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Getting Smarter about beauty: Why I Switched to Natural Skin and Hair Care

Jul 19 2018

I am a lover of all things girly and pretty and my splurges in life have been, awesomely packaged bottles of hair products that promised thicker hair and under eye creams that were going to take away the fine-lines under my eyes (a big motivator for this was to look better in my pictures on Facebook).

I confess to having spent, absurd amounts on skin and hair treatments at dermatologists and buying under-eye creams worth a small-fortune, eagerly awaiting to see the dramatic results that they promised.

After being disappointed with most of them and only getting temporary results with a few, I realized that my approach of finding a ‘quick-fix’ would only get me that- ‘a quick-fix’.

Changing my approach to beauty meant a substantial change in the way I lived my life. This was an intimidating thought at that time, as I was skeptical of the “chemical-free”, “healthy” way of doing things and would go back to my old ways, only to get frustrated with life, yet again.

Yeah....this went on for a while, till the realization that change, as scary as it seemed, could start with a simple shift in looking at things differently. I started looking at my skin and hair and then my body in totality, and as if for the first time, realized their interconnection. The fact that my skin and hair could only be better-looking when my entire body became healthier and better-looking became apparent. Then on, all the choices between healthy and unhealthy got easier.

I started fixing what was broken in my health - my thyroid was a little off range, my weight was a little more than it should have been, my hormones were a little off because of the PCOS and my knees and back hurt making exercise a big pain (literally ;) ).

All these did not seem related to my physical appearance/beauty to me at the time, but the more I learnt, the more I realized - that there was only one way to looking-better and that started with taking care of all of me, and not just my skin and hair.

I am 35 years old today and feel younger than I did at 25. I am frequently told that I look younger than my years, so the life changes have been totally worth it.

I got smarter about beauty and began to understand how ‘my body’ interacted with different foods, what diet worked, what didn’t, I learnt that glowing skin and thicker hair was achieved with healthy proteins and fats and not with “caffeine shampoo”, "stretch-mark removal" and under-eye creams. While these products definitely create the much needed convenience in our fast-paced lives, they also expose us to the very chemicals that damage our health and consequently our skin and hair.

I began examining the very basic items I used daily - you know the ones that you simply cannot do without, like shampoo, conditioner and deodorant. They were all loaded with chemicals that could make my hormones crazy. Suddenly “healthy” was not so easy again.

I started looking for healthier options but couldn’t really find any. Most of what was available in India was loaded with toxic chemicals, the kitchen-remedies were inconvenient, the imported versions  were beyond my budget and asking friends and family to carry so many bottles when they traveled abroad, was really not practical for these daily needs… phew!

Thus came about Best Life, the idea that healthier choices had to be convenient, affordable and accessible. As a consumer I felt let down by the brands that I had trusted. Women, whose bodies are extra sensitive to chemicals (read hormonal imbalance), deserved to know what they were putting on their bodies and make more informed choices about their health.

While a huge part of looking-better with age, comes from giving the skin and hair vital nutrients (I shall keep posting as many articles about this as I possibly can), beauty products play a vital role to help our skin and hair maintain essential moisture and prevent environmental damage caused by dust, pollution, dry weather, UV rays etc.

Our skin and hair absorb any applied product within 26 seconds. Yes, your read that right. That is so much faster than the time it takes for our digestive systems to absorb food. Therefore it is really important to feed our skin and hair the right nutrients and to NOT feed them CHEMICALS via products..

A new way of life has emerged for me now and only the essentials of natural skin and hair-care are a part of my routine. My dresser and bathroom are mostly stocked with essential oils, body oils and vitamins (these are super-important, will be doing another post on them). The only skin and hair cleansers I now use, are the chemical-free products that I make.

With Best Life, my aim is not just to provide healthier options to chemical loaded products but to create awareness, especially among women to question the products they use, as they have the maximum exposure to these chemicals through cosmetics.

I hope you will try these products and experience the difference that I have in the long-term betterment of my appearance and overall health. Even though I did initially feel like I was depriving myself of some things that others seemed to be consuming, the rewards of switching to a cleaner lifestyle have been enormous and I feel responsible to generate awareness around the issue of getting smarter about beauty.

Please feel free to get in touch with me personally, I would love to hear from you about your journey in getting smarter about beauty and what you would want in your ideal skin, hair and body care range or with any other issue, where you feel my experience might add value.

Hope to hear from you real soon and wishing you the very best in life and health.

Prerana
Founder, Best Life

P.S.- I personally respond to emails

https://www.instagram.com/bestlifehealthyessentials/

Losing Hair? The top 5 reasons you may want to try a Sulfate-free Shampoo

Jun 19 2018

Top 5 reasons you may want to try out a Sulfate-free Shampoo

1. They don't strip natural oils: Sulfate-free/Natural shampoos clean hair while maintaining its natural shine. This is possible when natural oils are preserved in the hair. Sulfate-free hair cleansers wash the hair fibers without removing essential, natural, oils from them.

2. They're better at moisture retention: Moisture is needed in hair to prevent problems such as split ends and breakage. Everyday exposure to pollution and dust requires frequent washing. Harsh, chemical based shampoos strip away the moisture from hair when used frequently, causing them to turn dull and frizzy. On the other hand, sulfate-free hair cleansers help retain the natural moisture in hair, giving it a healthy sheen and making them safe for everyday use.

3. They reduce irritation/ inflammation: Because sulfates are harsh chemicals, they can dry and irritate the scalp. This can also lead to inflammation if uncontrolled. On the contrary, SLS/Sulfate-free hair products are mild and they gently clean your hair, without creating such problems.

4. They help retain hair color: Coloring hair is a common routine of most people, especially women. However, longevity of the color will depend on how well you take care of your hair. Using a good Sulfate-free shampoo will extend the lifeline of your hair color, thus reducing fading. This will in turn prevent you from frequently coloring your hair.

5. They're safe for the environment: Sulfate free shampoos and conditioners are safe for environment. Thanks to their plant-based ingredients, they do not pollute our water bodies.
Suitable for sensitive scalp: Sulfate-free hair cleansers are an obvious alternative for those with sensitive skin.

Why Conditioning before Washing could work better for your Hair

May 10 2018

Regardless of what products we use, most of us were taught to wash our hair the same way: shampoo (rinse, lather, rinse, repeat) then conditioner. And unless we're a co-washer, doing anything but that probably seems a little strange.

Conditioning before shampoo is great for adding nourishment to fine hair without weighing it down. It also promotes a longer lasting blow dry and primes the hair before cleansing, allowing shampoo to distribute easier and more evenly.

Thin hair types aren't the only ones to benefit from swapping their bottle order. Hair that is highlighted, tangles easily after shampooing, or is prone to greasiness is also a prime candidate for a pre-shampoo conditioner.

There are some best practices to keep in mind if we're going to start this regimen. While we'd typically only use our conditioners from our ears down post  shampoo.

To saturate all our hair from root-to-tip if we're conditioning before you cleanse.

Extra hydration sans-weight is never a bad thing, but it's especially amazing in the summer when our hair takes a hell of a beating. 

Applying a conditioner before washing coats our hair cuticles with protection. Once rinsed, the coating left behind acts as a primer for our hair. This coating helps shampoo spread more evenly, leading to less product build-up. The shampoo will wash away the heaviness of the conditioner but won't reverse the hydrating benefits and glossy finish.

More Reasons to Condition First and Shampoo After

Doesn’t Clog Hair Follicles

You can go more days without Washing

Hair looks Bouncier, Shinier and Full of life

Prevents Weighed Down and Dull Look

Deodorants Might be Making You ill

May 10 2018

It's meant to make you smell fresher. But scientists claim that deodorant may be doing more than just that - it could be making you ill. The active aluminum-based ingredient in deodorants temporarily plugs the sweat glands and that's how it prevents you from perspiring. These aluminum-based chemicals are absorbed into the skin, especially if there is a nick from shaving. They propose that the harmful ingredients may increase the risk of breast cancer, since they are applied to the armpit and therefore, absorbed into an area next to the breast.

Aluminum-based compounds that are applied and absorbed near the breast can cause estrogen-like effects. Since the hormone estrogen could promote the growth of breast cancer cells, it's therefore, possible that these aluminum-based chemicals in deodorants may contribute to breast cancer.

Most commercial deodorants contain aluminum. The risk of aluminum centered around Alzheimer's, which is a degenerative form of dementia mostly affecting persons over 65 years of age. The large amounts of aluminum can contribute to nerve toxicity and possibly Alzheimer's disease.

Besides some issues like headaches, dizziness, nausea, congestion, and rashes, the fragrance chemicals have been shown to block testosterone activity, erectile dysfunction, or problems building muscles
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Eat Your Way to Glowing Skin

May 10 2018

Want truly fabulous skin - glowing, vibrant, and, yes, younger-looking skin? Make sure you're putting foods for healthy skin on your plate.

"Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look.

You could have sallow skin, dry skin, older-looking skin. It's not going to happen overnight, but starve your skin long enough, and it's going to show.

Most experts say eating a balanced diet is the best way to get your share of good food for healthy skin. Still, a number of specific skin treats are more likely than others to give a boost of glowing good health to your complexion.

Green Tea

It’s no secret that green tea is an antioxidant powerhouse. Its strong anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects are attributed to its high concentration of catechin compounds. Green tea can be used both orally and topically to help protect the skin from sunburns and UV-associated skin cancers. Drinking one cup of green tea twice a day over the course of six months may reverse sun damage and significantly improve any problems you have with redness and broken capillary veins.

Walnuts

Walnuts are incredibly high in omega-3s. If you’re concerned with redness, swelling, blotchiness, acne breakouts, or wrinkles, walnuts may be your new best friend. Plant-based omega-3s, such as the ones found in walnuts, are naturally anti-inflammatory; they can help seal moisture into your skin and protect it from chemicals and other toxins. The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in these omega-3s can work to combat the dryness associated with aging that leads to wrinkles. But don’t stop with walnuts; you can also increase the amount of plant-based omega-3s in your diet by eating almonds, olive oil, and flaxseed, too.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a natural probiotic, which means that it helps replenish the “good” bacteria in your body and keeps yeast in check. This can come in handy if you have gastrointestinal issues or you’re prone to yeast infections, but what does it have to do with feeding your face? Yogurt is an excellent Feed Your Face food for dealing with acne breakouts, eczema, and even dandruff. Just be sure to choose a low-fat and low-sugar yogurt, since sugar can aggravate inflammation.

Berries and pomegranate

Both are high in an antioxidant even the experts have difficulty pronouncing: anthocyanin, which also produces the deep red colour of pomegranates and many berries. "It helps protect the skin from free-radical damage, And the vitamin C boosts the collagen in the skin."

Carrots

Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which turns to vitamin A. Vitamin A is the skin's "superfood", as it stimulates collagen and elastin, as well as normalizing blood flow to reduce the appearance of redness and increase the speed at which wounds heal.

But don't go bananas on the carrots: a couple a day are enough to benefit your complexion and eating too many can have an adverse effect on your skin. 

Tomatoes

One of your skin’s best defenses, tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. While studies have not yet been entirely conclusive, many suggest that lycopene may be responsible for helping to protect the skin against sun damage.

Lycopene is best absorbed by the body when it has been cooked or processed, so eating tomato sauce, tomato paste, and ketchup is likely to be more effective than just eating raw tomatoes when trying to safeguard your skin against harmful UV rays. Lycopene is also fat soluble, which means that it is absorbed more easily when consumed with fat, such as eggs, avocado, and olive oil.

How Often Should you Wash your Hair?

May 02 2018

The best frequency ofwashing is different for everyone. It all depends on a number of factors. Oneis your skin type, which is determined by genetics,lifestyle and age. Your scalp's skin type tends to correlate with your face'sskin type, specifically your t-zone. So, if your forehead, nose and chin tendtoward dry, then your scalp probably is, too, and a moisturizing shampoo canhelp—but stick to once or twice a week to avoid over-drying the scalp. If youhave an oily T-zone and scalp, you can shampoo more often (say, three times aweek).

Beyond skin type, consider your hair's texture, length and density tohelp figure out how long the intervals should be between washing. If you haveshorter, straighter, more dense hair, you could wash it every day (though youdefinitely don't need to), because sebum (aka natural oils) tends to spreadmore quickly in these cases. People with longer, thinner or heat- orcolor-treated hair should shampoo less frequently, she says, since hair withthose attributes tends not to tolerate shampooing as well (your hair may feelbrittle, or look dull). For most textured hair, shampooing more than once aweek can really dry out the hair and the scalp.

And highly active people needn'tovercompensate with extra washing: leaving sweat on your scalp after a toughworkout isn't going to damage it in any way. If it's smelly, though, you coulddry shampoo. Another option is just rinsing; this can be especially useful ifyour workout involves swimming in a chlorinated pool.


Read more: www.getbestlife.in 

4 natural, at home, Pimple-fixes that really work and 4 that Don’t

May 02 2018

The Ones That Work


The Winner: Lavender and Tea Tree Oil Blend

All 4 dermatologists we spoke to for this articleput Lavender and Tea tree oils at the number 1 spot for pimple healing. Research showsthat these essential oils can be very effective in treating mild-to-moderateacne.

Best for : Deep, inflamed (reddish) pimples

How they works: Theoils are anti-inflammatory and have antibacterial properties, so they soothe theinflammation on the skin while fighting the bacteria that's fueling it, says Dr.Lipy Gupta, dermatologist, Max Healthcare.

Use it like this: Mix equal parts ofLavender and Tea Tree oil in 2 tablespoons of water. Dip a cotton ball in thewatered-down oil and apply to the pimple once or twice a day until it'sgone.


Second Place: Diluted Disprin

Best for: Blackheadsand whiteheads

How it works : Disprin is really a natural form ofsalicylic acid, the pimple buster you find in many acne-controlling productslike creams and face-washes. In addition to helping soothe inflamed skin, itsexfoliating powers break down the blackhead or whitehead that's plugging upyour pore.

Use it like this : Crush ½ a tablet ofDisprin, mix with 2 tablespoons of water and apply that mixture to the pimplefor a minute or two, then rinse it off. Make sure you're using Disprin thathasn't expired—it'll be less potent if its use-by date is long gone.


Third Place: Apple Cider Vinegar

Best for : Blackheads,whiteheads and deep, inflamed pimples.

How it works : Applecider vinegar hasn't been studied on acne, but our skin experts cite itsanti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties as reasons why it can help clearup a pimple. It's astringent, so it minimizes oil, and has several acids thathelp exfoliate away dead skin cells.

Use it like this : Justlike with tea tree oil, you need to dilute ACV before you put it on your skin.Take equal parts water and vinegar, soak a cotton pad in the mixture and put iton the pimple for a minute or two. Do this once or twice a day until you seeimprovement.


Fourth Place: Green Tea

Best for : Deep,inflamed pimples

How it works : Fullof antioxidants, it helps calm angry breakouts and also fights acne-causingbacteria.

Use it like this : Brew some green tea,then apply it to your skin in one of two ways. First option: let the teabagcool to room temperature, then put the teabag directly on the pimple and holdit there for up to 20 minutes (green tea is soothing, not irritating like someof these other remedies, so you can leave it on longer). Or take the brewedtea, let it cool, soak a washcloth in it and apply the washcloth to your facefor the same amount of time. Continue daily until the pimple is gone.


The Ones That Don't Work (and Might Lead to More Acne)


The Worst: Alcohol based products like perfume or aftershave

Why it's bad : alcohol isso drying that it strips oils and proteins from your skin, leaving it moreinflamed than it already was and likely making your pimple worse, says Dr. Gupta.


2nd Worst: Toothpaste

Why it's bad : Naturalor not, toothpaste is a concentrated cleanser meant to clean teeth, one of thetoughest surfaces in your body. Your skin is much too sensitive for that. Itcan possibly trigger dryness, irritation and a bigger acne situation for you.


3rd Worst: Lemon Juice

Why it's bad : Itcan reduce oil, but pure citrus can also be bothersome to skin because of thefruit acids it contains. It could also react to sunlight, causing a rash orleaving your skin unintentionally lighter, she adds.


4th Worst: Honey

Why it's bad : Thesweet stuff probably won't hurt your skin (it's said to have wound-healingproperties, after all), but studies find that it's not effective in treatingacne. Plus, if you're prone to acne, honey could lead to more breakouts becauseit's so thick that it traps dirt and bacteria on your skin.


Try our gentle, sulfate-free, Lavender oil infused formula for an anti-bacterial facial cleanse.

6 reasons your Bath and Body products need Cleaning

May 02 2018

We’re quick to get rid-off make-up that we feel is causing skin-irritation or might contain chemicals that are toxic but most of the bath and body products we use during bathing and afterwards, expose us more directly to toxins in a number of ways. A lot of times they are the most significant contributors to the damage, in terms of potential hormone disrupting, cancer-causing, unregulated (and often-unlabeled in case of some Ayurvedic), toxic compounds.

The level of exposure depends on how often you shower or bathe and the number of products you use, but it adds up quickly. The conventional skincare industry’s argument is that “the dose makes the poison”, a.k.a, in trace quantities these chemicals are considered “safe to use”. This argument is a weak one in this case, as the dose for most people, especially women, is very high—often daily, involving multiple products used all over the body.

Here are six reasons why the shower is the best place to start swapping the Dirty chemicals for Safer, Non-Toxic options-


1 Wet skin is super-absorbent skin

When you bathe or shower, your skin is wet. Wet skin absorbs significantly more of whatever you put on it—and absorbs it deeper into skin (That’s the reason you’re advised to apply body cream while your skin is still damp).

2 Skin Cleaning products contain detergents & exfoliants. This combined with hot water makes the skin more vulnerable to damage.

Heat combined with the harsh surfactants (the stuff that makes bubbles in all cleansers like shampoo and body wash) and the exfoliants—from scrubs to a plain old loofah—all further open up skin to even deeper absorption.

3 You’re inhaling Chemicals

The products that you’re applying- body wash, face-wash, shampoo, conditioner are also being absorbed through your lungs and nasal passageway in addition to your skin.

4 You’re covering your whole body

While make-up like an eye-pencil or mineral-powder might contain ingredients you want to avoid, but the amount you apply is far, far less than body wash, lotion, or even shampoo.

5 Synthetic, Toxic Fragrance

Think of the way you buy a shampoo, body wash, or even plain old soap: you open it up and smell it. That’s the reason, most products in this category are heavily fragranced. Fragrances, not only irritate the skin and lungs but can contain a very toxic class of chemicals known as Phthalates.

6 Tons of Preservatives

Think about it, often beauty products are left open or without the lids tightly shut in a warm and moist bathroom environment that is a breeding ground for bacteria. To make products last in this environment, beauty companies use some very strong preservatives.

Clean beauty companies preserve hair and body products, too, but with non-toxic alternatives. Why haven’t the conventional companies switched?- it’s cheaper to use the toxic preservatives.