5 Things You Need To Know About Natural Cosmetics

With more and more women becoming conscious about the ingredients used in cosmetics, the demand for natural cosmetics is on the rise. There are more natural beauty products on the market than ever before. But are all natural and organic products the same, and are you getting what you expect when you buy a product labelled ‘natural’? We look at the truth behind natural cosmetics and which natural cosmetics brands we use everyday.

1. Natural cosmetics come in different categories

Yes, even when brands scream ‘natural’, the cosmetics may be widely divided as those containing some ingredients collected from nature; the all-natural products having every single ingredient sourced from nature; cosmetics made with organic ingredients (where ‘organic’ represents a standard of products); and cosmetics made with 100% organic ingredients. While we tend to believe that natural cosmetics will not have any chemical components, that’s definitely not always true.

2. Cosmetics and labels

There are no hard and fast rules so far as labelling cosmetics are concerned. So even if that lipstick contains a hint of strawberry flavour, it may be labelled as ‘natural’.  Different agencies around the world certify cosmetics as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ based on different sets of criteria. So whether the organic cosmetic you bought contains 100% organic components can only be decided from an analysis of the ingredients.

3. Check to see what you’re actually getting with natural cosmetics

Concerned about parabens and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate)? Plenty of ‘natural’ beauty brands and products still contain parabens and SLS  so don’t assume a product with the words ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ on the label is free of all those questionable ingredients. Also, check to see if your natural cosmetics contain fragrance – while you may love the smell of that lip gloss, fragrance in makeup is mostly always synthetic, even if it’s labelled as aromatherapy.

4. Natural cosmetic certifications

How do we know that cosmetics we buy are natural and chemical-free? A good way to know is to check for accreditation with noted certification agencies. In Australia, Australian Certified Organic is an agency that checks cosmetics and their ingredients with its world-leading certification scheme Cosmetics Organic and natural Standard, COSMOS.  Check with Australian Certified Organic to see if your natural cosmetics brand is everything they say they are.

5. Truth about mineral makeup

If you thought your expensive and branded mineral makeup is pure and natural, then you may be in for a surprise. While mineral beauty products include ingredients such as natural minerals, remember that minerals have been part of the cosmetics industry long before the ‘mineral makeup’ concept swept the market. Also most cosmetics include chemicals to increase their shelf life, and mineral makeup products are no exception. Mineral makeup products can also contain synthetic minerals which may cause irritation and allergic reactions. So before you reach for the latest mineral foundation or bronzer, do your research first.

Some of our favourite natural cosmetics brands include Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics, Ere Perez and Organix. What are your favourite natural cosmetics brands? 

5 Reasons to Use Debt Consolidation Loans

A few maxed out credit cards, a personal loan that’s accumulating a lot of interest, and suddenly you’re feeling swamped with financial problems. Believe me, it has happened to the best of people, when at one point in our lives, most of us have faced financial hardships.

But you have to come to terms with the situation, stay calm, and focus on how to come out of the mess. We look at five ways debt consolidation loans can help you financially and allow you to get back in control of your money.

1. Lower interest rate

Typically, a credit card loan is calculated at an interest rate which may be anywhere between 12.5% to 23% per annum; while a debt consolidation loan may charge 8.5% to 18.99% in interest, depending on fixed or variable interest rate. But remember that a lower interest rate on a higher principle amount can result in you paying a lot more over the long term.

2. Improves credit rating

If you’ve opted to take a debt consolidation loan, rest assured that payment of all your assorted loans on time will improve your credit rating in the eyes of the financial institutions, making you eligible for future loans or mortgages, should the need arise.

3. One regular payment schedule

Consolidated debt means one single payment every month, instead of numerous payments to be made to various financial institutions. Suddenly making repayments becomes a smooth, quick process, without you having to get stressed managing all the loan repayments spaced over the month.

4. Reduce debt processing fees

Sick of those late payment fees? A debt consolidation loan will work towards lowering your processing charges for each loan or mortgage you owe. But this will only work if you do your homework, and compare the pros and cons of each loan versus others you have already started. So do your research carefully.

5. Control of finances

A conscious decision to go for a consolidated loan will bring you a feeling of control of your finances, as you will be forced to look at your spending habits and take stock. Also Equated Monthly Instalments (EMI) on your loan will take away a chunk of your income every month, forcing you to take charge of your finances once again. But this is a good thing!

Check your bank’s website for an online debt consolidation calculator, do plenty of research and speak to your bank or a financial expert before choosing a debt consolidation loan.

Why You Need A Pregnancy Calendar

Now that you are pregnant you will want to know absolutely everything about you and your baby’s health and progress. A week-by-week pregnancy calendar is one of the first things you should look into after you find out you’re pregnant.

There are plenty of online pregnancy calendars as well as apps and good old-fashioned books. Simply enter in the date for your Last Menstrual Period (LMP), and the cycle length of your period, and you will get a week-by-week list of physical changes that will happen to your body and keep you updated on your baby’s progress. Things like when you should expect to feel that first kick or comparing the size of your baby to a piece of fruit so you have a tangible understanding of how big they’re getting.

Pregnancy Trimesters and Due Date

Trimesters are the physicians’ ways of grouping your body changes, and offer an easy way of understanding pregnancy for new parents. A full term pregnancy is usually 40 weeks, and will be divided into three trimesters, each of around three months of duration.

Let’s start with the due date. The due date of your pregnancy is generally calculated from the day of conception, which is again calculated from the day of your ovulation. Your physician will determine your due date and there are plenty of online due date calculators like this tool from Mayo Clinic.

The first trimester usually consists of first 12 weeks of the pregnancy and are the most critical of your pregnancy. You will likely feel tired so take it easy and start prenatal care.

The second trimester is generally from the 13th week to 28th week. Nausea usually (but not always) is less, and you’ll start to feel your baby kicking.

The third trimester is from 28th week to childbirth – you may be getting uncomfortable and spending all your time in elastic waistbands, but your due date is approaching. Get plenty of rest.

Best Pregnancy Calendars

Russ Baby Pregnancy Calendar – great book which also makes a handy gift for those expecting
What To Expect Pregnancy Calendar – from the makers of the bestselling book What To Expect When You’re Expecting
WebMD Pregnancy Calendar – trusted source in online medical advice

The most important part of your pregnancy is you and your health. So follow medical advice and remember a healthy mother means a healthy baby.

5 Natural Beauty Tips For Gorgeous Skin And Hair

Who doesn’t want glowing skin and strong, shiny hair? And yet  few of us are aware that natural ingredients can greatly help us with soft and young-looking skin and beautiful hair – most of these are probably in your kitchen already! Here are 5 natural beauty tips and tricks for gorgeous skin and hair.

1. Olive Oil to Clean

Try extra virgin olive oil as a cleanser and moisturiser. Dab a small amount onto a cotton ball and wipe your face with it. You can also try mixing it with castor oil for a more heavy duty cleaning, and it’s especially good for removing makeup. You can also use olive oil as a body moisturiser after your shower.

2. Yoghurt for Moisture

Unsweetened yogurt can also work wonders at cleaning your face, locking in the moisture and refreshing dull skin. Start by splashing your face with water. Gently rub some yoghurt on your face and leave it to dry. Wash off to get that natural glow.

3. Oil Scalp Massage

Beautiful hair is the ultimate style secret, and for hair care, the most important part is the condition of your scalp. A warm oil massage can be a good moisturiser for your scalp, stimulating hair growth and improving the natural shine of your hair. Massage extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil into the scalp, leave the oil on for about half an hour, then shampoo it off.

4. Avocado Coconut Hair Mask

It sounds good enough to eat, but this makes an amazing natural hair mask. Once a month use a mask made of a ripe avocado, half a cup of coconut milk, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Leave for 30 minutes, then rinse out with cool water.

5. Avoid Chemicals

Avoid using too many chemicals on your hair for the longterm health of your hair. Give your hair a detox by ditching the serums, straightening creams and hairsprays.

What are you best natural beauty tips and tricks? Tell us in the comments below!

5 Early Signs of Pregnancy You Should Know About

Are you worried that you may be pregnant and it may be too early to show in a home test kit? Did you miss your period and want to know the early signs of pregnancy?

A missed period doesn’t always mean that you’re pregnant. Most of us have a missed period or had a delayed period at least once in our lifetimes, which did not translate into a pregnancy. So take a deep breath and relax. This could be a false alarm, or yes, you may be pregnant!

So is there a way to know if you are pregnant even before it shows up on the home test kit or on the blood test report? Although these are the best ways to confirm your pregnancy, certain bodily changes, or symptoms, can suggest that you may be, in fact, be pregnant. So check for these early signs:

Tiredness

A sudden, all-encompassing tiredness, the kind that makes you sleepy and cranky throughout the day, can be the first signs of a pregnancy. It’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down.

Nausea

I remember having this terrible nausea, the famed morning sickness of pregnancy, even when I was yet to miss a period, which made me aware of something amiss. Any particular smell can trigger your morning sickness, sometimes it can even be your own perfume, or your partner’s aftershave.


Cramps

If your period works like clockwork all this time, you may notice some changes before your period is due. Cramping is often noticed during the time you are supposed to have your period, and then you’ll probably notice your missing period. These cramps are light uneasiness, nothing severe, but indications that you may be in for a surprise…

Discharge

You may notice a white discharge, typically a little heavier than normally what you have before your periods. This happens as vaginal walls thicken due to the release of hormones, which are part of the bodily changes in a pregnancy.

Breast tenderness

Rapid hormonal changes with the onset of a pregnancy are often reflected in the breasts becoming sore, tender, or even heavier. It can start as early as two weeks into the pregnancy, and discomfort tends to reduce with time.

Once you realise that you may be pregnant, here’s a word of advice, take it slow. Give your body plenty of rest and nutrition, increase your fluid intakes, and most importantly, stay relaxed and happy.

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