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Our Top 5 Favourite Body Moisturisers

March 27, 2012

Our body needs vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids to stay healthy and maintain optimal function. The same is true for our skin, the body’s first-line immune defense against pollution, toxins and infection. Its health has such a direct effect on our physical appearance it’s no wonder that moisturisers are in such high demand.

Whether it’s oils, lotions or creams, moisturisers have their own special composition and set of ingredients that are great at keeping the skin hydrated and healthy-looking.

Here we’ve listed our top 5 favourites that not only smell great, they are free from artificial preservatives and work well for various skin types.

Agronatura Neroli Body Oil 100ml – $34

Looking to add a little more zest to your daily skin care regimen? Agronatura’s Neroli Body Oil is made with an essence obtained by distilling flowers of orange trees grown using certified organic methods. It has a sweet, citrusy scent that helps with calming the nerves. It’s long been a scent for attraction and relaxation and it’s named after the Italian Princess of Nerola who used to fragrance her gloves and bathwater with Neroli. It’s also been noted to relieve menstrual cramps.

This non-greasy body oil is suitable for dry skin. Leaves skin soft, radiant and nourished.

Made in Italy, the Neroli in this body moisturiser is grown by Agronatura farmers of Monferrato – Piemonte, Italy’s medicinal herb valley.

Jo Wood Organics Tula Nourishing Body Cream 200ml – $75

Jo Wood Organics is an organic beauty range from Jo Wood, former model and partner of Rolling Stones member, Ronnie Wood.

The Tula Nourishing Body Cream has a rich, light texture and a lovely mix of floral scent that stays with you throughout the day. An exotic Frangipani and Jasmine, on a Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood base with a hint of green Anise. It is formulated with apricot and shea butter to replenish lost moisture from dry skin. Essential fatty acids from Arctic bilberry and rosehip seed oils help to promote suppleness. Oligo sacharide from seaweed provide hydration and comfort with antioxidants from extracts of butterfly bush to help protect the skin.

Truly a delightful treat for the skin and senses.

Amal Oils 100% Organic Argan Oil 60ml – $72

A common misconception is that oils clog pores, cause breakouts, or leave a greasy film. Most natural oils are easily absorbed, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic, which makes it perfect for all skin types.

Since oil is water-free, all of the nurturing and moisturising ingredients get absorbed into your skin to help transform dry skin into soft, healthier skin.

Morocco’s argan oil, also known as liquid gold, is no exception. Renowned for its exceptionally high vitamin E, essenti

al fatty acid and antioxidant content, argan oil has been used for centuries by Moroccan women to combat signs of aging, restore moisture to dry skin, neutralise free radicals, restore shine to hair, soften cuticles and strengthen dry and brittle nails.

It’s a one-stop solution for those seeking a less complicated head-to-toe health and beauty regimen.

Natur Aroma Argan Body/Massage Oil 100ml – $40

Natur Aroma’s Organic Argan Body/Massage Oil carries a sweet scent and is suitable for daily use or as a massage oil.

Agronatura Damask Rose Body Milk 150ml – $36




The Damask rose is believed to have originated from Syria and was brought into Europe by the Crusaders sometime between 1254 and 1276. It has endured centuries of cultivation ever since and is used in many cosmetic products w

e know today. However, it wasn’t until sometime in the early 1600s that the essential oil or ‘Otto’ of roses was discovered.

The soft texture and high active emollient content make this body milk easy and pleasurable to apply and it’s perfect for all skin types.

Exquisitely floral, delicate and elegant.


Formaldehyde – How much of it is safe?

March 27, 2012

Five months ago, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to the manufacturer of the popular hair-straightening product Brazilian Blowout because it emitted formaldehyde gas despite being labelled “formaldehyde-free”.

While Australia, Germany, France, Ireland and Canada have banned Brazilian Blowout products from their shores, it remains uncertain if the studies will lead to stricter formaldehyde regulations in the United States.

The controversy surrounding the use of formaldehyde in hair care products continues, sparking concerns among consumers and salon workers. In June 2011, formaldehyde was added to a list of known carcinogens by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance are urging the FDA to get Brazilian Blowout and other formaldehyde-laced products off American shelves permanently.

The use of formaldehyde in cosmetics is to help protect against bacterial contamination by slowly releasing it in small amounts during storage and continued use. It is most commonly used as a water solution called formalin, rather than in its pure form. Formalin is a generic name for a substance that is made up of 0.0466% formaldehyde and mostly methylene glycol, methanol and water. It is commonly found in nail polishes, nail hardeners, hair relaxers, soaps, makeup, shampoos, lotions, and deodorants.

Formalin is now known as methylene glycol, a name manufacturers now use to label cosmetic products.

Another name for methylene glycol is methanediol and it is listed as one of the main ingredients of Brazilian Blowout marketed in the United States. When methylene glycol is heated, formaldehyde gas is released.

Opponents backed by strong scientific evidence argued that methylene glycol and formaldehyde are entirely separate chemical substances. They are often misunderstood to be synonymous. This has led to misleading, incorrect data as both methylene glycol and formaldehyde are measured as one chemical.  A “10% Formaldehyde” report would be scientifically correct if it reported 9.96% methylene glycol and 0.04% formaldehyde instead.

Formaldehyde is a naturally-occurring gas made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It has a pungent smell and is highly reactive and soluble in water. Our bodies produce formaldehyde in very small amounts as part of everyday metabolism. Formaldehyde is also produced in animals and plants and is even emitted as a by-product of Shiitake mushrooms and certain vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and cabbage during cooking.

When formaldehyde is absorbed or inhaled, it is broken down by metabolism and converted to a non-toxic chemical called formate, which is filtered out by the kidneys and passed in the urine. Formate is either used as a building block chemical for the body to make more complicated, larger chemical molecules, or broken down into carbon dioxide and exhaled out of the body through the lungs. Formaldehyde is not stored in fat as it is water soluble and metabolises very quickly.

When hair-smoothing products containing formalin are heated, they can release low levels of formaldehyde gas. Studies have indicated that sensitive individuals may experience symptoms such as irritated eyes or skin, headaches, difficulty breathing, sore throat and/or nausea even within safety limits. In some cases, hair salon workers complained of nose bleeds, eye irritation, and trouble breathing after using the products.

Nail salon workers are particularly at risk for exposure as they work with products containing formalin all day every day, often in poorly ventilated spaces. Some have reported decreased attention and processing skills and increases in asthma and other breathing problems.

The good news is that some nail polish manufacturers have reformulated their products using safer chemicals. One such company is butter LONDON and they offer a complete range of hand and nail care products without the “toxic trio” (3 Free) of ingredients: dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene.

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), used for flexibility and moisturising, is a reproductive and developmental toxin that has been linked to feminising effects in baby boys. Toluene, used for suspending colour and forming a smooth finish across the nail, affects the central nervous system and can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue. It is also a possible reproductive and developmental toxin.

Still the real issue has yet to be addressed: What are the levels of exposure for salon workers and their clients?

Safe and proper uses largely depend on the salon ventilation, as well as, product control and application procedures.
The Singapore National Environment Agency recommends that the maximum threshold level for formaldehyde should not exceed 0.1ppm (parts per million) for indoor air quality.

The FDA and the U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are in the midst of investigation if hair-smoothing treatments emit unsafe levels of formaldehyde. They will be looking at results obtained by monitoring cosmetologists’ and clients’ exposure to formaldehyde gas in salon air.

Since the potential for harm is caused by prolonged and/or repeated overexposure, usually over an extended period of time, less frequent exposures are less likely to result in harm or injury.

Some consumer groups reject any use altogether. “There’s no acceptable level of formaldehyde in products,” says Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Alternatives are readily available, so there’s no reason to be exposing anybody to a known carcinogen.”

Luzern La Defense SPF 30

March 1, 2012

As we spend much of our time outdoors, we are all aware of the importance of protecting our skin from the sun. But which sunscreen offers more protection?

The Food and Drug Administration has set new rules specifying which lotions provide the best protection against the sun and ending false claims. The rules ban sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are waterproof or sweatproof  because such claims are false and only sunscreens that have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher will be allowed to maintain that they help prevent sunburn and reduce the risks of skin cancer and early skin aging.

According to the FDA, sunscreens must protect equally against two kinds of sun radiation, UVB and UVA, to earn the coveted designation of offering “broad spectrum” protection. UVB rays cause burning; UVA rays cause wrinkling; and both cause cancer.

Luzern La Defense SPF 30 not only provides a five-star broad spectrum protection against UVA/UVB/UVC radiation, it contains 14% Zinc Oxide (Z-Cote) to block out 98% of UVA light and utilises advanced rice peptides to protect the collagen in your skin from breaking down—a common activity from sun exposure that leads to lines, wrinkles and age spots.

Its transparent and lightweight formula sinks quickly and completely into the skin, providing invisible and comfortable protection from other harmful agents and environmental pollutants.

This  all-natural, 100% mineral sunscreen is gentle even for those with sensitive or rosacea-afflicted skin.

Get yours today for the ultimate sun protection at

Damask Rose – Queen of the Arabian Garden

February 11, 2012

The oldest fossil records of the rose date back 35 million years.

In addition to being a symbol of love and beauty, the rose is also the symbol of secrecy and unity. The Latin phrase sub rosa, meaning ‘under the rose’, came from the practice of Romans suspending roses above meeting tables to establish trust and confidentiality. Roses were sacred and have been found in Egyptian tombs in a form of wreaths. Tudor Henry VII adopted the Tudor Rose (also known as the Union Rose) as his emblem after winning the English civil war in the 15th Century.

There are over 10, 000 varieties of roses spread throughout the world and the Damask rose (rosa damascena) is one of the oldest strains of roses no longer found growing wild.  It is now mainly grown for commercial purposes for its exquisite fragrance.

The Damask rose is believed to have originated from Syria and was brought into Europe by the Crusaders sometime between 1254 and 1276. It has endured centuries of cultivation ever since and is used in many cosmetic products we know today. However, it wasn’t until sometime in the early 1600s that the essential oil or ‘Otto’ of roses was discovered.

Mrs. M Grieve’s ‘A Modern Herbal’ tells the story: “It was between 1582 and 1612 that the oil or Otto of Roses was discovered, as recorded in two separate histories of the Grand Moguls. At the wedding feast of the princess Nour-Djihan with the Emperor Djihanguyr, son of Akbar, a canal circling the whole gardens was dug and filled with rose water. The heat of the sun separating the water from the essential oil of the rose, was observed by the bridal pair when rowing on the fragrant water. It was skimmed off and found to be an exquisite perfume. The discovery was immediately turned to account and the manufacture of Otto of Roses was commenced in Persia about 1612 and long before the end of the 17th Century the distilleries of Shiraz were working on a large scale.”

Other than its wonderful fragrance, the rose oil holds many healing properties and is widely used in aromatherapy to:

  • regulate hormone production and help balance them.
  • keep the skin fresh and youthful.
  • promote circulation, reducing blood pressure.
  • cure headaches, asthma, dehydration certain infections.

Products We Recommend:

Made in Italy, all Damask Rose products by Agronatura are made with an essence obtained by distilling Italian Damask Roses grown using certified organic methods. Moisturises skin well due to the balance and quality of oils in the formula.  The Damask Rose fragrance is floral, delicate and elegant.

Estelle & Thild‘s ecorganic Rose Otto for dry and mature skin is made of the finest and most exclusive organic ingredients. The high levels of nurturing vitamins, antioxidants and fatty acids strengthen the skin’s natural defenses and protects against premature aging. The products contains moisturising fig fruit and powerful antioxidant from blueberry and lingonberry seed oil. Nourishing jojoba oil and rose otto oil gives the skin nourishment and strength.

Common Cosmetic Ingredients To Avoid

January 30, 2012

There are products you swear by because they work but do you know what’s in them? What makes a product work the way it does and what makes it smell good. What secrets could you unravel by reading the fine print on the back of your favourite shampoo or cleanser?

There are more than 10,500 ingredients in personal care products and the vast majority have never been evaluated for safety.

Here we have compiled several common ingredients found in many skincare/cosmetic products that are known or suspected to be toxic:

1) Parabens

Parabens are the most widely used synthetic preservatives in personal care products as it is very cost effective. Often used in combination with other types of preservatives (methyl, ethyl, propyl, butylparaben), parabens can mimic oestrogen, a female hormone associated with breast cancer.

While there is no evidence parabens cause cancer, some countries have taken action against the use of parabens in cosmetics.

Denmark became the first country to ban parabens in lotions and other cosmetics for children while other EU countries like Sweden, France and the United Kingdom are following suit.

2) Phthalates

The most frequently used type of phthalate is diethyl phthalate (DEP). Other derivatives include dimethyl phthalate (DMP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).

Phthalates can be absorbed through the skin, or inhaled as fumes. Manufacturers use phthalates because they give perfumes, hair sprays, deodorants and nail polish more staying power.

Phthalate exposure has been shown to cause male infertility and sperm damage, and can also affect foetal development.

A ban on phthalates was issued by the European Union in 2004.

3) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

SLS and SLES are used in toothpaste, hair conditioners, and about 90% of shampoos and products that foam.

These chemical substances pose a higher health threat as they can easily penetrate through the skin and leave residual levels in our internal organs, particularly the heart, liver and the brain.

Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. SLS can induce acne breakouts because of the disruption to hormones.

4) Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

PEG compounds are petroleum-based. They are followed by a number after their name such as PEG-6, PEG-40, PEG-100, and are usually connected to another molecule such as stearic acid or castor oil. The number is the approximate molecular weight of that particular PEG. The lower the molecular weight, the easier it is for the compound to penetrate.

Commonly used as cosmetic cream bases, its use has become controversial due to its ability to assist other ingredients—good and bad—to penetrate the skin and be absorbed into the body.

PEGs also contain potential toxic impurities such as ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.

5) Fragrance

Fragrances often contain phthalates, large quantities of toxins and synthetic chemical compounds. As they are considered a trade secret, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients used. Even “unscented” products may contain chemicals used to cover up the odour of other chemicals.

Fragrances have also been found to contain sensitising chemicals linked to breathing difficulties, headaches, and other allergy symptoms.

Just because a product works, doesn’t mean it’s safe to use. And just because a product claims to be “natural” or “organic”, doesn’t mean it is.

When deciding on your next purchase, examine the list of ingredients and avoid anything suspicious. If a product does not have an easily identifiable ingredient listing, you should be skeptical. As the old saying goes, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

Check out our wide range of high-quality, safe and effective products for skin, hair, body and nail care at our website,

Microplastics – How Plastic Beads in Cleansers Can Affect Our Environment

January 29, 2012

Even though plastics have become a necessary addition to our lives, their production and disposal have contributed to various environmental problems:

Plastics make up as much as ninety percent of the floating debris in our oceans, lakes and rivers. Now recent studies show that microplastics, including exfoliating microbeads in facial cleansers, can be a threat to marine ecosystems, its wildlife, and us.

What Are Microplastics?

The term “Microplastic” applies to plastic pieces of less than one millimeter diameter. Over time, large pieces of plastics break down into smaller and smaller pieces and thus, become microplastics.

The polyethylene microbeads in facial scrubs and cleansers however are designed to be tiny enough to squeeze out of tubes. They are then washed down our drains and since these microbeads cannot be broken down, they bypass sewage plants and float out into our waterways where they accumulate.

How Are Microplastics A Threat To The Marine Environment

According to studies collated for research in Environmental Risks of Microplastics, plastic pellets are found across the globe in surprisingly high amounts, not only in waters surrounding highly industrialised areas, but also in remote and non-industrialised places such as Fiji or Tonga in the Southwest Pacific (Derraik. 2002) or in the Southern Ocean south of New Zealand (Allsopp, et al.,2006). Ng and Obbard (2006), studying Singapore’s coastal waters reports the existence of even smaller particles of 1.6μm.

Furthermore, as larger plastic debris mainly floats on the surface, the microplastics can also be found in the water column and on the seabed.

As microplastics occupy similar size range as plankton, the potential for ingestion by tiny crustaceans is wide. If these creatures ingest them and are eaten by other larger creatures and so on, microplastics can travel up the food chain. And because polyethylene are well known for absorbing toxins, these toxins could also end up in the seafood we eat like shellfish, white fish and tuna.

How Do I Know If My Cleansers Contain Microbeads?

For the past two decades, many health and beauty companies have been utilising microbeads as exfoliants in their cleansing products. They are economical and are preferred by consumers who find naturally sourced exfoliants like walnut shells and apricot pits to be too abrasive.

The most important thing you can do is to read the label on these products. Start by searching a product’s ingredient list for “polyethylene”, a common form of synthetic microbeads.

What Alternatives Can I Switch To?

Fortunately, there are products with natural exfoliants that work just as well as the synthetic ones.

We recommend:

Luzern’s Micro Exfoliant, a scrub infused with certified organic botanicals and micro-fine jojoba beads to clear clogged pores, improve hydration and brighten skin.

66°30 Face Scrub & Mask 3-in-1 contains a combination of apricot kernel, rice, shea and rhyolite to efficiently exfoliate dead cells.

Spiezia’s Rose & Chamomile Gentle Face Scrub contains hand-sifted organic chamomile stamen for gentle and effective exfoliation.

By making the switch to cleansers with natural exfoliants, not only will you be doing the environment a favour. Your skin will love you for it, too.

Organic Skincare for Men—from a 66°30 Angle

January 27, 2012

For today’s men, it’s no longer about using soap bars and shaving creams. It’s about committing to a daily skin care regimen. Because men have 20% thicker skin than women, they need specially formulated moisturisers and cleansers to maintain healthy skin.

66°30, an award-winning line of organic skincare from France answers the needs of the modern man.

With their wide range of Purity and Care Line products featuring a combination of more than 20 beneficial plants and the Urban Shield®, an exclusive patented synergetic complex of 7 plant extracts, 66°30 holds fast to the philosophy of green chemistry and providing sustainable, organic skincare for men.

Sticking to the Strict Maximum

Purify – Nourish – Moisturise – Protect – Regenerate – Soothe

The general rule of thumb is to avoid using regular soap to cleanse your skin. Soap is alkaline and can strip your skin of its natural oils, causing your glands to react and produce more oil.

An ideal facial cleanser is pH-balanced, meaning it will not strip the natural layer of sebum in your skin.

Specially formulated for sensitive skin types, the Ultra-Gentle Daily Face Cleanser by 66°30 contains no alcohol and is pH-neutral and free from any type of allergenic/synthetic substances. Its key ingredients include aloe vera, a proven anti-inflammatory and regenerating agent that moisturises and soothes the skin and hop (homulus lupulus), to rebalance sebum production and tighten dilated pores.

For aftershaves, 66°30’s Day Cycle 6-in-1 Ultra-Moisturising Face Fluid has all the ingredients you need such as jojoba, Arctic berries and Finnish blueberry seed oils to soothe razor burns and maintain skin radiance throughout the day.

If you’re the sporty or outdoorsy type, the Extreme Cycle Essential Face Balm is specially formulated to suit your active lifestyle. It features a unique blend of highly nutritive ingredients such as seaweed, argan oil, shea butter, spent wax and the Urban Shield®, 66°30’s exclusive 7 plant extracts. This ultra-moisturising and sweat-resistant formula protects and repairs skin, providing maximum protection during periods of physical, psychological and climatic stress.

Exfoliating your skin once a week with 66°30’s Face Scrub & Mask 3-in-1 can help soothe razor bumps and slough away the thin layer of skin that grows over the hair follicle which causes the hair to grow underneath. This fragrance-free and alcohol-free formula includes a combination of apricot kernel, rice, shea and rhyolite to exfoliate dead cells, helping your skin to breathe and regain its natural glow. And whenever you’re in need for relaxation, the presence of kaolin (white clay) in the scrub makes it perfect to use as a soothing mask after a long, hectic day.

Learn more about 66°30’s Purity and Care Line products at

66°30 is also available at Takashimaya Singapore, Basement One.