LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "natural skincare"

Spring Ahead! Why It’s Time to Freshen Up Your Skin-Care Regime

For my mother and grandmother and generations of Romanian women before them, the first day of spring has always signaled an important transition in their natural skin-care regimes. According to our Old World beauty traditions, the season of planting and cultivation is also the perfect time to concentrate on nurturing and renewing our skin.

Spring Training for Your Skin

As members of a culture strongly in tune with the rhythms of natural world, Romanian women believe in shifting the focus of their skin routine in synchrony with the changing seasons. After our wintertime exfoliation program, has sloughed off the accumulation of dead cells on the skin’s surface, we turn or attention to the delicate new skin cells that have emerged. Like the tender young seedlings in our spring garden these new skin cells require a strength-building diet to achieve and maintain robust health.

The Care and Feeding of Skin Cells

According to recent scientific research, a diet rich in superfoods, such as blueberries, nuts and seeds, green and white teas, avocados, and peppers, can help prevent premature aging and restore healthy cellular functioning in all the tissues and organs of the body, including our skin.

Superfoods That Perfect Form and Supercharge Function

The same amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that we consume to boost skin cell health from within can also beautify and strengthen our skin from the outside. Skin care products made from certified organic extracts and natural plant-derived ingredients are a safe, effective solution to the damage that environmental stresses and the passage of time inflict on our complexions. In my upcoming posts, I’ll discuss some the specific nutrients that will help you not only shape up your skin for spring but also keep it in the pink all year-round and at every age.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net







Green Sugar Part 1: Are All Sweeteners Created Equal?

Sugars and Sweeteners

Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

Physicians, diet experts, and beauty gurus agree: refined sugar is the enemy of graceful aging. If you want to stave off wrinkles, weight gain, fatigue, and age-related diseases, then start by replacing all those empty calories you consume with real nutrition.

A Sweet Life After “White Death”

While this anti-aging prescription might sound like a bitter pill to swallow, a spoonful of nutritional awareness—and a trip to your local Asian market or health food store—can make it a lot easier to take. Today’s expanding green marketplace offers a number of naturally delicious plant-derived sweeteners that ancient holistic traditions and emerging scientific research suggest are not only far less toxic to our bodies than refined sugar, but even beneficial to our health.

The Beauty of Whole-Food Sugar

As for the old saw that sugar is sugar regardless of what you call it, there’s a good deal of evidence that throws that nutritional wisdom into question. Although the jury is still out on claims that honey, molasses, and their more exotic counterparts release energy into the bloodstream more gradually than refined sucrose and high-fructose corn, scientific research does suggest the effect of minimally processed sugars on blood glucose levels is balanced by their green bonuses.

Not only do the simple cooking methods used to produce these more complex sugars leave most of their nutritional content intact—heat derivation is a far safer than chemical extraction. Obviously, the phosphoric acid, sulfur dioxide, and bleaches used to manufacture those sparkling white granules and crystal-clear syrups are anything but pure and innocent.

Why Less Isn’t Always More

But what about no- or reduced-calorie sugar substitutes like aspartame? Confirmed waist-watchers who think artificial sweeteners are the best way to avoid empty calories should consider the other negatives of sugar’s synthetic cousins. From headaches and other side effects to increased risk of cancer and neurological damage, the numerous health hazards of nonnutritive sweeteners are hardly a positive alternative to white sugar’s potentially deadly effects.

And while these chemical concoctions only remind of us of sugar, the traditional Asian sweeteners I’ll discuss in my upcoming spots add a deep, rich flavor that may even surpass it.

The Truth About Green-Speak & Organic Anti-Aging Treatments

Lavie Organique Products in Basket

Lavie Organique Products in Basket

Is today’s greener beauty industry walking a new walk? Not according to consumer advocacy groups. Apparently most “green” cosmetic companies continue to play fast and loose with the facts—they’re just cloaking their deceptions in more politically correct language.

As a holistic skin-care provider and educator, I’m highly aware of the challenges my clients face in trying to see through the seductive camouflage of Earth-friendly hype. My concern with this issue was one of the reasons the producers of Lifetime’s Balancing Act thought their environmentally aware viewers would connect with my approach to natural skin care and organic anti-aging treatments.

Like my client base, the show’s target audience comprises a highly educated and influential consumer demographic. This generation of green consumers shares their predecessors’ disenchantment with corporate misbehavior, as well as their activist spirit. But today’s burgeoning green marketplace has a lot more financial clout. And with so many more products options available, these economically empowered green shoppers can afford to be demanding.

Unfortunately, the slickest hucksters in the beauty industry keep coming up with clever new ways to fool the public. Even smart green shoppers who religiously read the label of every product they buy can be taken in by fuzzy terminology and deceptive language.

Take the word organic, for example. It certainly sounds safe, healthy, and pure. But in fact, organic can mean whatever manufacturers want it to mean, including “containing crude-oil derivatives”! The reason? As long their “organic” ingredient is a “carbon-based chemical,” it meets one of the half-dozen or so dictionary definitions of the o-word—and as a result, cunning corporate wordsmiths are legally entitled to use it.

That’s why consumers who prefer to protect their skin from potentially toxic ingredients should look for a statement confirming their beauty products are 100% free of petrochemicals, parabens, and other synthetic ingredients. The term certified organic offers additional quality assurance, because it indicates that the product contains plant-derived extracts that have been grown and manufactured according to strict third-party standards.

And don’t be surprised if a label or product description doesn’t clearly specify every single ingredient. You may need to do some online sleuthing to get the whole story.

Never settle for anything less than total transparency, accountability, and commitment to quality, safety, and effectiveness. You–and your skin–deserve the best of everything in holistic beauty and health.

Coming Soon to Lifetime TV…

This week’s mail delivery included a wonderful surprise package that I can’t wait to share with you: a preview of my upcoming appearance on Lifetime TV’s popular morning program The Balancing Act.  This lively, informative show is dedicated to introducing women to lifestyle options that empower their total well-being and success.

I was invited to speak to viewers about my approach to anti-aging skin care after one of the show’s producers came across the Lavie Organique™ Web site. “Your commitment to balanced, holistic treatments and organic ingredients really spoke to us!” she said. “Helping women achieve health, harmony, and success in every aspect of their lives is what our show is all about.”The people I met during the filming of my segment in Lifetime’s Florida studios couldn’t have been nicer—and best of all, their concern about the total health and wellness of their audience proved to be as genuine as my own.

My conversation with a Balancing Act senior producer was particularly telling. As a beauty-industry veteran, her eyes had long been opened to the relationship between what goes on in company boardrooms and what happens in cosmetic labs and manufacturing facilities. “Most cosmetic companies care a lot less about the art and science of beauty,” she said, “than they do about profits.”

Her words could’ve come from my own mouth. In the wake of so many product scandals, buyers have good reason to beware of companies that cut corners and inflate claims to fatten their wallets.  But figuring out which products can be trusted isn’t always as easy as it looks—especially when it comes to the increasingly diverse options entering today’s “green” marketplace.

The current controversy over the safety of the Toyota Prius is a case in point. Of course, the merit of the class-action lawsuit against Toyota is still undetermined, but as a recent New York Times article notes, the marketplace repercussions–for Toyata and the hybrid car industry as a whole–are already undeniable. Clearly, many green consumers are frustrated, angry, and confused.

This rising tide of consumer uncertainty is what makes The Balancing Act such a timely show. Its mission. like my own, is to help you choose safe, environmentally friendly products and holistic lifestyle practices based on facts–not hype,  I’ll have more to say about this topic and  in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, you can see a preview of my Balancing Act segment on natural and organic skin care below or watch it at Lavie Organique™ .

Rosemary: The Scent of Ageless Health and Beauty

I designed the elegant scent of my Lavie Organique professional skincare products to capture the essence of my balanced, synergistic approach to radiant health and beauty. Just as my special blend of natural and organic extracts works together to restore equilibrium to overstressed skin, the different fragrance notes that scent my proprietary formulas blend in perfect harmony to soothe and refresh your spirit.

Natural Ingredient in Lavie Organique

A Natural Ingredient Found in Lavie Organique

Rosemary leaf (Rosemarinus officinalis) extract lends a tangy evergreen note to the scent of my plant-based formulas—and the healing properties of a time-honored folk remedy. Aromatherapists still treat stress and fatigue with its fragrant leaves, but its medicinal properties been revered throughout history. Ancient Romans believed rosemary improved memory and traditional herbalists have been cooking up rosemary teas to treat headaches and digestive disorders for centuries. Medieval Europeans relied on rosemary to freshen breath and to keep meat from spoiling. In fact, its effectiveness as a natural preservative is borne out by its presence in the tissues of Egyptian mummies that have lasted for thousands of years.

With a history like that, it’s not surprising that today’s scientists are searching for the facts behind rosemary’s fabled reputation. Researchers have discovered that rosemary is not only a natural antiseptic, but also a diuretic that reduces swelling, as well as a possible cancer fighter and liver stimulant. The same anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, such as carnosol and caffeic acid that make rosemary a potential weapon against disease also explain why many of today’s best natural skincare products include it in their anti-aging arsenal.

In 2008,the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed that rosemary extracts complied with its notoriously stringent safety and effectiveness standards for use as an antioxidant. A 2009 press release that announced certification of rosemary extracts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), noted the particular suitability of water-soluble rosmarinic acid for water-based products such as creams, as well as its heat stability, which prevents its antioxidant activity from dissipating at high temperatures.

Like Queen of Hungary Water—one of Europe’s first alcohol-based perfumes and astringents—Lavie Organique Toner also contains rosemary. But without the brandy that 14th century monks who invented it added to Elizabeth of Hungary’s signature cologne. Those monks obviously didn’t know much about the irritating effects of alcohols on sensitive skin!

Fragrance Overload: Too Much of a Good Thing

Rainwater Fresh fabric softer, Persian Lilac body scrub, Mint Mojito candles, Raspberry-Chocolate moisturizer… At some point, our natural urge to make ourselves and our environment smell yummy went into overdrive. Everywhere we go  now—subways and buses, the workplace, restaurants, homes—our senses are assaulted by a multitude of competing scents. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like I’m trapped inside a giant jar of potpourri!

No Perfumes in Lavie Organique

Even so, the allure of perfumes and fragrances has persisted for thousands of years. The perfume lovers of the world still cherish the power of a signature scent to set a mood and make a unique statement about their image and identity. During the creation my LaVie Organique product line I thought long and hard about not only about the health issues surrounding the fragrance debate but also the complexities of personal preferences. My goal was to create a skin care regimen that was not only safe for sensitive skin, but also a calming, soothing experience for the mind. But a question remained? How can I do all that and still create top-quality natural skincare products that would appeal to a multitude of tastes?

Once again, the good things of nature provided all the answers I needed. The all-natural plant-based ingredients and organic extracts in my Lavinia Borcau formulas lend a trace of subtly elegant fragrance to every step of your daily skin care regimen.

One of the sources of the clean, delicate scent of my prodcuts is citrus grandis (pink grapefruit) peel essential oil. In keeping with my holistic philosophy this ingredient is not merely a pleasant extra—it’s a vital contributor to the quality and functionality of my all-natural skin care products.

This fruit extract’s powers as an antiseptic and a detoxifier make this all-natural essential oil a vital component of my all my Lavinia Borcau proprietary formulas. A natural antibacterial, this nontoxic alternative to risky preservatives like methylparaben and other petroleum derivatives also protects your health and helps ensure the quality and safety of my products.

With all these benefits plus a light, refreshing scent that doesn’t linger, pink grapefruit oil offers a luxurious experience for men and women of every taste. But there’s more than one note to to the sensual delights of natural scents…I’ll tell you more next time.

Cruel Isn’t Beautiful

Many consumers still believe that animal cruelty is the price of human health and safety. However, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act refutes the popular misconception that cosmetics must be tested on animals to comply with FDA safety regulations. In fact, the FDA strongly supports the development of cruelty-free alternatives to animal experimentation.

Lavinia Borcau Quality Standards specifically forbid the use of animal testing to demonstrate product safety or effectiveness. To ensure this cruelty-free development strategy never interferes with the safety and quality of my all-natural skincare line, my exacting product standards require that the Lavie Organique Proprietary Blend of natural and certified organic ingredients comply with both Environmental Working Group and Natural Product Association guidelines.

My belief in the gentleness and effectiveness of natural skincare is rooted in my traditional European heritage. Over the years as I’ve read the results of scientific studies on botanical ingredients and gained hands-on experience with plant-based professional skincare, my instinctive trust in the Old World beauty secrets of my Romanian grandmother has evolved into a firm conviction.

By designing a personal skin care regimen that’s kind to your skin without hurting other living creatures, I’ve also stayed true to my holistic philosophy. As part of the natural world, we’re inextricably connected to the plants and animals that share our environment. By showing respect and caring for every part of this environment, we can achieve a more balanced lifestyle. The result is healthier body and mind—and the natural glow of genuine, lasting beauty.

An Eye-Opener on Coffee: It’s Not Just for Drinking Anymore

The latest scientific research on coffee not only gives latté lovers reason to celebrate—it’s uncovered a potent new plant-based skincare ingredient.

You may already know about coffee’s high antioxidant levels—which are equal or higher than most fruits. Researchers believe the power of antioxidants to repair damaged cells is why coffee drinkers appear to have a lower risk of heart disease and skin, liver, and colon cancer. According to a study by Harvard Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of coffee’s antioxidants, quinine, can also help fight diabetes by increasing the body’s insulin resistance and regulating glucose metabolism.

But if you think a cup of decaf is a safer, healthier way to raise your daily dose of antioxidants, recent research on caffeine may surprise you. Studies have shown that in moderate doses, America’s favorite pick-me-up isn’t just harmless—it’s actually good for you. In fact, one of coffee’s cancer-fighting antioxidants, caffeic acid, comes from caffeine. That’s why caffeine is starting to pop up on sun block labels. In addition to repairing cellular damage, caffeine also appears to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, control asthma attacks, cure headaches, and even prevent cavities!

Many of these health bonuses are linked to caffeine’s effect on inflamed arteries and veins. By constricting blood vessels, caffeine decreases inflammation. A diuretic, caffeine also reduces swelling by flushing excess blood and lymph from skin tissue. This multi-action combination of properties explains the growing use of caffeine in cellulite and facial treatments to boost performance.

Mounting scientific data and years of hands-on experience have convinced me that caffeine helps repair and rejuvenate the thin, delicate skin around our eyes. This area is the first place to show the damage that age, environmental toxins, and poor health habits can do to our appearance. For the red, puffy eyelids and dark circles that can afflict young and old alike, this powerhouse ingredient provides the perfect all-in-one solution. Derived from pure Colombian coffee, the caffeine in myLaVie Organique™ Eye Cream meets my exacting Quality Standards. This pure plant-derived extract works in synergy with my proprietary blend of certified organic and natural botanical ingredients to nurture and revitalize the eye area. It’s a balanced health drink for your skin that will bring a smile to your face when you see the results.

Organic Skincare for Sensitive Skin Part 2: What’s in a Name?

When I advise clients with sensitive skin to avoid face creams and other beauty products with harsh chemical ingredients, they sometimes ask me to identify the major offenders. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. In fact, anyone who’s committed to healthy eating already has a head start. If you check the labels of food products for harmful additives, you can probably spot synthetic chemicals immediately. Names like FD&C Yellow #6, sodium benzoate, BHA, BHT, and diacetyl tend to raise alarm bells in people who care about their diet. Basically, if the ingredient name looks like it belongs in a chemistry book, it probably doesn’t belong inside your body.

This same logic applies to the ingredients we put on our skin. For instance, ingredient names with –ly endings—ethyl, benzyl, methyl, and so forth—automatically spell trouble for sensitive skin. These alcohol derivatives are found in many high-priced cleansers, toners, and moisturizers—yet they can seriously damage your skin. Alcohols not only cause dryness and irritation, but also interfere with vitamin A absorption. The resulting deficiency may contribute to the premature development of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.

Obviously there’s nothing beautiful about beauty products that can make you look old before your time! You won’t find any alcohols in Lavinia Borcau natural skin care products. In fact, any ingredient that isn’t 100% natural is specifically excluded from the Lavie Organique™ product line by my official Quality Standards. And as my clients will tell you, that’s a promise, you can trust!

Stay tuned—I’ll be naming more of the prime suspects in cases of red, irritated skin in Part 3.

Organic Skincare for Sensitive Skin—Part 1

Do you have sensitive skin? A great many of my clients—with all different skin types and a wide variety of symptoms—complain of this condition. The fact is, skin sensitivity is a popular, loosely defined term used to describe various forms of dermatitis. What all forms of dermatitis have in common is inflammation—our body’s natural defensive response to a disease or an injury or irritant.

The symptoms of dermatitis can range from mild redness and stinging or itching to painful hives and other severe rashes. The causes of this condition also vary. In some cases, the client may require medical treatment for a potentially serious skin disease such as eczema or psoriasis or specific skin allergies. In most cases, however, the client’s symptoms indicate dermatitis, a rash caused by exposure to harsh chemicals.

So what’s the best way to care for your sensitive skin? Gently and safely! Start by reading the label on every product that comes in contact with your skin. That includes detergents and fabric softeners, as well as shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, shower gels, and body lotions. If a product contains any alcohol, alcohol derivatives, or other synthetic chemicals, keep it away from your skin! I’ll be going into more detail about the most common and harmful of these irritants in later posts.

Above all, be especially vigilant about the ingredients in the products you put on your face. Many popular sun blocks, cleansers, toners, and moisturizers can cause rashes, breakouts, and other complexion problems.

I also recommend my clients choose products with certified organic and natural plant derived ingredients for their daily and weekly skin care regimen. With my LaVie Organique™ product line you’re assured that only the purest and safest of natural and organic herbal and botanical ingredients touch your skin. But playing it safe, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice effectiveness. Lavinia Borcau natural skincare products combine the gentleness of nature with the power of 21st century science to provide the dramatic results that many synthetic skin care products promise—without any of the painful aftereffects they so often deliver.