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A beauty blog featuring DIY recipes, tips & tricks as well as natural & organic beauty product reviews.

If you are a reader with a question or a company interested in working with me you can contact me here.

Who writes Beautiful Basics?

 Hi Beautiful! My name is Kassie and I’m a 27 year old from a small town in Oregon. I have a passion for all things beauty, being green, and writing which is why I started Beautiful Basics. In this blog you will find my thoughts on natural and organic beauty products as well as DIY beauty recipes and other odds and ends.

I’m not an expert or a professional but I have learned a lot about beauty and skin care by experimenting and teaching myself.

I like to keep this blog as positive as possible. I love testing out products but I only write about the ones I love.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
I hope you enjoy!

BYDLS

I also have a blog that chronicles my life living with chronic illness.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Animal By-Products

Even since I was a little girl I have been a lover and defender of animals and their rights. Now that I’m older I still consider myself an animal activist and I don’t think there is anything worse than animal testing. I make it a point to use only cruelty free beauty products and never support any company who tests their products on my furry friends.

Although I’m not a Vegan, I do make a conscious effort to use Vegan beauty products, with the exception of beeswax, but many animal by-products are disguised with scientific terms. Reading ingredient lists can be a bit tricky, especially if you aren’t used to it, so I decided to continue with my Beauty Dictionary series. This edition is all about animal by-products that you should avoid if you don’t want to slather your body with animal fat or urine.

Imidazolidinyl Urea – a commonly used preservative in cosmetics and other beauty products and is excreted from animal urine. It releases formaldehyde in products and is believed to cause a lot of damage to the liver and gastrointestinal system. It can also be called Uric Acid. It can be found in shampoo, deodorant, mouthwashes, hair dye, hand creams and lotions, moisturizer, and makeup.

Carmine – also known as Carminic Acid is a colored pigment made out of a crushed cochineal (which is a bug). It has been said that 70,000 beetles have to be crushed to make a single pound of red dye. It is used in cosmetics, shampoo, and food. Plant alternatives: Beet juice

Collagen – widely used in anti-aging products like serums and creams. It is a fibrous protein found in animal tissue. Plant alternatives: Soy protien and almond oil

Gelatin – commonly used in cosmetics, facial masks, and shampoos as well as candy and other food. It acts as a thickner and is a protein that comes from boiling skin, bones, tendons and ligaments in water. Plant alternatives: carrageen, seaweed, fruit pectin, dextrins, locust bean gum, cotton gum, and silica gel.

Keratin – this ingredient is very popular in hair products and treatments and is protein from ground up horns, hooves, feathers and animal hair. Plant alternatives: almond oil, soy protein, and amla oil.

Stearic Acid – used in many cosmetics, soaps, creams and lotions, deodorants, shampoos, shaving creams, hairspray, lubricants, and many other personal care and home products. Stearic acid is fat from domestic and farm animals (including cats, dogs, cows, sheep, and pigs). It most commonly comes from pigs but can also come from animals who have been euthanized in animal shelters. Keep an eye out for any ingredient that starts with “stear”. Plant alternatives: vegetable and fruit fats

Squalene – this is oil from shark livers and it can be found in many different cosmetics, moisturizers, and hair products. Plant alternatives: olive oil

If you’re using natural products chances are if one of these ingredients is listed then it’s probably a plant alternative, but I know not all of you are green so just keep an eye out. It’s really important to know what you’re putting onto your skin and into your blood stream.

Tagged with: The Science of Beauty
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Basic Brushes

If you wear makeup having the proper tools can make all the difference in the way you wear and apply your cosmetics. Makeup brushes are really important things to have at your fingertips but there are a lot of options out there. One of my readers (and good friend!) asked me what kinds of brushes she should have so I decided to do this brush guide. This is just my opinion on what basic brushes a girl should have. Keep in mind there are a lot of different brush sizes, brands, bristles, shapes and handles out there. The one thing I always look out for is cruelty free brushes.

Okay, let’s get started. If you wear liquid foundation, cream foundation, or tinted moisturizer investing in a standard foundation brush is a good idea. It’s a lot less messy than using your fingers and provides a more opaque base. If you want a sheerer look, you can dampen the brush first. I find foundation brushes a lot easier to use than sponges although all foundations are different so some may work better with fingers or other application tools. There are a lot of different foundation brushes but I really enjoy the standard, slightly pointed brush.

A big fluffy powder brush is essential for applying setting powder. I tend to think that the fluffier the better for powder as it will provide a lighter, more natural type of finish than a more dense brush would. It’s also great for giving your face a very light dusting of bronzer to perk up the skin a bit.

For mineral or powder foundation, I like to use a more dense brush. It picks up more product so it provides more coverage. My favorite is not very large, and the bristles aren’t packed as tightly as others but it is much more dense than the fluffy brush I mentioned. It’s perfect for evening out the complexion.

If you like to have a slight flush on your cheeks then having a smaller blush brush is a great idea. I have various blush brushes but my favorite is a smaller slightly tapered blush brush. It’s great for giving the right amount of color each time and it is easier to put the color right where I want.

Another brush I reach for daily is my angled blush brush. I use this brush for applying my contour (or darker, matte bronzer) to the hollows of my cheekbones. You can also use this brush to apply blush or highlighter (although I like to use a spare eyeshadow blending brush for my highlight).

Speaking of an eyeshadow blending brush – this may be the most important brush you can own if you wear eye shadow. Blending is your best friend! Nobody wants harsh, unnatural shadow swept across their lids. You can also use a fluffy blending brush to apply a wash of color all over the lid or to apply highlighter.

Next up is a flat eyeshadow brush. These brushes are used for applying shadow to the lid or packing on color. They pick up more color and lay down the shadow in a more precise way than the blending brush does.

The last must have eyeshadow brush is an angled brush. Angled brushes are used for applying shadow, cream, or gel to the upper or lower lash line. You can also use this brush to fill in your brows.

What is your favorite type or brand of brush?

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All About Oils

I talk about oils for beauty use a lot and I swear by them but I’ve never really gone into detail about the differences and best uses for each type. I figured today would be the perfect day to do just that!

Jojoba Oil is the one that I have used the longest. I absolutely love this golden, odorless oil (which is actually a liquid wax) and I think it’s the perfect addition to any beauty pantry. Jojoba oil is the closest thing to skins own sebum so it doesn’t aggravate, irritate, or clog our pores. It makes a wonderful addition to any homemade beauty product but it’s also great on its own! It’s non-allergenic, non-comedogenic, and it works great on any skin type including sensitive. I highly recommend Jojoba oil for those of you with really oily skin since it helps regulate sebum production by breaking down the sebum plugs in pores. It helps plump up the skin and helps rejuvenate. It also has a very long and stable shelf life. It is completely safe and can be used full strength, unlike some other oils which must be diluted prior to applying to the skin.

Grape Seed Oil is my new favorite carrier oil. Much like Jojoba oil it is very light, odorless, and quickly absorbed into the skin. It works well for any skin types but since it’s slightly astringent it’s best for normal to oily skin types. It does work well for me though and I’m more on the dry/sensitive side of the spectrum. It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It helps battle acne, wrinkles, and damaged skin. It can be used at full strength as well.

Olive Oil is a really great skin conditioner. It does have a bit of a heavy feel on the skin as it’s a very thick oil but it is outrageously hydrating. It does have a scent, like olives. It is high in Oleic acid and is good for helping to regenerate cells. Olive oil attracts moisture to the skin so it is very hydrating and smoothing. It allows the skin to breathe while creating a protective, moisturizing barrier. It acts as an emollient and relives dryness and guards against damage. It can work for all skin types but is very heavy so nighttime only use is recommended and those with very oily or acne prone skin may want to skip this oil. A

vocado Oil is one of the most moisturizing and easily absorbed oils out there. It’s perfect for dry, damaged, and/or aging skin. It’s very soothing and smoothing. It goes deep into the layers of skin to help heal and rejuvenate. It actually helps reduce damage from sun exposure and scarring. It also increases the level of collagen produced. It does not have a non-greasy feel though. It is very thick and heavy so it is best suited for night use. This oil should be mixed with an oil like Jojoba to dilute it.

Sweet Almond Oil is perfect for all skin types, non-greasy, easily absorbed and very moisturizing. It’s really great for skin that is dry, inflamed, and/or itchy. It works well to help combat the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a solid oil that is especially helpful for dry, itchy, and sensitive skin. It’s great for burns, bug bites and other skin conditions. It is non-comedogenic, easily absorbed, and non-greasy. It is wonderful in hair products as well as lip. It helps the skin plump up and look more supple.

Hempseed Oil is gaining popularity because of its richness and skin healing properties. It is especially good for dry and mature skin, although I have never tried this since I have an allergy to hemp. It resembles skin’s natural lipids and is high is essential fatty acids. It is easily absorbed, non-greasy, and extremely moisturizing. It is a super wrinkle reducer. It can be used at full strength.

Apricot Kernel Oil is perfect for mature skin because it helps fight fine lines and wrinkles. It’s easily absorbed by the skin even though it has a very rich feel to it. It also works well on sensitive and dry skin types.

Macadamia Nut Oil is a lot like Jojoba oil because it is similar to human sebum. It helps to protect and lubricate the skin in the same way sebum would. It absorbs quickly and helps regenerate the skin. It’s great for dry and damaged skin.

Hazelnut Oil is particularly good for oily, acne prone skin types. It is a light, non-greasy oil with astringent properties that helps tighten and tone skin. It has a very high level of essential fatty acids. It helps stimulate circulation and cell regeneration. This should be diluted to use on the skin.

Sunflower Oil is perfect for all skin types. It’s light, non-greasy and packed full of vitamins A, D, and E. It is easily absorbed by the skin and provides more nutrition that most oils.

Rosehip Seed Oil has a scent but it works really well on normal to dry and mature skin as well as scarring. It has vitamin C and A which helps reduce signs of aging by speeding up cell regeneration. This oil does not work with acne prone or oily skin. It should only be used as an additive.

There are many other oils out there but these are some of the most popular. I’m also a huge fan of argan oil but I’ll be doing a separate post on it in the future. Leave me a comment telling me which oil is your favorite. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Basic Skin Type Breakdown

Dry Skin: Dry skin is exactly what it sounds like – dry. It’s especially dry and tight, right after washing. Those with dry skin are more prone to wrinkles and show signs of aging. Dry skin can be very flaky. People with this type of skin have no visible pores.

Cream cleansers and moisturizing products are best for those with dry skin. Products for sensitive skin are also really good for this skin type.

Normal Skin: Those with normal skin are very lucky because they are not prone to blemishes, have smooth skin, and have comfortable feeling skin because of the right balance of oil.

Those with normal skin have a much wider variety of products they can chose from. They can use whatever they find that works for them.

Oily Skin: People with oily skin have larger, visible pores and appear to be shiny. They have overactive oil glands and can be more susceptible for acne. They usually look younger and wrinkle-free for longer than those with dry skin thanks to their oil production. They are also more resistant to sun damage.

It’s really important to not strip the skin, even though that’s the first think you think of doing when you are overly oily. Oily skin is often a problem that occurs because of using harsh products that remove oil which leads the oil glands to produce even more oil to make up for it. Believe it or not – using oil on oily skin is really effective. Just Google Oil Cleansing Method and see for yourself! And remember, it’s important to keep skin moisturized even if you think it might be counter-intuitive.

Combination Skin: This one is simple to define – it means you have an oily t-zone and dry cheeks.

People with this type of skin are often confused as to what type of products they should use, but it is best to use products aimed at people with normal skin.

Tagged with: The Science of Beauty
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Beauty Dictionary - Episode 1

There has been a lot of debate about ingredients in beauty products lately. Did you know that the beauty industry is one of the least regulated in the United States? Europe has banned over 1000 ingredients from being used in beauty products while America only has 9 on the no-no list. I understand that not everyone is going to buy and use only natural products so I decided to dedicate this post to the dirtiest, most toxic ingredients found in mainstream beauty products that you should try to avoid at all cost.

Let’s start off with the most controversial – parabens. Simply put, parabens are synthetic preservatives that are used in the majority of products from shampoo and conditioner to lotion, toothpaste, soap, cosmetics as well as everything in between. These preservatives can penetrate body tissue, mimic estrogen, are linked with acute and chronic health problems, and have been found in breast tumor tissue. They also have been linked to skin toxicity, allergies, cancer, endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, and tissue irritation*. Parabens have many different prefixes but just keep a look out for the word paraben and steer clear.

Phthalates are in more than half of the personal care and beauty products (like nail polish, most makeup products, deodorants, hair products, perfumes, and even feminine hygiene products) on the market today. Basically phthalates are solvents that are usually labeled as “fragrance”. They help keep nail polish from chipping, allow fragrance to last longer on the skin, and enhance the ability for a product to penetrate the skin. These “solvents” affect both male and female reproductive systems, can cause cancer, disrupt the endocrine system, lead to toxicity of the brain, kidneys, liver, and lungs and are also toxic in the environment**. The CDC performed a study and every individual they tested had detectable levels of phthalates in their system***.

You’ve probably heard arguments against SLS, which stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate. These have gotten a lot of media time lately and for good reason. These two ingredients are found in anything that produces a lather like shampoo, conditioner, soap, body washes, toothpaste, and even moisturizers and mouthwash. They are known irritants and can lead to some serious health problems. They enhance the skins ability to absorb things, so other toxic chemicals are helped into the blood stream more readily. Since the skin plays a huge role in the immune system, SLS lowers its immunological response****. Look out for the words SLS, SLES, or ingredients that have the words PEG, xynol, cetareth or oleth in them. (If you have dandruff, SLS can be a cause of it.)

That’s it for today. We’ll continue talking about other yucky ingredients next week. Let me know if this is helpful and if you would like me to continue this as a series. It’s imperative to read labels and be conscience of what you put in and on your body. See you soon!

 

* , **, **** Information found in the book Easy Green Living by Renee Loux

*** Center For Disease Control and Prevention. “Natural Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.” 2001

Tagged with: The Science of Beauty
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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Nutrition That Skin Needs

Let's talk about what we can ingest to help keep our skin healthy in general. Our bodies need a constant supply of nutrients to stay healthy, supple, and give our cells the encouragement they need to regenerate.

We all know that certain foods, and food groups, are better for us than others. Whole foods are better than processed foods and fast food just isn’t very good for us or our bodies. I’m certainly not telling you to avoid eating your favorite foods, because I believe that we can eat whatever we like in moderation. If I want a bacon cheeseburger, I’ll allow myself to have one. Remember – I’m not a healthcare professional, so this is just what I like to eat to keep my body and skin functioning properly.

Vitamin A helps us have healthy skin, bones, teeth and eyes. It also plays a part in the immune and reproductive systems. They help increase the rate at which our cells renew and divide.

  • Foods rich in Vitamin A – Mango, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin

 

B Vitamins are so good for us and our bodies. In addition to aiding metabolic function, B1 supports nerve function, B2 supports the health of our skin and normal vision, and B6 aids in red blood cell production and also helps moods.

  • Foods rich in B Vitamins – Spinach, peas, tomatoes, watermelon, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes, bananas, and acorn squash.

 

Vitamin C is crucial for our metabolism and immune system. It is a vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. It helps our bodies produce collagen, which keeps our skin healthy and firm. It helps to keep our skin elastic and younger looking. It also works hand in hand with Iron for better absorption and stronger bones.

  • Foods rich in Vitamin C – Spinach, cabbage, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, and strawberries

 

Vitamin E is another vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. It is crucial for healthy cells.

  • Foods rich in Vitamin E – Avocado, wheat based cereals, nuts and sweet potatoes

 

Folate is also vital, as it plays a crucial role in new cell formation.

  • Foods rich in Folate – Tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus.

 

Potassium is an important mineral to include in our diets. It helps to maintain a balance of electrolytes and fluids within our bodies. It deals with muscle contractions and the transmission of nerve impulses.

  • Foods rich in Potassium – Potatoes, acorn squash, artichoke, spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, avocado, grapefruit, watermelon, banana, strawberries, spinach, peas, and tomatoes

 

Zinc helps wounds heal properly and helps to regulate oil production and promotes tissue repair.

  • Foods rich in Zinc – Spinach, red meat, shellfish, lentils, broccoli, peas, green beans and tomatoes.

 

Essential fatty acids help protect skin cells and also enables them to repair and regenerate more effectively. They are an important building block for our skin.

  • Foods rich in essential fatty acids – Oily fish, walnuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds

 

Cranberries, grapes, and green tea are a few more foods that have skin benefits. They help get reduce inflammation, which is a major factor in almost all skin conditions.

Another important thing to remember is that raw fruits and veggies have more nutrition than cooked ones, and are more beneficial for health.

Do you have any recipes that feature some of these ingredients that you would like to share? I’d love to hear them! Have a wonderful weekend!

Tagged with: The Science of Beauty