Toners – Their Uses, Benefits, and So Much More

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. I am slowly but surely drowning in homework (so much fun!)

Today’s post is on toners. I know, I know….

Why am I talking about toners?

Well, because not everyone understands what they are or what type they should be using for their current skin conditions. Don’t worry, I’m also in this group, I only figured out what toner I needed this past summer.

Toners are used right after cleansing but before serums/essences. They are used to add moisture back into the skin barrier.

In other terms, our society is obsessed with things that foam and having our skin squeaky clean. This is bad because using harsh surfactants disrupt the delicate skin barrier by getting rid of / shrivelling up the lovely microbes (the good bacteria that heals and protects you and your skin).

What do they do exactly?

Toners are water-based liquids with a very liquidy consistency that generally contain certain active ingredients and extracts. They are used to prepare the skin for the products coming after it. By using a toner, it balances the skin’s PH to a safer level and moisturizes skin so that it can also get rid of any last remnants of dirt, oil, or makeup.

They also soothe skin (or should) and contain large amounts of extracts and nourishing ingredients.

Think of it this way: You know when you’ve just woken up from a 6-8 hour sleep in the morning and you’re really thirsty? Think about eating a sandwich or something that is pretty dry without any water to help push it down. That’s what you’re doing to your skin when you skip toner and move on to your next product (unless you’re only using an oil cleanser).

What Type of Toner do I Need?

To be honest, toners differ and cater towards individual needs. But there are certain ingredients everyone should steer clear of.

Personally, I use toners that focus on hydration because that is what my skin lacks. Not in moisture, but in hydration.

Mature/ Dry/ Dehydrated skin: nourishing and hydrating

Sensitive: soothing

Normal: hydrating

Oily: Calming, relaxing

Either way, always look for something that is alcohol free because (more often than not) alcohol will dry out your skin and speed up the aging process (over time) and cause wrinkles and stress faster.

How to Apply

There are two ways of applying toners — either with a cotton round that you can swipe all over your face, neck, and chest (this is very important. Don’t forget about this other delicate places!)

You can also use your hands and pat it into your skin which will give you the full benefits of the toner as well as being absorbed quickly.

How often should I use it?

Generally, morning and night. If it’s a spray then use it whenever you feel like. Especially when your skin is dry. I also recommend doing a few layers of toner in the morning and at night for extra hydration that really sinks in. This practice is referred to as ‘skins’ and anywhere between two and six skins is great.

Do I need a Toner?

Depends on the type of cleanser you use and your skin concerns.

If it’s a foaming cleanser, don’t skip a toner because foam strips the moisture barrier and speeds up aging and attributes to other problems.

As long as the toner doesn’t have alcohol or mineral oil in it, there is no downside to a toner. They are used to restore skin moisture after cleansing and I really think they’re great.

Some of my favourites:

Make P:rem Hydrate Me Micro Essence Toner

Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner

Rose Water

Belif Bergamot Toner

I recommend the Make P:rem toner to everyone because it’s a hydrating toner and everyone can benefit from a little more hydration.

Do you use a toner? If so, which one?

The Essential Oil You’re Missing for Healthy Skin

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you’re all doing really well. Hopefully you don’t have the winter blues! In Toronto, it plus 7 Celsius. Not Fahrenheit. It’s so insanely warm some people are wearing dresses. It’s supposed to be winter.

Anyway, if you’ve been to my blog before, you know I absolutely adore grapefruit essential oil. In this post, I’ll be explaining exactly why I love it so much as is just as essential in ones arsenal as tea tree, lavender, and frankincense.

What is Grapefruit Essential Oil?

Grapefruit oil is steam distilled and made from the peel rather than the pulp of the fruit. It has a fresh and slightly sweet tangy smell to it.

So, why is pink grapefruit essential oil one of my top essential oils? Because it’s an awesome multipurpose oil. It’s a naturally beautiful oil with an insane amount of benefits that range from clear and balance skin, uplifting moods, and cleaning.

The Benefits

Balances Oily Skin

Because this oil contains limonene, it cuts the body’s sebum creation by adding a layer of moisture.

promotes weight loss

When you’re craving some snacks, diffuse this and inhale deeply. It’ll cut down your cravings while it excite your nerves.

Lymphatic support

Remember when I said not to dry brush your delicate boobs (if you have them)? Well, I suggest using grapefruit! It naturally supports blood circulation and releases toxins caught in the body (source). It also keeps breast smooth and plump as it slows the aging process through messaging the oil into this area (must be done daily).

Reduces depression

Have you ever deeply inhaled citrus fruits? They are instantly uplifting, taking the mind back to sunny, simpler days with happy thoughts. Whenever I need a good pick me up, I tend to put this in a diffuser mixed with frankincense or just take a few good whiffs straight from the bottle.

Natural Preservative

The essential oil and extract are great for prolonging a natural / homemade product’s shelf life. Because it is so high in antioxidants and limonene and citronellol, it can also enhance the product’s effectiveness. However, they are not full preservatives so it won’t make them last more than an extra month or so.

Glossy hair

Just like your face gets glowy and sooth thanks to antioxidants, your hair does too!

boosts immune system

When inhaled, vitamin C and citrus fight throat and respiratory infections and helps the liver detox the body.

anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial

Grapefruit is high in phytochemicals (source) that reduces stress and inflammation. It also contains properties that are antimicrobial and eliminate harmful bacteria. It’s soft enough to use topically (diluted with a carrier oil like tamanu) but tough enough to be used to clean your whole house!

How I Use it

I add this to at least one of my oils per routine. So it’s mixed in with raspberry seed oil for mornings and hemp seed oil for nights. I also use this in both of my body oils and homemade cleanser. And in my all-purpose cleaner. And I diffuse it. See? I use it for everything.

I love this and this but this and this are good ones too!

Of course grapefruit has other great benefits but these are the ones I really love and mention to friends and family. They also are the reasons why I keep buying it again and again. Hopefully you enjoyed learning about this essential as much as I had fun explaining it!

What are some of your favourite essential oils? I’m dying to expand my collection!

How to Get Healthy and Strong Hair with Natural Oils

Hello, everyone!

I hope your day is going well. I know mine is off to a great start. Finally got around to refilling my bottles and getting some post started for this site. Today is all about getting your hair into top shape to fight against this dry winter weather. But, in order to do that, we gotta make your day a little worse.

Did you know that hair products contain a lot of fillers and chemicals? This could be because since hair is essentially dead, it is easy to use one moisturizing ingredient (like shea butter or coconut oil) against many chemicals like synthetics dyes and Mineral oils. Moreover, drugstore brands are notorious for using large amounts of Cyclopentasiloxane (a silicon based compound that is an endocrine disrupter and increases organ toxicity (source)). Unlike certain alcohols that help with spread-ability on the skin, within hair care products they are bad.

Garnier’s Whole Blends Argan and Camilla oil $7:

1041707, PS3, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONOL, CAMELLIA OLEIFERA SEED OIL, ARGANIA SPINOSA KERNEL OIL, TOCOPHEROL, PARFUM / FRAGRANCE, LINALOOL, ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE, COUMARIN, LIMONENE, HYDROXYCITRONELLAL, CITRAL CITRONELLOL HEXYL, CINNAMAL, BENZYL ALCOHOL, BENZYL SALICYLATE, F.I.L. #D184855/1

This list was not easy to find and I can see why. The amount of crap in it is awful.

Let’s look at something a little more expensive. 

Moroccainoil Treatment Original $44

CYCLOMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE, ARGANIA SPINOSA (ARGAN) KERNEL OIL, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, LINUM USITATISSIMUM (LINSEED) SEED EXTRACT, CI 26100 (RED 17), CI 47000 (YELLOW 11). MOT01

The first and third ingredients are silicone based. Cyclomethicone has a low hazard rating on EWG while dimethicone has a low-moderate one, contributing to organ toxicity especially in high doses (like in this!). 

Hair care is expensive, but I am very wary of store bought oils because they tend to be packed with silicones and other fillers and very little real nourishing oils. 

Now, for the better day!

There are a few great natural oils that can be used as hair oils. Like most plant based oils, they are moisturizing yet these five specifically promote hair growth, leaves hair soft and shiny, and easy to detangle.

Oleic acid: Is a monounsaturated fatty acid. Fatty acids are the main components of food fats, oils and fat deposits in animals and man. Besides the work they do inside the body, monounsaturated fats like oleic acid are less susceptible to spoilage than some other fats, which makes them useful in food preservation (source).

#1 MACADAMIA Nut oil

This oil is probably the most well known of the bunch. Macadamia nut oil is bursting with monounsaturated fatty acids that are able to spread the oil throughout the hair from root to tip. As the oil is made up mostly of oleic acid (source) This oil reduces hair loss and hair breakage as it contains palmitoleic acid which is know to slow down the aging process. Macadamia nut oil also contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and linoleic acid.

The Benefits:

  • Reduces hair loss and improves health of hair
  • Revitalizes skin and hair (get that nice gloss)
  • Contains antioxidants to fight free radicals
  • Locks in moisture, tames frizz and strengthens hair follicles

#2 Tamanu Oil

If you are interested in buying Tamanu oil from this site, there are two different types: one from Vietnam and one from Madagascar. The only difference is the price; they are both cold-pressed and unrefined. I buy both but usually the Vietnam one because it’s cheaper.

Tamanu oil is probably my favourite oil. It is a cure all. I also recommend this oil above all else. While I love Rosehip, Tamanu can be used for rashes, wounds, pigmentation, hydration…just everything.

The oil is composed of phospholipids and glycolipids which are known to protect skin’s moisture barrier by creating a barrier over the skin to protect it (source). It contains tons of fatty acids and soothes dry scalp because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

The Benefits:

  • Protects the skin barrier
  • Tons of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (great for scalp burns and wounds)
  • Quickens the healing process and smooths out split ends and frizz
  • controls acne and hyper-pigmentation

#3 Babassu

Only a few stores actually use Babassu oil in their hair care which is sad because this stuff is amazing! Babassu is obtained from the kernels of the Babassu palm found in the southern regions of Brazil. Moreover, it contains a high content of lauric and myristic acids (source of antioxidants. Good in moderation only). Babassu oil is used as a substitute for coconut Oil because of their similar properties. It is a superior emollient for both dry and oily skin, and gently moisturizes the skin without contributing to an oily sheen (source). I really enjoy using this oil mixed in with my conditioner/co-wash and letting it sit for roughly twenty minutes to soothe my hair (source).

The Benefits:

  • Treats dandruff and split ends
  • Reduces hair loss
  • Soothes acne and eczema
  • Increases hair strength
  • Balances hormones

#4 Avocado Oil

Avocado Carrier Oil contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E, and Beta carotene. It is classified as monounsaturated oil and is used for topical skin application (source). Moreover, because of the large amounts of vitamins in this oil, it instantly revitalizes the hair and nourishes it throughout the day!

The Benefits:

  • Contains antioxidants which fight free radicals
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Quickens healing process of burns and wounds

#5 Broccoli Oil

I don’t think anyone knows about broccoli oil. It’s still a hidden jem. I also like putting this in my conditioner to give it a nice boost (source). Its excellent antioxidant profile makes broccoli Seed Oil an easy substitute for  silicones where the film forming activity results in a natural shine, and cuticle smoothing of the hair while preventing oxidation. This oil is light, non-greasy, and is easily absorbed into the skin (source). It also smells exactly like broccoli!

The Benefits:

  • Gives insane amounts of shine, more than any other oil
  • Known as nature’s silicone
  • Promotes hair growth and healthy hair
  • Controls frizz

Tip: I love mixing macadamia nut oil, broccoli seed oil, and babassu oil (mixed with kukui nut oil and some essential oils) into a bottle and using that as a pre-shampoo treatment. This oil mixture is great for clearing up built up grease, oil, and dirt. Also makes getting rid of dandruff a lot easier.

Nonetheless, If you have to choose just one oil, I would choose Tamanu because it’s an all around pleaser. However, specifically for hair, it would be broccoli seed oil. I just love it so much. I love broccoli.

Cleansers: How to Love Your Skin | Sincerely, Debbie

Hello everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the holidays, I know I am (tons of desserts and whiskey). This is another post on what skincare is and how to build a steady, consistent regime to aid in protecting the skin barrier and keeping these cells healthy.

What are cleansers?

Cleansers contain surfectants and cleansing agents such as cocamidopropyl betaine, a mild cleansing agent derived from coconut oil that can be found in cleansers in order to dissolve makeup, oil, and dirt. They are sometimes made from great ingredients from vegtables and fruits and some that have not so great ingredients like animal fats.  

The are two types – mild and harsh. 

Mild cleansers are moisturizing, generally contain plant extracts and oils to remove bad bacteria yet leave the good ones alone. They should have soft or no scents and should not be extremely foaming. 

Some great ones that I have used are-

Cosmetics: Glossier’s Milky Jelly, Goodal’s Super Seed Enriched Cleanser, Laneige Calming Gel

Natural: Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and my own homemade recipe (coming soon!). 

Harsh Cleansers are disrupters that are laced with strong fragrances and alocohols. They dry out the skin barrier by strippping it of natural oils and good bacterias. This causes clogged pores and congested skin because the glands overproduce oils to compensate the lack of moisture. Through time, acne and hyperpigmentation will increase and so will different skin conditions like sensitivity, eczema, and acne.  

I would stear clear of: 

Anything from St. Ives

Any cleansers that say oil controlling or made for acne and foaming (unless the ingredients show mild surfactants). 

What type of cleansers should you use?

Of course everyone should use only mild ones. A cleanser should only clean and moisturize the face, not leave it dry and tight. Moreover, a cleanser can only provide so many advantages yet can completely ruin the skin so all of those crazy claims, are just that-crazy. The only cleansers that can make a difference are oil cleansers because some residue of the oils lingers on the skin. 

A specific type of cleanser for the people with acne, oily skins, etc. is not needed so long as it cleans without stripping. 

Hopefully this helps if you are unsure on the type of cleanser you should be using. Remember, harsh is never the answer.

 

How to Create Your Own Natural Oil Cleanser

Let the record show that this is an old bottle and this is not how Boscia’s oil cleanser looks lie. What’s currently in it is my own recipe that works really well with my skin.

Oils are the best. No really, they are. Most oils moisturize, replenish, and protect the skin from free radicals and uv rays. There are also the super cool and super underrated oils which can do everything a popular oil can do and so much more (hello, tamanu oil!).

Oil cleansing is the only proven way to completely take off sunscreen since oils clean to the natural oils on the face and everything along with it. These also leave the skin smooth and supple, not drying or damaging the skin barrier.

I love making my own oil cleanser because I know exactly what’s going in it. Also because I am fortunate enough to be able to. I find that mixing roughly four oils together with some awesome essential oils like grapefruit and lavender it the way to go. Below I’ve listed the oils I use and some trusted sellers.

My cleanser is:

1/2 oz Hazelnut oil – This oil is amazing at unclogging pores and controlling sebum.

1/2 oz Avocado oil – Jam-packed with vitamin E, it reduces redness and heals wounds.

1/2 oz hemp seed oil – soothes redness with vitamin A and E.

1/2 oz jojoba oil – similar to the skin’s microbes, effectively removes makeup and dirt.

10-15 drops grapefruit essential oil – Natural preservative, also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Also smells amazing.

15-20 drops lavender – Reduces redness and quickens the healing process of wounds and pimples.

 

And that’s it! I don’t use tamanu oil in this cleanser because I find it needs more time on the skin since it’s slow absorbing. Hopefully you decide to create your own oil cleanser, it’s very simple and saves you money as you only need a bit of each oil and they last up to two years.

 

sincerely

How Important is a Skincare Routine?

Really important, actually.

One of the most important things the body needs is consistency. A routine that the body can conform and take from every day or every week, etc. Rarely do things work after a few times of use. Rather they take a lot of time and patience in order to see improvement, your skin especially.

Skincare routines are important as they continuously give your skin the vitamins needed in order for it to rejuvenate itself. Due to its many layers, the stable routine will slowly but steadily penetrate the layers and aid the skin.

Moreover, this is why it is essential to have both a morning and nighttime routine (even if it’s just three products each). Morning routines should be lighter and easily absorbed into the skin. It’s not fun looking like a grease ball during the day. At night, it’s all about restoring and repairing the epidermis due to free radicals, stress, and pollution.

Without a skincare routine, the percentage of bacteria and dirt clogging pores, large amounts of sebum creation, and acne–all things that suck.

Now, this doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to have a 10-step night routine (but if you’re already doing this and/or have the money to do so, then hey, go you!) It’s unnecessary because most of the products do the same things or do nothing at all.

A good skincare routine should include:

  • Cleanser 

It should be something super light and non abrasive.

  • Toner

Alcohol free toners are always best. They do not remove any of the good bacteria or strip your skin but toners should restore the skin’s natural PH. I love this hydrating toner from Make P:rem, a lovely Korean brand. 

  • Moisturizer

Lock in moisture and aid in protecting your skin. This doesn’t always have to be a cream, I really enjoy using oils on my face.

Top 5 Oils for the Face (and Why you Need Them)

 

Oils are your best friend. Or at least, they should be. With so many options, each high in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and other properties; they can aid your skin in any situation. 

In this post, I will tell you about some of my favourite oils to put on my face, and when I use them. Please be careful when buying oils–you always want something that is cold-pressed. This way, they keep all their good properties. Also, if you can, look for unrefined because this does not remove the colour, smell, and acids contained in the oils. 

1. Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip is first on my list because it has helped my skin for years. It was the first oil I have ever used and really got me into oils. 

As a natural derivative of vitamin A, it helps with pigmentation and general skin damage. This oil is pressed from the rosehip bush. The colour should be a beautiful reddish-yellow colour. It’s great for all skin types, especially mature skin and inflammation because it slows the process of wrinkles and redness. Because of its large amount of antioxidants, minerals, and acids–anyone can use and benefit from this great oil. 

Since rosehip is a dry oil, I love to use it in the morning. This stuff is pretty expensive, but it really does work. It’s amazing! I have tried a few brands but ultimately trust Kosmea Australia. If the oil doesn’t smell awful, it’s not pure rosehip. 

2. Tamanu Oil

If you have hyper-pigmentation or acne, this oil will be perfect. In all honesty, this oil is great for everything–cuts, rashes, bites, dehydrated skin, etc. I use Tamanu oil in my hair and all over my body.It’s just that good.

Tamanu oil is found in Vietnam from the Tamanu nut. It’s a powerhouse, completely covering scars, rashes, and wounds and in my opinion, is ten times better than coconut oil in about every aspect (except for consumption!).

Since it’s a viscous oil, it takes some time to sink into the skin which is why I usually only use it in my nighttime routine. Moreover, I actually buy a majority of my oils from a wholesaler because I use a large amount of them. But retail sizes can be found here.

3. Raspberry Seed Oil

If the smell or feeling of sunscreen does not sit well with you, raspberry seed is here to help! This oil is the only natural oil that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays with a minimum SPF of 28.

Bursting with fatty acids and vitamins, raspberry seed oil protects from free radicals the body is exposed to daily. 

As a natural sunscreen, I use this oil in conjunction with rosehip in the morning. 

4. Hemp Seed Oil

This oil is perfectly balanced and insanely moisturising. It’s great for consumption, roughly 70% is polyunsaturated fats and protects the skin’s outer layer. 

Hemp seed oil is so moisturising! I love using it in my morning cleanser (post on it coming soon). It’s perfect for dry winter nights like right now and also giving the chest area a little more love. 

Hemp seed oil contains omega fatty acids, protein, and even a little sun protection. The oil has a nutty smell to it, but has a deep green colour. It helps with the appearance of scars and if consumed, can boost the immune system. 

Depending on my mood, I use this oil day and night but generally during my night routine (I like to match colours). 

 

5. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is truly the best for mixing with other oils. Because it’s so mellow, and calming, it’s awesome to dilute essential oils like helichrysum and frankincense with. I absolutely love it.

As jojoba oil is noncomedogenic and the closest to our mimicking our skin, our bodies are more accepting towards this oil which makes it great for putting it on wounds. 

Generally, whenever I need a strong essential oil in order to get my body back into place, I dilute it with this. I also use it like crazy during the summer with some grapeseed oil. 

These are my top five oils that I consistently use on my face. What are yours?