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Favorite organic skincare 10 years later

Dr Julia Stevens Life Is For Living Icon

How did I choose Organic Skincare?

     10 years ago I started on a journey to understand how to best protect myself from breast cancer. Wait?! Breast cancer? Yes.  If you’ve ever been privileged to know an older generation of Slavic. The women are good at looking good and loving their people, and this was part of my grandmother’s legacy.  Hair, nails, style- yes, yes and yes. And you never know what you will miss about someone, until you are grieving them. Ten years ago, in September,  I was watching a football game where the entire team had these hot pink towels hanging out of their pants. That’s ridiculous, I thought. What’s that for?  I asked my husband sitting next to me, “Why are there hot pink towels on the field?”  and he replied  “Oh it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” I thought to myself, ‘There has got to be a better way to protect ourselves from breast cancer than watching football with bright pink towels!’  In hindsight those bright pink towels did get me to take action, life certainly has a sense of humor. It was then, on the couch, annoyed with mainstream sports, and sitting in a puddle of grief, that I began to research and got determined to find the best organic skincare for myself and my family. I began learning about the different environmental factors, chemicals and toxins, that carry a potential cancer risk for humans. My grandmother would have wanted me to do whatever I could to minimize the risk for me and my daughters, while not giving up all things beauty. Since we share genes, I feel both blessed and responsible for my family. I wanted to make sure we don’t walk down the same pathway. We have breasts, let’s protect them! And there is nothing wrong with looking good. Now, ten years later, I am still inspired by what I’ve come across as a champion for organic skincare. 

Skincare labels; what’s in there and what’s not?

     At first, you may assume all ingredients are actually listed on the label. Well, that’s not exactly true- coloring agents, and anything less than 1% of total volume need not to be declared. This makes it hard to discern exactly what is in the products.  Especially, if you are watching for trace ingredients for potential allergens, it can be a nightmare. I prefer when companies offer full transparency, and that can be a rare find.  The FDA regulates many things in our country, but when it comes to beauty and skincare, there are no regulations for consumer products coming to market. In other words, this means that skincare brands are legally responsible for 100% their own regulation. What was that?  Let that sink in.  100% responsible for their own regulation.  For example, common ingredients like phthalates, are found to have hormonal effects and are known to be endocrine disruptors. This is NOT what we need for women who are pregnant, or planning on becoming pregnant, or children, or those concerned about hormone related cancers.  And, did you know? Common chemicals used in anti-aging skincare actually contain ingredients that can cause oxidative damage themselves. This means, while increasing irritation and damage at the cellular level, customers keep applying hoping for the promised results. This makes no sense! Once I learned this, (and now, you have as well.) My thinking brain has a desire to use products that are going to both promote the best health for my skin today, and have no risk of accelerating aging in the future. Talk about swimming upstream… No wonder people feel so defeated when it comes to aging!

Can organic skincare actually be of luxury quality?

     Think to yourself, what if Clinique (or Dermalogica) had a British cousin that was simply upstaging them in all the ways? Neal’s Yard Remedies is celebrating leading the world standard in organic luxury skincare for over 30 years. Began by a Homeopath and Naturopath who opened an apothecary in the streets of London, with business partnership this brand has developed into a worldwide brand. 


Do Organic ingredients actually make a difference?

     In ten years of watching people use NYR products both personally and clinically, I have been blown away with how amazing skin can improve when given the right support.  Witnessing the most stubborn acne magically vanish with the Palmarosa line.  This herbal line is both antiseptic and not drying or damaging to even the most tender skin.  For more seasoned skin, I have seen age spots and fine lines with wrinkles turn back and seem to almost disappear with the offerings within the Frankincense line.  While tapping into plant stem cell derivatives, and using the highest quality raw ingredients to support our skin health, “organic” and “science” can be on the same page, and in the same product. Does your skin struggle with dryness? The scent of orange blossoms from the neroli oil will lift your senses.  Stubborn rashes, sensitive skin and burns respond so well to Wild Rose Beauty Balm.  Over the years, I have had the pleasure of experiencing just about every item in the catalog, and I have yet to be disappointed. It’s one thing to find a single product you enjoy, it’s quite another to find a company committed to taking the high road every step of the way.


Neal’s yard is good for the planet and the world’s people

     Fair trade is important. As a North American woman I feel like I have been given both a privilege and a responsibility to make wise choices. We are all on this small blue planet together. When the ingredients are sourced from other parts of the world, the community contracts are both equitable and support the community at large. For example, I remember learning in the second year of using NYR,  the women from the Samburu tribe, in Northern Kenya, who collect the frankincense resin previously did not have running water. NYR provided the funds to complete construction for running water in the village, to help the women in their daily life. This community project was included above the fair trade contract for each individual working woman.  Since I first learned of that project, more recently NYR has continued to support an estate of 40 women in the Atlas mountains of Morocco, who harvest the organic orange blossoms (neroli) who would be socially marginalized otherwise and Amazonian communities cultivating the organic acai.

What are the benefits beyond skincare results?

     The subtle benefits of aromatherapy in the different product lines are a nice daily treat. Having a gentle scent to both lift your mood and well-being on a regular basis, is a good thing!  It’s nice to smell good things, and they contribute to a sense of delight with their gentle support. Essential oils can be good for our skin, and good for our brains. I usually can not tolerate scents, (instant headache), but having a scent that is natural with no nasties, is a treat. Those mall shops can leave me with a headache for hours. Note, NYR’s sensitive line is without any essential oils, for the most sensitive who are among us. Also, organic home fragranced items are also offered… because mainstream plugins can be a real toxin overload.

What’s so important about using the best organic ingredients for your skin?

     Yes, I want the best in beauty and anti-aging. The path less traveled  is to actually intentionally choose a brand. We tend to stick with brands we know, or what family or a friend uses, and never actually evaluate them with a deeper understanding. In this situation, I’m sorry to be messenger, but what we don’t know can hurt us. The products we have learned to trust over time may not actually deserve our loyalty. Ultimately, you decide for yourself. If you are wondering what is out there, consider browsing the catalog and discovering NYR.  Neal’s Yard Remedies is both good for our skin and good for our environment, offering fair wage contracts globally, and truly setting an example of how we can do good things with our purchases- championing conscious business practices. Even if your brain doesn’t care about the details, the products are simply amazing. With a single product alone- Wild Rose Beauty Balm, you can turn around your neglected and weather damaged skin health from the harsh reality that it may be right now. 

Wanting the best skin results, while taking no extra nasties?

     Neal’s Yard Remedies to the rescue. You may browse and explore the digital catalog  or walk through the web store.  Thank you in advance for supporting our business, and I look forward to hearing about which products you’ve fallen in love with.  Not sure what to try? Rose Polish and Frankincense Hydrating Cream are personal favorites. The Frankincense Cleansing Melt is a newer release that is quickly rivaling the cleansing wash with its extra moisturizing while being lightweight in texture. Begin with browsing the collection in this digital catalog, and choosing products to try for yourself. 

Changing the world, one blue bottle at a time. 


In Health,   Dr Julia