Archive | March, 2014

What You Need to Know About Natural Dental Care

27 Mar

Back in high school–at that stage in life when every girl wants to be liked and get compliments from boys in her class–I was told (via the grapevine, of course) that a particular boy said I had nice teeth. Uh, thanks? It’s not really the type of praise my 14 year old self was looking for (unless it was coming from my dentist), but now many years later I can appreciate the compliment. I was lucky never to have braces, only a few fillings, and overall good dental hygiene.

When I first began purging personal care products to make way for natural alternatives, toothpaste (I am guilty to admit) was low on my list. Now, I recommend toothpaste as one of the FIRST products to switch out because of its direct contact with the mouth.

All Natural dental care

Look at those chompers…

What you need to know:

Toothpaste is not necessary to clean your teeth. . . crazy, right? I know it kind of blew my mind when I first learned about this.  For years I had heard toothpaste companies touting their products as if they were our only saving grace from cavities and tooth decay. In reality it is the brushing motion and activities like flossing that really clean away food particles and plaque buildup. The toothpaste is just a ‘nice-to-have’ for freshening breath.

So are chemicals like triclosan and propylene glycol, synthetic dyes, preservatives, and sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) really necessary for the job of a breath mint? I will admit switching to a natural toothpaste, like my favourite Green Beaver, was a bit of an adjustment; mostly because without the SLS it doesn’t foam. But now I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s like if you have ever given up sugar and then down the road eat jelly beans, the sweetness is unbearable.

Natural Toothcare

Oil pulling, a natural toothpaste, floss, and tongue scraper are all part of my daily routine.

DISCLAIMER: There is a good chance that if you go natural, you dental hygiene will ACTUALLY improve! That’s right, I said it. Switching my toothpaste made me take better care of my teeth for three reasons: one, I was paranoid at first that I was sabotaging my dental hygiene for the sake of non-toxic products and so I started flossing religiously; two, without the coating sensation of foam artificially making my mouth feel clean, I brush more; three, I introduced new cleaning habits. I started tongue scraping which sounds kind of gross (and is a bit gross) but is really effective to eliminate bacteria from your tongue which is a cause of most bad breath. I also started oil pulling, which is an age- old Ayurvedic practice that has been used for many reasons (I will get into those at another time). By swishing 1Tbs of coconut oil in my mouth for 10- 20 minutes in the morning (not as cumbersome as it sounds) the naturally anti-microbial oil binds to bacteria and plaque with the help of saliva enzymes–all of which I spit out (in the garbage, never down the drain!). Bonus: it assists in whitening my teeth. . . but teeth whitening is a whole other topic for another day.

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned fluoride. I always respectfully bow out of this discussion because frankly the jury is still out on its affect to our bodies. I like to allow people to make their own decision (but if you want to know more about the fluoride debate, you can read here). If you ultimately decide that you do not want to forego fluoride in your toothpaste there are certain natural brands that include it in their formulas.

All in all I’m happy, my dentist is happy, and (as far as I know) my friends are happy with my dental hygiene.



Husk: a holistic beauty boutique in Toronto

19 Mar

Since the opening of Husk last year, I have been enamored by this store for its beauty, philosophy, and offerings. Located in Toronto’s upscale Yorkville neighborhood, Husk offers a wide array of specially curated natural beauty lines and edible treats; many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the city. Husk carries a mix of local and international skin care lines like La Bella Figura, RMS Beauty, Tata Harper, May Lindstrom, The Body Deli, Leaves of Trees, and Graydon. The staff is so friendly and knowledgeable, very approachable, and I am always greeted with a smile. I really cannot say enough good things about the store, and when asked by friends where to purchase natural beauty products, I often find myself directing them to Husk.

Husk, Toronto

Husk carries fresh juices, raw treats, and ‘good-enough-to-eat’ skin care products in its refrigerated display. Photo by Bob Gundu, courtesy of Husk

I was so happy to have a chance to ask Stephanie De Gasperis, Husk’s founder and owner, a few questions about the store and the philosophy behind it. Here’s what she had to say:

Where did the idea behind Husk arise? When did you decide that you wanted to open a store for health and beauty? I was still working in real estate when I picked up Kristen Ma’s Beauty: Pure + Simple and I remember pulling over in a parking lot on the way home just to read–I was so stunned by what the beauty industry had become (using toxins and harsh chemicals to achieve unrealistic results) and was inspired by the power of nature and the healing effects of plant oils etc. Starting to use natural products myself, I noticed immediate and effortless results! Becoming a nutritionist shortly after and exploring a holistic lifestyle convinced me that this was something worthy of sharing. [The name] Husk symbolizes our interconnectedness with the Earth–its a kind of play on words–the husk of a plant protecting its precious interior much like our skin (also or largest organ). I like the appeal of the name Husk (to both men and women) as well.

Curating a collection of products must be difficult (and overwhelming!). How did you choose which product lines to carry? We fell in love with all of them. Each brand is there because there is something special about it–collecting ideas and brands from different communities across the continent–many are handmade in small batches and we are grateful for the intimate relationship we share with each of them.

What’s the best thing about owning Husk? I can share wellness and pure products that nourish and heal with our incredible community and staff. Canada is a great place where there seems to be a collective awareness and respect for our precious relationship with the Earth.

As a store owner you may not be ‘allowed’ to have favourites, but what are your go-to makeup and skincare choices? ‘Josh Rosebrook’s’ Deep hydrating serum for skin and hair! ‘The Body Deli’ Tahitian Vanilla Body Oil, ‘Tata Harper’ Be Adored lip treatment/tint, ‘RMS’ ‘Un-Cover Up’ concealer, ‘Giddy Yoyo’ chocolate, and ‘Rallis’ olive oil to nourish inside and out.

Bright and open space at Husk offers a beautiful environment to display its luxurious offerings.

Bright and open space at Husk offers a beautiful environment to display its luxurious offerings. Photo by Bob Gundu, courtesy of Husk

What natural beauty products would you recommend to first time customers? 100% Pure’ shampoo and conditioners and ‘The Body Deli’ face and body products! (These are the best lotions, washes, oils, and scrubs.) ‘The Body Deli’ Melon Foaming Cleanser is the most popular face product we have in the store for both men and women (especially with first time customers).

As we know, beauty products can only go so far in terms of keeping healthy, glowing skin, what habits do you suggest to keep the glow inside and out? Stay hydrated with pure/filtered water–you can only moisturize the skin so much topically, it needs to come from the inside as well and a typical lifestyle can be quite dehydrating (i.e. sweat, soda, coffee, tea, and alcohol can all dehydrate the body which is 70% water). Also, read ingredient lists at the grocery store/beauty counter and balance movement and rest. Listen to your body.

If you are in Toronto, drop in and say hello to Stephanie and the lovely staff at the store on 96 Scollard St., or visit

Have you visited? What’s your favourite product at Husk?


One Love Organics Review

7 Mar

Hello Lovely Readers!

If you haven’t heard of One Love Organics (OLO), it’s about time you did. These organic skincare products are both highly functional and adorable! (I know, you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but pretty packaging definitely adds to the allure).

I recently purchased two OLO products: the Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm and the Easy Does it Foaming Cleanser. Each product works amazingly well on its own, but they are even better as a dynamic duo in what OLO has coined the double cleansing method.

One Love Organics Easy Does it Foaming Cleanser and Skin Saviour Waterless Beauty Balm

The Skin Savior is a multipurpose balm and can be used as a rich moisturizer (good for eczema), makeup base for loose mineral pigments, mask, and cleanser (which is my favourite use).

As you may know, I love cleansing with oil and this heavenly scented vanilla and citrus balm is such a treat to use! Made with cold-pressed oils (coconut and mango to name a few) it works to break up oil, dirt, and makeup that is hard to remove with a regular cleanser. To use, I massage the balm onto a dry face and spend a few minutes working it in (while enjoying the creamy texture and lovely scent). After, I remove it with a soft, dry microfiber cloth; leaving my skin feeling both clean and moisturized!

One Love Organics Skin Savior Waterless Beauty Balm

The real magic comes when you follow it up with the Easy Does it Foaming Cleanser.* This second ‘wash’ removes everything else that the balm did not pick up. I often find foaming washes are very drying, but luckily I didn’t have that problem with this soap free cleanser which, as the name would have you believe, foams quite well despite it being “soap free”.

*Note: I have used other gentle cleansers for my ‘second wash’ and they seem to work just as well, but a good gentle cleaner, like this one, is hard to come by.

“We believe in the power of the beauty ritual to renew, relax, and transform.” – One Love Organics

An added bonus: both products come in travel size, which is what prompted me to purchase them in the first place. Next month I am going on a big trip to Asia and instead of bringing my whole cleansing arsenal with me, I have these perfect size OLO products to take and enjoy along the way!

The next OLO products to try are the Daily Body Serum in either lavender or neroli, and the Vitamin C active moisture serum. Both have received rave reviews and look extremely indulgent.

Have you tried any One Love Organics products? Tell me about them!

If you are in the U.S., One Love Organics products can be purchased directly on the website, but they currently do not ship outside of the country. There are many online stores selling OLO products (I bought mine from Clementine Fields), as well as boutiques. If you are in Toronto, check out Blossom Lounge in the Distillery district. 

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