A Supposedly Healthy Vegan Treat Landed Me In The ER

A hospital visit wasn’t what I signed up for when I went vegan.

April 27, 2016

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? 

July 26, 2013

A little Respect for The Cocktail, please!

When I was knee high to a grasshopper (the insect kind, not the drink containing crème de menthe), my father bought me a “mocktail” (a non-alcoholic concoction of fruit juice, crushed ice and grenadine) at a restaurant. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by the delectable delights decorated by those tiny umbrellas and toothpick-skewered cherries. A cocktail is not only about what’s on the inside. It’s definitely a book to be judged by its cover. If it doesn’t have garnish, it’s not a cocktail in my opinion! You can’t shake together a mix of sweet spirits, cream, juice and ice, stick it in an ordinary glass and guzzle it down. There has to be some effort, some pizzazz, some style put into these delicacies! So, as a self-described expert on the consumption of these wicked potions of sin and merriment, I would like to shine a spotlight on the Cinderella of the bar and offer hints as to enjoying her correctly.

When buying cocktails
1. Don’t bother going to a pub, where the barman looks like he’d be more comfortable in a blue singlet and a pair of stubbies.
2. Know your stuff! Don’t embarrass yourself by saying “I want one of those thingies that has the three different coloured layers in it”. The bar attendant is going to roll his eyes when you’re not looking and give you way more of the non-alcoholic liquid than the stuff you really want.
3. Be prepared to pay top dollar! If you think a cocktail should cost anything less than $7, stick to pre-mixes. It takes skill and top quality ingredients to make a good one. You wouldn’t ask a highly regarded pastry chef to whip up a batch of shake-n-pour pancakes, now would you?
4. Now’s not the time to be fussy. If you like your drink a certain way, it’s fine if you’re talking martinis. But a “Sex On The Beach” is made to a formula! You can’t deviate from the accepted norm or it simply is not “Sex On The Beach”. If your thing is to add and subtract ingredients, stick to ordering Whoppers with extra cheese and without pickles.
5. Expect and demand your cocktail in a glass. Anything offered up in a fruit should be reserved for poolside on the Lido Deck of the Love Boat.

Drinking cocktails
1. If your goal is to get drunk, you don’t need to do that in style. That’s what beer and hard spirits are for. Please, when partaking of cocktail indulgences, show a little class. They should be sipped with finesse, coveted for the way you look while drinking them, and enjoyed to the smallest puddle in the bottom of the glass.
2. Save the garnish for last. Try to refrain from munching on the pineapple piece, the cherry and the orange slice until the end. There is an exception to this. A delectable pina colada is even more divine when you can dip the skewered cherry into the froth and lick it a few times. Just do it tastefully!
3. No licking the inside of the glass, or tipping your head back as far as you can to retrieve the remaining dregs of your cocktail. For goodness sake girl, just have another!

By Gina Luca * Gina is a freelance writer whose passion for talking to people on the Internet provides much inspiration for her writing.

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June 10, 2003