what products to use on your skin, quality of ingredients matters. It is often times not enough to trust words like, “natural”, “pure”, “green”, “eco-friendly”, “not tested on animals”, “botanical extracts” and “sulfate free”. This is because often times, there are still harmful chemicals and preservatives such as parabens and petrochemicals lurking in the products. The regulations in Europe are much more strict about what ingredients go into products, especially those labeled “organic”.

Balans is excited to be the first in America to carry the organic Swedish skin care line, MARIA ÅKERBERG. These products are of the highest quality. They offer face and body products for both men and women. It is our goal at Balans to educate our clients and increase awareness about the ingredients in the products they choose so that they can understand what they are using on their skin. The ingredients used by MARIA ÅKERBERG are based primarily on organic raw materials using cold-pressed vegetable and essential oils as opposed to mineral oil and silicone.

MARIA ÅKERBERG chooses to use vegetable oils because they are better for delivering essential fatty acids and vitamins to the skin. Your skin is your largest organ and readily absorbs product applied topically. Mineral oil is difficult to break down and sits on the surface of the skin. The company states that it does not use either mineral oil or silicone in their products as “it (silicone) is suspected of being bioaccumulative, it can also form formaldehyde on degradation”.

So what does this mean for you the consumer? We are all responsible for what we consume. For those of you wishing to create a positive environmental impact, I encourage you to choose organic not only when buying foods, but beauty products as well. Recently, the negative effect of the pollution caused by plastic “micro-beads” on our country’s Great Lakes has been in the news. Instead choose an exfoliant made with salt or sugar. For body, try MARIA ÅKERBERG’S Salt Scrub Energy. For face, try the Papaya Peeling. Steer clear of any synthetic ingredients in the products that you choose because the quality and sourcing of ingredients matters.