Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Natural Factual at

 If you're wondering where the heck I've been, I'm here to lead you over to a new land like the Moses of beauty blogs.

Last month, I sent a proposal to which was created by my local paper Chicago Tribune and they accepted my idea for the blog.
I wish that new posts for Natural Factual could remain on Blogspot just for the features here alone, but I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and see how things go with Chicago Now.

The new location is here and I have a couple new posts up.
Also, Natural Factual now has a facebook fan page. You're free to holler at the like button if you wish.

I'm not deleting this blog.All posts here will remain here for everyone to read and I will even be transferring a few posts to the new site.  I eventually plan to use this space in the future for something related to skin care/wellness/being fly.. I just don't know how yet.

I hope you join me on the other site! I have some awesome giveaways planned for December and you don't want to miss out!

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

love, LOVE taking questions from the lovelies who I follow and that follow me on twitter.  I ask for ideas often. A few days ago Nichole asked:

Here are a few websites I ran across recently:
Just Natural: Organic Care
I'm not really sure why they name it "African American Body Butter" but the ingredients to this moisturizer sounds divine.
Organic Shea Butter, Mowrah Butter, Kokum
Butter, Illipe Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba
Oil, Walnut Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil,
Essential Oils of Frankincense, Carrot Seed,
Lavender, Vitamins A, E.

 Bien Ella Skin Care

For those who are allergic to shea butter and or coconut, Bien Ella has an Eczema Butter just for you.

Mango Butter, Kokum Butter, Organic Avocado Oil, Emu Oil, Organic Calendulated Olive Oil, Seabuckthorn, Neem, Black Current, Organic Evening Primrose, Organic Borage and Organic Rosehip Seed Oils, Vitamin E, Essential Oils.
 I love stores for the convenience of having multiple items delivered in one shipment instead of searching all over the internet for products from different online stores.

Here are a few places where you can get raw cocoa butter on

Madina1 lb for $7.00
HalalEveryday 16 oz for $12.00
NOW Foods 7 oz for $5:33

 MountainRoseHerbs  offers cocoa butter in 'wafers' (as well as in bulk). The smaller 1/2 - 3/4 sized discs make it easier to melt and handle, especially helpful if you're mixing your own butters at home. & Its all Certified Organic/Fair Trade.

The best online store for organic skincare that I've yet to run across has to be They have sections for every skin concern you may have so the navigation is very easy. There's also makeup, supplements and fragrances too!  Winner of the Best Retail Website for 2010 from Natural Health Magazine, seems to be the organic skincare shoppers dream.

Do you have a favorite organic skin care website? Tell us about it!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I have a problem with tardiness so of course I'm a little late with this entry on Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Losing my sister and friend earlier this year to cancer threw me for a loop. She was one of the most compassionate and intelligent women that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. For weeks I couldn't help but to wonder "why her?" Around the same time, my oldest brother was diagnosed with colon cancer resulting in an emergency surgery.
Cancer had become the enemy and it's effect on my family and friends thrust me into the awareness that this disease does not discriminate. I began to feel that cancer was this invisible evil thing that I had to prepare to battle with.  I chose knowledge as my shield and care as my weapon.

What I did:

I made a visit to my primary care physician and spoke with her thoroughly about my concerns. I came prepared with a list of questions including everything that I hadn't felt we had time to talk about before. She listened carefully and asked me some of her own questions. The visit also included a gynecological and breast exam worth its weight in gold.
Although I had always made sure to occasionally give myself breast exams and check my body for any weird moles, I neglected to have my doctor examine me each and every year.  No more of that.

According to
"In 2009, cancer was the cause of 8 million deaths worldwide. By 2030, that number will rise to 17 million."

Support those supporting the cause
 Here are 4 beauty and skin care products supporting cancer awareness:

Sephora's Pop-Up Brush

Sephora will donate $1 from the sale of this product to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime. For more information, visit


10% of the proceeds from the sales of Boscia Rose Blotting Linens will be donated to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation ( to support breast cancer research. 

Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion 

Clinique donates $10 from each sale to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure.

Clarisonic's  Skincare Cleansing Brush

With every Pink Clarisonic purchase, Clarisonic will make a donation to help fund the fight against breast cancer. *(I've read great reviews about this product)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Scalp Care = Healthy Hair

Very much inspired by the pretty awesome natural hair meetup hosted by BHLH today I decided to write about the issue of the itchy, flaky, dry scalp. A couple of natural-hair ladies asked for tips on how to combat this problem and although there is no one solution I hope that I can offer some sort of help here.

Firstly, if you're getting a crazy, persistent itch that you can't control or if your scalp is red and inflamed then its always suggested that you go see your doctor.  It is best to get a diagnosis with a persistent itch so that you know how to treat the problem. It could be seborrhea dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, or just something easily treated like product buildup.

When I've had this problem in the past, the dermatologist often prescribed a  pine tar shampoo which didn't really work that great for me. The shampoo only provided relief for a short time and since the ingredients are consisted of about 20% alcohol, the dryness often came back (just with a little less itch).
Shampoos with salicylic acid worked a little bit better for me. I'm not exactly sure why but I do know that this ingredient causes a more readily cell turn over on the epidermis. In other words, salicylic acid work to loosen  flakes on the scalp and inhibit fungus growth that causes dandruff. While in the shower with your shampooed hair, massage your scalp with the pads of your fingertips to increase circulation and loosen flakes.

Having an itchy scalp and wanting to use only natural products can sometimes be a catch 22 in a way.  Also, I know many of us 'naturals' often don't use shampoo, some only co-wash (washing with conditioner only) to avoid using sulfates. In my experience I've only gotten some relief after I've shampooed with a product like Head and Shoulders and then applied moisture with a light, natural oil. My scalp just felt like it needed soap to stop the itch.

One lady at the meeting mentioned using Sea Breeze to cleanse the scalp. Hearing that name took me back to when I had dreads many years ago. Back then, Sea Breeze was my go-to staple. It did a good job at soothing my scalp and controlling any itchy feeling. The only problem for me at the time was the high alcohol content. Today they make a sensitive skin formula which include camphor, eucalyptus and clove oil which are all ingredients that provide a cooling effect on the skin.
Another alternative is witch hazel. Witch hazel will also clean away any dirt, oil and shedding skin. I love me some witch hazel because I find it to not be so drying, it doesn't sting if I've been scratching and it cleans well in a pinch. Thayer makes an alcohol free formula with aloe vera.

Moisturize with natural oils

After you've cleaned your scalp (however best for you) its best to put back the moisture you've washed away. You can give your self hot oil treatments or use a little of your mixtures as a leave in moisturizer on your scalp. Use of oil treatments will be beneficial once the weather starts to get cold and we're left with no moisture in the air.

I treat my scalp with some of my favorite anti-inflammatory oils.

Carrier Oils
  • Castor Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Coconut Oil (also an anti-fungal treatment)
  • Almond Oil
Essential Oils 
  • Thyme
  • Rose
  • Eucalyptus
  • Bergamot
  • Fennel
You may also consider trying tea tree oil which is an anti-fungal essential oil.

You can make your own anti-itch scalp oil by mixing and matching for what best suits you. Just remember to never use any essential oil directly on your skin, always mix them with a carrier oil.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Product Review: Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

I've been a big fan of the Boscia Skin Care line for a few years now. The entire line of products are preservative-free and sulfate-free and have always left me with calmed, soothing skin.What I love most is that  you won't pay more than $26.00 for the average 4.6 oz bottle. How many department store skin care products can you say that about?

I was lucky enough to win a free bottle of the new Luminizing Black Mask from the company's facebook page. (I used my special telekinetic superpowers. Ha!) So, trying out this mask proved to be even more fun.

The first time I applied the mask, I didn't make sure to apply a thick, even layer which made for a harder time peeling it off.  So, lesson learned.  Second time around: starting with a clean and dry face, I applied a thick layer of the mask first.  (When applying masks, make sure you stay clear of the delicate peri-orbital area around your eyes.)

The Luminizing Black Mask goes on feeling very soothing and slightly cool.  The texture is like a thick, gooey black glue.  No burning sensation or itchy, tight feeling on my skin which was surprising because I had some areas around my nose and mouth that were slightly inflamed from eczema. Not having to worry about a quick rinse off from irritation allowed me to relax with the mask on for 10-15 minutes for the product to dry.

The peeling off of the product was tricky for me because I couldn't get it all off in one or even two pieces but I guess it take a little practice. I also didn't make sure to brush away a few strands of hair from my face before applying which required some warm water and a facecloth.

Boscia claims  the mask "delivers powerful detoxifying, purifying, and brightening effects" and they don't lie. My pores looked smaller, flaky skin gone and most surprisingly my skin really did look brighter and healthier. I think this is a product especially good for those with oily skin since it 'sticks' to the pores and draws out impurities. Also, ingredients like witch hazel and rosemary leaf oil prove to be soothing to most oily skin types.

My only complaints are that it's required you use a lot more of the product that I had planned. I like to skimp and stretch out my more high-end products and you just won't be able to do that with Boscia's Luminizing Black Mask. You need a generous amount just for one good application. I plan on using this once a week instead of twice a week as suggested. 

 Active Ingredients (as listed on

 -Vitamin C (Ascorbyl Glucoside): Delivers healthy, younger-looking skin by dramatically brightening, minimizing hyperpigmentation, preventing free-radical damage, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

-Calcium Montmorillonite Clay: First discovered in Montmorillion, France in the 1800's, it is considered the premier-quality clay, containing 67 minerals. It absorbs excess oil, dirt, and toxins from the skin; exfoliates dead skin cells; and leaves the skin purified, nourished, restored, and immaculately clean.

-Maritime Pine Bark Extract (Pinus Pinaster Bark/Bud Extract): Extracted from the bark of the maritime pine trees, it provides exceptionally powerful antioxidant and soothing benefits as well as long-lasting conditioning.

-Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana): An anti-inflammatory and natural antiseptic extract that kills blemish-causing bacteria while it helps restore skin  suppleness, tighten pores, prevent whiteheads and blackheads, and provide a firming effect.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shea Butter Works Wonders

Because I find it better than petroleum jelly, mineral oil and lanolin.  I will always sing the praises of shea butter. I try to keep it on my shelf for not only my skin but for my hair as well. I've made a number of mixtures with other natural oils with shea butter as its base. 

Shea Butter is Better

  • Shea butter is the natural fat extracted from the seed of the African Shea tree.

  • Containing the vitamins A, E and F, it's a great natural emollient.

  • It has natural wind and sun protecting properties with up to an SPF of 6.

  • Shea Butter is also anti-inflammatory, which can be soothing for itchy,dry skin.

  • Shea butter has been known to fade stretch marks.

  • It's inexpensive! You can purchase a pound of more for 5 dollars depending on where you shop.

Here's a recipe for my Sweet Cream Shea Butter Mix that I've made for my mother and myself.

1 cup of pure Unrefined Shea Butter
2 tblsp of Grapeseed Oil
3 tblsp of Olive Oil
2 capsules of Vitamin E

You can blend these all in an clean empty jar left over from one of your cosmetics to save money or purchase a travel sized jar from some place like Walgreens of CVS.
The shea butter should soften as you stir. I often use a chop stick but do what works for you.

I've made this for my mother who after working  in the yard during the summer months came back with darkened, itchy, scaly skin.  We both had hydrocoritsone and other steroid creams in the house but she said this natural shea cream worked better for her than anything else. I hope you guys get a chance to try it and let me know how it goes.

DuchessGabrielle on Youtube gives an awesome overview of what shea butter is and isn't.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Ooo Wee Whats Up With That? : Pine Bark Extract

photo taken by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
Pine bark extract is made from the bark of the maritime pine tree. The maritime pine is native to the western Mediterranean, with a range extending over Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Morocco.1.

Pine bark extract is considered a pycnogenol just as grape seed extract is. In a previous blog I mentioned that my doctor recommended I try OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) to help the condition of my skin. Pine bark extract falls under that group of supplements.

Pycnogenol (Pik-nah-gen-all) / Pine Bark Extract has been proven to be helpful in reducing inflammation of all kinds. Minimizing the risks of sun damage (UV-radiation). It also lightens dark spots and reduces the signs of aging, promoting collagen production, 2. pine bark extract also acts as an antioxidant. It's been know to eliminate free radicals better than vitamin C and E.

I looked around the web and saw that there isn't yet a huge boom yet in the beauty industry like that of skin healthy vitamins like Vit C or E, at least not in the US but I suspect it will come. Dr. Perricone already offers a more expensive serum & cream made with pycnogenols but I am not trying to pay $95.00 for it.  I plan on  taking 50 mg. a day and using a cream with only natural ingredients to "preserve my sexy" (c) P Diddy. We'll see how it goes.

I can only write about what this supplement does for the skin but I urge you guys to look into it and ask your doctors since pine bark extract can have benefits to many conditions from diabetes to arthritis.

More about pycnogenol:

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