Why This New Haircare Brand Is the Coolest on the Block

Hairstory Studio is anything but average — so why should its employees be? Led by Michael Gordon, the founder of Bumble and Bumble, the New York–based beauty brand has enlisted a crew of nouveau grunge creatives as skilled at multitasking as the cleansers and sprays it creates. “Everyone here wears many hats,” notes photo assistant, photo editor, and content manager Lucy Nystrom.

Cat Meyer—who started out as a house model and is now a producer, content director, and staff yoga instructor—explains, “We’re a hair product and production studio with hairdressers, videographers, photographers, illustrators, and writers. It’s a collective of multitalented and diverse people.” As different as they may be, all have grown close. “It’s a very open space. We have meals together. We talk freely,” declares Andrew Rosenberg, a coach who scouts and introduces hairdressers to the brand. “We want to see one another succeed.”

 

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Workers sound like official ambassadors, but they’re genuinely obsessed with Hairstory’s eco-aware line. “It’s a good feeling to know that what you’re putting on your hair and skin isn’t full of damaging chemicals, and what you’re rinsing down the drain isn’t harmful,” asserts filmmaker, social media team member, and stylist Meaghan Houck. Andrew adds: “I love what Hair Balm stands for: easy, modern, no-fuss hair.”

 

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Distinct paths led each pro to the studio, but they all join forces in the innovational hub. Clara Rae was street scouted as a model, then
became a makeup artist and coach;
hairstylist apprentice and studio manager Beth Shanefelter spotted her job on Instagram; and Lucy met Michael at a barbecue. “I think what makes it so strong is that everyone is using their considerable talents to execute the same vision,” Andrew states. “We all feel we are part of something larger than ourselves.”

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Toxins in Black hair care and beauty products put Black women’s, girls’ and haircare professionals’ health at risk

natural-curly-hairstyles-black-women Black Women for Wellness calls for federal oversight and regulation of Black hair and beauty products

, Black Women for Wellness released “Natural Evolutions: One Hair Story,” a report outlining the health risks faced by Black women and girls due to a lack of federal oversight and regulation of hair care and beauty product manufacturers. As a result of the sustained use of and exposure to toxic chemicals found in many hair care and beauty products over their lifetimes, both consumers and professionals face potentially devastating health consequences.

“The hair care and beauty products marketed to women are grossly unregulated — lacking proper testing or labeling,” explains Nourbese Flint, program manager at Black Women for Wellness. “Failing to prohibit the use of toxins in these products — or at least requiring that these toxins be disclosed to consumers via product labels — is dangerous and detrimental to women’s health.”

“Natural Evolutions” reveals the health ramifications of prolonged exposure and use of beauty products, including aggressive cancers, pulmonary risks and reproductive health challenges such as infertility and increased risk of miscarriage. These risks are especially true for individuals with prolonged exposure to these toxins through work as a beauty industry professional. For example, during a focus group of Black hair care professionals, a participant said that “after 20 years in the beauty industry, my friends have no fingerprints. They literally cannot go to the DMV, put their hands down and have a scan.”

The report calls for federal regulation of Black hair care product manufacturers, underscoring the need for transparency and education about the health risks for consumers and hair care professionals.

“We are seeing beauty professionals burdened with long-term, severe health impacts from exposure to toxic chemicals at work,” said Teni Adewumi, program coordinator with Black Women for Wellness. “Professionals should be equipped with the information and education they need to make informed decisions about hair care products. If not, how can they protect themselves and their clients?”

NEW REPORT LINKS FIBROIDS, RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES TO TOXIC CHEMICALS IN MANY BLACK HAIR PRODUCTS

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Not feeling well?

Well, according to a recently released report, it might be some of the chemicals in your hair care products that are making you sick.

The 60-page report entitled Natural Evolutions: One Hair Story was released on Tuesday by Black Women for Wellness, which is an L.A.-based advocacy and research group dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women. You can read the report in its entirety here.

But to summarize, it is the result of five years of research, which included “literature reviews, focus groups, data collection and interviews with African American beauty professionals to determine chemical exposure and correlating health status, of hair care products directed at Black women.”

And as noted in the report’s introduction, “Each year, Black women spend about 9 billion dollars on beauty products alone, twice as much as any other ethnic group. By 2017, the Black hair care industry is estimated to reach $500 billion, taking into the account the changing nature of the market and the increase in online sales. However, many of the products marketed to and used by Black women are rarely researched for toxic health consequences; in the rare cases that they are, Black hair products are found to be some of the most toxic beauty products on the market.”

While the report did not focus on any specific products, researchers did provide a list of ingredients including fragrance, DMDM hydantoin, linalool methylparaben and propylparaben, which were found in over 50 products used or recommended by hair care stylists. Moreover, “Several of these compounds have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, among other health effects. DMDM hydantoin has been found to be a skin toxicant and allergen, as well as a formaldehyde-releasing agent.”

Chief among the health concerns associated with the chemicals used in many of our hair care products is uterine fibroids. And, according to the report, a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiologyhas found a link between the use of hair relaxers and the condition that is estimated to affect 80 percent of Black women over their lifetime.

The report also highlights other reproductive developmental issues associated with chemicals in our hair care products, including infertility and spontaneous miscarriages.

And as the report notes, “Girls who reported using chemical hair oils and hair perms were 1.4 times more likely to experience early puberty after adjusting for race, ethnicity, and year of birth. In addition, other studies have linked early puberty to hair detangler use by Black girls. In one of the studies African American girls as young as two years old started showing signs of puberty after using products containing animal placenta found in many detanglers and conditioners.”

In addition to reproductive concerns, the report also links formaldehyde, ammonia, and bleaching agents – all chemicals that are commonly found in our hair care products – to respiratory disorders.

More specifically, “A study conducted in 2007 with 344 women in Nigeria found that respiratory symptoms were more common among hairdressers as compared to the community at large. Frequent sneezing, coughing, and chest tightness were found in the hair stylists. In addition, the mean pulmonary function test (FEV1, FVC, and FEV1/FVC) was lower in hairdressers, with no relation to duration of employment in the industry. In short, a beauty professional’s ability to breathe deeply is compromised once entering the profession.”

According to the report, Black hair care professionals who are exposed to higher levels of chemicals than the general public are most at risk of developing health problems. As part of its research, BWW interviewed L.A.-based hair professionals between 2011 and 2014 and found that 65 percent of them use permanent straighteners or lye/no-lye relaxers; sixty-three percent used permanent waves and texturizers; and 60 percent used hair dyes, all of which contain chemicals that have been linked to carcinogenic materials, respiratory problems and allergies and reproductive issues.

In fact, as the study notes, “Of the stylists we talked to, over 100 health issues were reported. The most common health issues were headaches, dizziness, and chemical burns. About 9% of the women stylists surveyed had health issues directly related to reproductive health.”

As far as solutions, the report said that more education and awareness, as well as easy-to-read labels, would help to “mitigate risk factors.”

The report also called for more federal oversight.

More specifically:

“Creating and enforcing policies and regulations that use the precautionary principle when evaluating chemical safety is an important step in mitigating the risk of toxic exposure to the public as well as with workers. In addition, a system is needed that can regulate and remove chemicals from personal care, hair and cleaning products that have a proven health risk in a timely and effective manner.

Having policies looking at labeling products of concern as well as maintaining an awareness of the need for stronger regulations on labeling and testing of products would allow consumers to make more informed choices about the products they wish to buy.”

4 Things You Can Do for a Happier Workday

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Probiotic cold brew isn’t the only route to staying sane, healthy, and productive when things get crazy at the office. Perhaps no one knows this better than Sophie Keller, cofounder and “chief happiness officer”—for real—of Los Angeles’s Village Workspaces. When the brand’s second coworking space opened in West L.A. last month, Keller and her crew made employee wellness a top priority, bringing in an organic and gluten-free vending machine, desk-side Juice Served Here delivery, and in-house yoga, fitness, and meditation classes, among other things. (Um, when can I move in?)

All of these healthy perks aren’t just an attempt to chase trends, says the positive psychology expert: “[Employee] happiness and well-being are the greatest economic advantages a company can have…so when we make our members happier, we’re hopefully influencing their bottom line.”

What if your workplace doesn’t have free massages and an open bar? According to Keller, there are loads of little rituals we can adopt on an individual level to boost job satisfaction. “It’s easy to let the day control you, instead of you controlling the day,” she says, adding that having a happiness practice is a major source of empowerment and, in turn, on-the-clock contentment. Here, Keller fills us in on four of her favorite rites that make the 9-to-5 a little more blissful. What you put in your coffee cup, however, is still totally your call.

Make your to-do list more mindful.
If your out-of-control workload sends you into panic mode, Keller suggests approaching it with intention. “When you get to work, take two minutes to get in the zone and manifest calmness,” she says. “Then write a list of goals you want to accomplish that day.”

Now, here’s the kicker: After numbering your goals in order of importance, Keller suggests putting a star next to all the tasks you can accomplish in two minutes or less and tackling those first. “You can get five tasks done in ten minutes,” she says. “I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to get on a roll quickly!”

Get moving.
By now, you probably know why it pays to have a standing desk: Keller says it helps you burn calories, rev circulation, and boost productivity, all of which ultimately leads you to feel happier. “I do at least two to three hours standing each day, and to help me stay focused, I pick projects that I know will take that much time to complete,” she says.

If that’s not an option, Keller suggests breaking up your day with a walk or a short bout of exercise for a natural energy boost—and some mood-enhancing sunshine.

To find out what else you should do to make your workday better, head over to Well + Good.

20 Of The Best Hair Tips You’ll Ever Read

Our hair is one of our most valuable accessories! It can completely change your appearance. It goes with us everywhere, and let’s be honest, it can be quite the hassle sometimes, but with a few hair tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can make your hair routine faster and easier while still getting the look you’re going for.

I think for the most part, we all want what we don’t have. I have the thickest hair on the planet (my ponytail looks like a horsetail), and I’ve always wished I could just have flat hair that behaved itself. But, as I’m getting older, I’m starting to appreciate my mess of a mane. I actually kind of like my huge hair now! It’s really all about making the best out of what you have. Here are a few of my favorite tips that make my hair routine just a little bit easier.

1. Concentrate On The Ends

Unless you have really dry scalp, most of use don’t need the extra moisture conditioner provides on our roots. Our scalp naturally produces oil every day, so adding any extra can give your hair a greasy look, especially if you don’t shampoo every day. For the best results, try to apply your conditioner on the bottom 3/4 of your hair, really concentrating on the ends.

2. Spray Your Bobby Pins

Do your bobby pins tend to slide out? Mine do! In fact, I never use my bobby pins without a quick spray of hairspray or dry shampoo first. It gives them a little extra grip so you don’t have to worry about your hair style falling out.

Place your bobby pins on a paper towel or tissue, give them a light spray, and then allow them to dry for a minute or two before inserting them into your hair. This is especially helpful on fine, straight and thin hair.

3. Switch To Silk

I think that most of us sleep on a cotton pillow case, but there are so many benefits to switching to silk or satin. Not only is it better for your skin, but it does wonders for your hair! Cotton robs your hair of moisture, is more likely to cause bed head (especially if you have bangs), and is much harsher on your hair, causing damage and split ends. It doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference, but we sleep on it every night, so it adds up. Silk and satin pillow cases also feel luxurious — definitely worth the extra expense!

4. Massage Your Scalp

Giving yourself a scalp massage in the shower every morning may seem like a waste of time, but it really does stimulate your hair growth and enhance the strength of your roots. So, if you’re growing your hair out, try to do this every day! Why not? It feels great! Did you know that the increased blood flow to your scalp from a massage can also put you in a better mood, reduce stress, and relieve pain by improving circulation? Sounds like it’s worth every minute.

5. Use a Wide-Tooth Comb

Oops! I’ve been making this mistake for years — combing the tangles out of my wet hair with a paddle brush. After washing your hair, use a wide-tooth comb to get those tangles out instead. The comb doesn’t tug and pull at your hair like a regular brush, so it safely and easily removes tangles with less damage. If you are really prone to tangles, consider leaving a comb in the shower, and use it while you still have conditioner in your hair to remove any stubborn tangles.

6. Fake a Super Long Ponytail

I wear a ponytail just about every day. How have I lived so long without knowing this secret?! There’s nothing sexier than a super long and full ponytail. And, I have so much hair I think this little trick would work great on me. Just hop on over to the Free People Blog to get the instructions! Some pretty amazing stuff over there.

7. Use Spin Pins

If you like to put your hair up in a bun, you should give these pins a spin! It only takes two to hold up even the thickest of hair. This is a great alternative to using 3 dozen bobby pins to keep that perfect bun in place. I’ve purchased them from both Target and Walmart. I’m certain they are also sold online or at beauty supply stores.

8. Say Yes To Lazy Days

We all have those lazy days, where the idea of standing in front of the mirror messing with our mane is just not going to happen. Or, those morning when you wake up late and just don’t have the time. Quick tip: keep a spray bottle handy on your bathroom counter, and use it to quickly fix bed head. This is especially helpful if you have bangs like me! Sometimes I wake up and my bangs are sticking straight up. Instead of washing, drying and styling my hair, I just give my bangs a quick spray and then use a hair dryer and round brush to make them as good as new!

9. Fake A Fuller Ponytail

Hey, not all of you were blessed with horse hair, and that’s ok. Just fake it! Add that bump and fullness to an otherwise flat ponytail with this simple trick. Go check out the instructions over at Artzy Creations!

10. Brush Before You Wash

Most of us have never even considered the idea of brushing our hair before we jump in the shower, but it makes sense. We lose a lot of hair during the washing process, and guess where all of that hair goes? Down the drain! To reduce clogs, brush before you wash, especially if you are prone to tangles.

11. Wavy Side Down

But wait, isn’t that putting it in upside down? You would think so, but that’s what the wavy part of the bobby pin was designed for — the wavy part of a bobby pin grabs the hair, while the straight part holds it down. This way also looks better if your bobby pins are exposed!

12. No-Heat Curls Do Exist

We all know that our heating tools cause damage to our hair. If only there was a way to get a natural looking curl without them. Hmmm… Well, there is! If you like to wash your hair in the morning, this one won’t work for you, but you’d be surprised at the natural curls you get from just sleeping with your hair tucked in and around a head band. Go check out the instructions including a video tutorial over at The Paper Mama!

13. Camouflage Your Roots

Listen up, blondies! If its been a while since your last salon visit, there are a few ways to camouflage those dark roots. Whether your hair is freshly clean or not, spray them with dry shampoo, and then style your hair with a messy side part. Just zig zag your part a bit with a fine-tooth comb to help conceal those roots until your next hair appointment.

14. Tame Fly-Aways

You don’t always necessarily want to spray your entire head of hair to tame a couple of fly-aways! To combat those little hairs that won’t stay put, keep an old toothbrush handy and spray it with hairspray to easily target your fly-aways without stiffening your entire style.

15. Know Your Curls

Did you know there are a number of wrapping techniques to achieve a different type of curl? Yeah, me neither! I always just do it the same way. You’ll need a curling wand for best results, but this visual certainly helps you achieve your desired results. Go check out The Beauty Snoop for more information!

16. Let Them Absorb

The average woman spends about $300 a year or more on styling products, but most of us are not reaping the full benefits! Just like you let your conditioner sit in your hair a little longer to give it time to work its magic, the same is true for your styling products. After combing your hair out of the shower, apply your products right away and let them absorb into your strands for about 10 minutes before you break out your hair dryer and other various styling tools.

17. Easy Beach Waves

Dry your hair and get those pretty waves all in just one step! I LOVE this idea because it gives you a more natural wave. I don’t like to look like I’ve spent hours in front of the mirror curling and perfecting my waves. Go check out the full instructions with a lot more photos over at Oh So Pretty!

18. Dry Before You Style

When you place a heating tool on wet or damp hair, it creates very hot steam, and causes slow but inevitable damage. Before you break out your curling iron or flat iron, play it safe and make sure your hair is completely dry.

19. Put An End To Split Ends

Split ends have never been considered attractive because they are a sign of over processed, damaged and unhealthy hair. Yeah, you can snip those ends off, but that sure does make it hard to grow out your hair!

The good news: there are a few DIY hair masks made from simple ingredients (you probably already have these in your kitchen) that you can apply regularly without spending the big bucks on salon products. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, so be sure to include plenty of protein in your diet to prevent the ends from splitting in the first place.

Here is my favorite all-natural “split ender”. Mix together one egg yolk, 3 tbsp of olive oil, and 1 tbsp of honey. Let this mixture sit on your ends for at least an hour before washing, and repeat every couple of weeks.

20. Know Your Brushing Basics

 

All of these brushes! What are they for?

1. Paddle — A paddle brush is the most versatile brush, but it is especially helpful if you have long and/or thick hair. It can manage a lot of hair all at once and smooths it down for a sleeker look. If you lack volume, you may want to consider a different type of brush.

2. Wide-Tooth Comb — Because the teeth have such large gaps, these combs are ideal for combing tangles out of wet hair without causing any damage. You might also want to use one in place of a brush if you have frizzy hair.

3. Fine-Tooth Comb — these combs are great for teasing, creating a nice straight part, and for detailed grooming.

4. Thermal — these brushes work with your dryer, locking in heat. They create a faster drying time and allow you to easily curl and smooth your hair under.

5. Boar Bristled — These bristles are gentle and redistribute oils throughout your hair, bringing out its natural shine. They are ideal for fine to normal hair because they also give you a little extra oomph!

6. Skinny Round — This brush is great for bangs or short hair. It smooths your hair while drying and helps manage shorter pieces of hair.

7. Large Round — This brush can straighten or curl your hair while drying, depending on how you use it. A larger round brush is ideal for creating volume to otherwise flat hair.

8. Half Radial — This brush is perfect for shorter styles such as a bob when you like to have your hair curved up or under on the ends.

9. Vented — These brushes are ideal when blow drying your hair because they provide an apple amount of air flow and help create volume.

16 Skin Care Tips Derms Do Themselves

Pros’ personal advice to make everyday a good skin day

Skin care tips from dermatologists

Tempted to corner the dermatologist you meet at a cocktail party for her best skin care advice? No need. We asked top experts in the field how they keep their skin young, fresh, and glowing 24/7.

Pour on the Protection

To ensure she layers on enough sunscreen (“the best way to keep skin youthful”), Garland, TX-based dermatologist Lisa Garner, MD, president of the Women’s Dermatologic Society, fills the hollow of her palm (about ½ teaspoon) with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to coat her face, neck, and ears. “I usually have to apply two coats to finish what I’ve squeezed out, but that’s how I make sure I’m covered.”

Look Sun-Kissed

“A little tint takes years off your face by evening out your skin tone,” which a recent study found is a key marker of youthfulness, says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a dermatologist in Cambridge, MA. Her favorite for a natural look: Olay Complete Touch of Sun Daily UV Moisturizer + A Touch of Sunless Tanner ($15; drugstores), a lotion with a low level of self-tanner.

Eat a Skin-Saving Breakfast

The first meal of the day for New York City derm Doris Day, MD, includes almonds. “They contain essential fatty acids, which help put the brakes on inflammation that accelerates fine lines, sagging, and blotchiness.” Not feeling like a nut? Salmon, tuna, and halibut are good lunch/dinner sources.

Spray Away Dryness

To keep her skin supple, LA-based derm Jessica Wu, MD, sprays it several times daily with La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water ($8.50; drugstores). (She often spritzes her face when stuck in traffic!) Bonus: The water is packed with minerals like selenium that protect against UV damage.

Zen Your Skin

If anyone has stress, it’s doctors. High levels of tension can spike hormone production that leads to breakouts or aggravates conditions like psoriasis. “Controlling stress keeps your skin calm—but that’s easier said than done,” says Annie Chiu, MD, a derm in LA. Taking a 10-minute time-out to apply a face mask and relax on her bed works for Chiu. Another trick: Ban the ‘Berry. “I turn off my cell phone after 8 at night. Every little bit helps!” she says.

Protect with Powder

Sunscreen stops working in less than 3 hours, so reapplication is key, says Washington, DC-based derm Elizabeth Tanzi, MD. For easy touch-ups, she uses powder sunscreen. “It’s light, so skincare stays intact.” Her fave: Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable Powder SPF 50

Pair Your Potions

“A ‘cross-training’ regimen is the key to rapid rejuvenation. Some ingredients—like sunscreen and antioxidants in the morning and retinoids and peptides at night—work better as a team,” says New Orleans derm Mary Lupo, MD.

Develop a Bedside Manner

“I often find it difficult to stick to my anti-aging regimen at bedtime,” says Francesca Fusco, MD, an NYC derm. To avoid missing her evening routine, she stores these products in a pretty skincare case she keeps on her nightstand. “So if I’ve forgotten—or was just too tired to apply products at the sink—I can do it easily while in bed.” Her must-haves: Renova (an Rx retinoid), EpiCeram (an ultrahydrating Rx moisturizer), SCO lip balm, Earth to Skin Care Cracked Heel Renewal, Creative Nail Design Solar oil (to soften cuticles), and Listerine White Strips.

Wear Your Veggies

Frozen peas help soothe itchy, irritated eyes for Jeanine Downie, MD, a derm in Montclair, NJ. “Once I get home from work, I remove my skincare and put a bag of frozen peas on my lids for about 5 minutes.” The cold helps reduce swelling and pigmentation, a side effect of repeated irritation from her eczema. Unlike inflexible ice packs, a bag of peas easily conforms to the shape of the eyes for a faster effect.

Avoid Impact

“The repeated jarring of high-impact cardio like running can weaken collagen and lead to sagging,” says Oakland, CA, dermatologist Katie Rodan, MD. “So until a ‘face bra’ is invented, I’ll stick to cycling and the elliptical machine.”

Strike a Pose

Most derms will bend over back-ward for great skin. Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington, DC-area dermatologist, bends forward. Yoga moves “like Child’s Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Sun Salutations improve circulation—the boost of oxygen is what gives skin that lovely yoga glow.” Another reason to take to the mat: New research finds regular yoga practice may reduce the inflammation and stress that speed skin aging.

Lather with Care

Mild cleansers are one of my best secrets,” says Chicago derm Jonith Breadon, MD. She’s partial to CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($11; drugstores), which contains ceramides—fatty materials that help retain moisture.

Skip Sodium

Diet soda is a vice that Audrey Kunin, MD, a Kansas City, MO, dermatologist, just can’t quit—she downs up to six cans a day. When she realized that all the sodium in soda (anywhere from 25 to 50 mg per can) made her eyes and jawline puffy, she switched to a brand that doesn’t punish her skin: sodium-free Diet Rite soda. “It satisfies my cravings and my skin looks much better.”

Cut Back on the Sweet Stuff

The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. To prevent this natural process from careening out of control, Naila Malik, MD, a derm in Southlake, TX, sticks to low-glycemic carbs like whole grains; they’re naturally low in sugar, and the body processes them slowly to limit the loss of collagen.

Pump Iron to Plump Skin

“I am religious about strength-training, and I always tell patients to do it more as they get older,” says Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist in Metairie, LA. The payoff: firmer skin from the neck down, the result of having better, more supportive muscle tone. “It’s like adding volume to the face with fillers, except on your body,” says Farris.

Tea Up

In her teens, Amy Wechsler, MD, an NYC derm, started drinking green and black tea for the taste. Now she drinks three to five cups a day to safeguard her skin. Research suggests that both types of tea contain protective compounds—like EGCG and theaflavins—that help prevent skin cancers and the breakdown of collagen, the cause of wrinkles.

In the Future, You May Shop for Skin-Care Products Based on Your Genes

future-of-skincare-shopping

Visits to the skin-care counter may be a lot more intimate in the future. The saleswoman could ask you to open wide and get a quick swab of saliva. She’ll then run the swab through a machine and recommend the serum or lotion that best matches not just your basic skin type but your genetic signature.

“We already know from studying genetics that certain people respond to certain ingredients—and not to others,” says Olay principal scientist Frauke Neuser. Not everyone, for example, is programmed to respond to retinol in the same way. What does this mean for five-to-ten-years-from-now you? “We’ll know not only the way your skin will age in the future but also what your skin does and doesn’t respond to right now,” says Neuser. “We’ll be able to tell that while someone isn’t going to wrinkle much, they’ll have loads of age spots. And we’ll know what ingredients your skin genetically responds to that will specifically address that problem.” So let’s all open wide and say, ‘Ahhhh.’

Beauty in Balance

After my first glimpse into the geisha’s beauty rituals, I realized that Japanese skincare is designed to work with the skin instead of against it. Like their diet, ingredients they use on their faces are focused on balancing and calming the body, ideas which are rooted in traditional Eastern medicine.

“Efficacious, anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as Japanese Indigo, soothe the skin while repairing and healing the damage caused by inflammation.”

What is referred to as excessive “internal heat” in Eastern medicine parallels modern science’s recent focus on inflammation. Current research links premature aging to chronic inflammation, a condition in which the body’s natural immune response becomes unregulated and begins to cause systemic harm. The skin reflects this imbalance, causing redness and irritation. Efficacious, anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as Japanese Indigo, soothe the skin while repairing and healing the damage caused by inflammation. That’s why these timeless ingredients are at the heart of our ritual for sensitive skin, and have such a comforting effect. Calming the complexion is one way to bring the skin into balance.

Many aspects of the classic Japanese lifestyle embrace a balanced approach to living, too. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from my travels to Kyoto that reduce chronic inflammation, from the inside and out:

  • Brew and enjoy a cup of green tea. The meditative practice of preparing and sipping green tea relaxes the mind and reduces stress. Green tea’s anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) make it a powerful, anti-aging ingredient.
  • Eat with a variety and savor every bite. Unlike many Western meals with an entrée starring at the center of the plate, most traditional Japanese meals offer a variety of different small dishes, served together. This principle is called ichi ju san sai (one soup and three side dishes, plus rice) and is essential to the Japanese diet. Beautifully arranged, these meals delight all of the senses and feed the soul.
  • If you like seafood, try eating more fish. Fish is a staple source of protein in Japan, and is rich in fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory benefits for the whole body. Walnuts and almonds are an excellent vegetarian option to benefit from the same fatty acids.
  • Add turmeric. In the southernmost region of Japan is Okinawa, which is also called the “Longevity Island.” Okinawans are famed not only for having the world’s longest life expectancies, but also aging healthfully. One reason for their long and healthy lives is the turmeric tea they drink. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. You can easily make your own at home by adding a teaspoon of ground turmeric to approximately four cups of boiling water. You can also benefit from turmeric by adding it to your cooking.
  • Let your skincare ritual reflect most of these principles. Many anti-inflammatory ingredients that soothe the body internally are also efficacious on the skin. Calmness, from the inside or the outside, restores skin’s natural glow.

I hope these tips I’ve picked up along the way help you discover simple ways to find more balance. If you’re already mindful of inflammation, please share your own ways of soothing and balancing the body from the inside out!

Meet Amanda Bacon, The Beauty Behind Moon Juice

She is the owner and founder of Moon Juice, a community cornerstone in Los Angeles promoting and delivering health and wellness. They serve certified organic cold pressed juices, various milks and snacks, beauty dusts, and an array of holistic tools. Moon Juice “celebrate(s) the unadulterated, exquisite flavors and healing force of raw vegetables, fruits, petals, herbs, roots, nuts, and seaweeds as daily nourishment, beauty tools, and high-powered natural remedies.” Sounds pretty incredible, right?

Well, it is. I can tell you as a frequent visitor of this brightly lit and wonderfully smelling haven, Moon Juice is a breath of fresh air in a juice-crazy city such as LA. The juices come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of health benefits depending on the ingredients. For example, the Honeydew, Cilantro, & Lime Juice repairs skin, detoxes heavy metals, and supports the kidneys. Or maybe you are looking for California Sun, a juice that provides cellular restoration, strengthens bones, and alkalizes. Whatever your need, Moon Juice has the goods.

It doesn’t stop with juices — Amanda, a world-traveling and highly trained chef, creates snacks or “cosmic provisions” as Moon Juicers call them, to satisfy your every craving while still being true to your body and spirit. They are made from 100% organic, raw and activated ingredients. As Amanda has stated, the “nutrient dense, hand-crafted foods for snacking and feasting are enzymatically live and extraordinarily mineral and antioxidant-rich. I believe that food is as much about pleasure as healing; creativity as sustenance; and simplicity as the exquisite. I created Moon Juice for people interested in a new way of living. Not a way where you have to erase your past, but a way fueled by excitement to help yourself live better, here and now.”

We were able to ask Amanda a few questions about her history with medicinal foods, what inspires her, and what she would tell her 26-year old self now. You can peruse our conversation below.

Where did you grow up? Have you always been interested in health and wellness?

I’m originally from New York City, where my journey in healing and support through food began at a very young age with the support of an Ayurvedic doctor, and my adventures in the kitchen began simultaneously with my dad. Once leaving home after high school I let myself become fully enamored with the beauty of simple ingredients, culinary traditions, and a holistic approach to wellness while traveling the world meeting healers, artisans, doctors and farmers along the way.

What is the inspiration behind Moon Juice?

I started Moon Juice in 2012. I was a chef and had worked with Alice Waters and Suzanne Goin and was poised to open a restaurant in LA. Through divine inspiration I took a brief pause to really open myself up to what was truly needed in the world and how to use my voice to change it. I wanted to bridge the gap between the healing world and the foodie world as I had done for myself. I opened Moon Juice in Venice, a second location in Silverlake a year later, and then began a brand partnership with the Ace Hotel and opened up in their spot in Downtown LA. Moon Juice excites and inspires people looking to get on the path and satiates those like myself that are already down the rabbit hole. We have become a beacon to a community.

You have a strong background in fine dining — what do you love most about creating a dish?

Working under Suzanne was the greatest experience I could ask for as a young chef. She tasted every salad I put out, and drilled into me the importance of acidity and salinity. I discovered how much cooking was about the unspoken, mystical finesse of timing, the flick of a wrist, and the layering of flavors. On the line at Lucques, I was taught to focus on the inherent perfection of the produce itself, and I learned to make each ingredient sing. I spoke with local farmers and observed how one could make an entire menu out of what was available at the market that day.

Moon Juice is an advocate for cleanses and offers a variety of them. What advice would you give someone who has never tried a cleanse?

Assess where you are in your lifestyle, what type of experience you want to have and what you have room and time for. Cleansing is not aone size fits all approach. Depending on your own unique situation, simply adding plant food to your diet might be cleansing enough.

I have tried a few “cleanses” that left me mentally and physically exhausted — what advice would you give someone like me?

I hear you on the mental and physical. I call fasting “feating.” If you’re going for a juice cleanse, think flooding your body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes vs. starving yourself which will shut down organ function, brain activity and metabolism. Choose 100% organic, nutrient dense juices with lots of greens and veggies to avoid sugar highs and the inevitable crash. You also want to drink enough in one day, at Moon Juice we recommend at least six 16oz bottles of juices and nut milks. If you start feeling spacey or weak, add more juice. From this place of knowing, the body is being nourished and all systems are going. Spaciness and flu-like systems are actually part of the cleanse process. There is light at the end of the tunnel on day three!

You travel a ton! Do you mind sharing your beauty regimen while you are on the road?

I travel with rose oil that I like to wear, some Tibetan incense, my sheepskin that I do my Sādhanā on each morning. I always take my mud toothpaste, dead sea mineral soap bar, a little shilajit, quinton, Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C and a jar of Moon Dust to make a tonic on the go.

Is there anything you would want to tell your 26 year old self now?

Hey girl, take an extra couple of days by the pool and have one last love affair and road trip because you are about to get pregnant, open Moon Juice and wake up after three hours of sleep on the ride of your life that you don’t want to get off for the pool or a road trip.

Being free means…

Fully open heart despite what happens in a day or night. Staying aligned with that openness and not letting anyone or anything cause you to shut it down.

Top 10 Diet and Fitness Tips for Men

1 / 11

It’s no secret that obesity is widespread: Nearly three out of every four men are either overweight or obese, and 50 percent of men don’t engage in vigorous leisure-time physical activity for more than 10 minutes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If these statistics haven’t convinced you to start making healthier lifestyle choices, then at least start adopting better habits for the sake of your kids. A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that fathers have a major impact on kids’ food choices; namely, how often they eat fast food and other restaurant food, which can in turn affect their own risk for weight problems.

Ready to end your relationship with the pizza delivery guy and spend a little less time on the couch? Let these simple tips motivate you to fuel your body with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

2 / 11 Vary Your Fitness Routine

Alternate your exercise activities to stay motivated to work out — variety is good for both the mind and body, said Jim White, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, certified health fitness instructor, and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Va. “Your body can get used to the same thing if it’s done over and over again,” White said. To keep your body guessing, he suggested combining different types of fitness workouts: Mix up a cardio workout like running with strength training, yoga, and martial arts, or vary your tempo within any one activity through interval training.

3 / 11 Find a Fitness Buddy

Do you need extra motivation to stick with your fitness and diet plan? Don’t go it alone — enlist the help of a buddy. Not only does working out with a friend keep you both focused on fitness, it also adds an edge of competition, especially if you pick a workout buddy who’s a bit more advanced and will make you feel challenged. You’ll work harder to keep up and reach your fitness goals.

4 / 11 Read Nutrition Labels

Reading package labels is a must to keep from sabotaging a healthy diet with oversized portions and unhealthy ingredients in processed foods. “A lot of the time there are three to four servings per package,” said White — not just one. Avoid foods with trans fats and limit sugars; less than 7 grams per serving is a good idea. Look for high-fiber foods, which contain more than 3 grams of fiber per serving. And remember that the more fresh foods you add to your diet, rather than processed lunch meats or prepackaged meals, the easier it is to ensure that you’re getting essential daily nutrients.

5 / 11 Keep Cooking Simple

When you’re following a healthy diet and cooking at home, make sure your preparation methods are also healthy. Bake, grill, steam, or sauté foods rather than breading and deep-frying them, suggested White. Cook with healthy fats, such as olive or canola oil instead of butter, and season with fresh or dried herbs, not salt. Order food prepared in these healthful ways when you eat out, too.

6 / 11 Develop Strength-Training Exercises

Strength training is a key part of any fitness plan, both for variety and to build calorie-burning muscle. You don’t have to lift weights or spend hours at the gym — you can tone your muscles at home or at the office just a few minutes at a time. Push-ups are great for working the chest, triceps, and shoulders, said White, and you can do them anywhere. Squats and lunges are also effective because they work multiple muscles and are easy to add to any fitness routine.

7 / 11 Stick With Simple Cardio Workouts

Cardio exercise gets your heart rate up and burns off calories. Running provides a great cardio workout, said White. If you’re a beginner, start out slowly by alternating walking and running intervals. You can also burn calories throughout the day by taking a few simple “steps,” such as standing up more at work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and parking your car farther away from the office. Walk at a brisk pace whenever possible.

8 / 11 Avoid Diet Boredom With New Foods

Adding new and unusual tastes to your meals helps you to stay interested in eating right and ensures that you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients. If you eat only a narrow range of foods, even foods that are good for you, you could become deficient in some vitamins and minerals, which can lower your energy level. In addition to lean protein and low-fat dairy staples, experiment with exotic fruits and vegetables and different types of whole grains. Try eating quinoa as a side dish or having oatmeal or shredded wheat for breakfast.

9 / 11 Pay Attention to Serving Sizes

A serving of meat isn’t that whopping one-pound steak you may like to grill up for dinner — an appropriate serving size for meat is actually only 4 ounces, said White. In addition to using measuring tools and possibly a food scale to weigh portions, be sure to carefully calculate the serving size of any packaged food by using the information on the nutrition label. At restaurants, White suggested safeguarding your diet by eating only half your portion and taking the rest home to enjoy the next day.

10 / 11 Stay Motivated for Fitness

As with diet, sticking with the same fitness plan day in and day out can lose its appeal over time. Taking up a new exercise activity or even a new sport can ramp up your enthusiasm. Always wanted to play golf? Reward your exercise dedication with a few lessons and walk the course to burn calories. Want a relaxing exercise option? Rent a rowboat and spend a few hours on a serene lake. Of course, if you’re already doing a fitness activity you truly enjoy, be sure to keep it in your exercise rotation.

11 / 11 Tweak Your Diet With More Fruits and Vegetables

A healthy diet can be a work in progress. Meat may have been your main staple, but as you improve your health, continually improve your nutrition as well. Find simple ways to fit in more fresh fruits and vegetables and eat less meat. White suggested snacking on celery sticks with peanut butter or carrots with fat-free ranch dip. Other easy ways to improve your diet include bulking up sandwiches with tomatoes and fresh greens, topping whole-wheat pasta with steamed seasonal vegetables, and slicing fruit into your morning cup of yogurt or bowl of cereal. Your food calories will leave you more satisfied as well as help you maintain a healthy weight.