Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Valentine Bath

Now we have another fun bath item for V-Day - Bodylish's I Heart You heart-shaped bath bombs!

Ingredients: baking soda, citric acid, arrowroot powder, honey powder, red sandalwood, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, distilled water, borax, essential oil blend of sandalwood, rosewood, ylang ylang, and patchouli.

This Valentine's Day, bathe together.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A bar of shampoo?

Bodylish Down to Earth bar
Yes, a shampoo bar - a bar of soap that you may use for shampoo, or to shave and bathe with.

This is a completely foreign concept for me. Being a hairdresser, shampoo is supposed to be liquid and in a bottle, right?

I remember once using a bar of soap in my hair. I was all out of shampoo and gave it a whirl. What a mistake. Dirty hair would have been better than that fiasco. Ugh.
So, when I recently started to read more and more about the all-purpose shampoo bar, I thought well, if it does work, men will love it - shampoo, shave and wash with one product? Score! I'll have to get some of those, IF they really work, I thought.

I have shoulder length hair and did not feel like I would be a good candidate for this experiment. Won't that bar get tangled in my tresses? What if it gets stuck? What if it wrecks it? (because that is the goal of the artisan who is making and selling shampoo bars. Be rational, Becky.) What if.....?

What if it was a lovely experience and I couldn't believe the creamy, rich, lathery goodness that rinsed completely out of my hair and did not dull the shine?
How is that possible? Is it the kukui nut or cocoa seed butters? Who cares. It works and is full of all kinds of goodness.
Nora at Bodylish knows what she is doing.


Thursday, January 28, 2010


It's official. May 2010.
StormSister Spatique is featured in Crave Minneapolis/Saint Paul - The Urban Girl's Manifesto.

You're gonna want one of these books.

More info soon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Menopausal Skin Care

Excerpted from an article by Ellen Clark, LE

Aging skin and menopause go hand-in-hand for women "of a certain age." These woman value their free time, realize they have spent much of their lives taking care of others, and value quality time with friends and family. They are also beginning to notice the signs of aging and are likely experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms, but may not understand how biology is really affecting their skin.

Menopause is only "official" when a woman has not menstruated for 12 consecutive months. The average age of menopause in the world population is estimated to be between 45-55, and averages 51 for women in the West, according to numerous sources.

Because the lead-up to menopause is a gradual process, some women simply do not realize that they are experiencing pre-menopausal symptoms, including changes in their skin. And, because we are such a youth-oriented society, some may not want to acknowledge these changes.

External symptoms of skin aging include:

Skin Dryness
Teleangectasia (dilated blood vessels)
Sagging – Elasticity
Roughness of the Skin
Pigmentation Changes
Skin Sensitivity
Decrease in Sebum Excretion

Technically speaking, much happens below the surface of the skin to cause signs of aging. Cell turnover slows. Changes in pigmentation also occur, caused by decreased estrogen levels Collagen content decreases by one percent every year in adult skin. Diminishing collagen type III is responsible for the loss of the skin’s youthful appearance, elasticity and tightness.

Consider adding these to your current regimen:

Use a hydrator serum or gel under moisturizers to add water and calm the skin.

Use eye creams, as they add lipids to the thinner more delicate skin tissue

Incorporate anti-oxidants such as vitamins A, E, or C to help fight free radical damage and encourage collagen production.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not for Everyone

Hello Becky!

........ Thank you for all your help and knowledge with skincare. It's been a blessing in disguise to have the IN cleanser and moisturizer. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that the IN Serum isn't working for me. I tried out the sample you gave me and after about three days I got three really horrible acne cysts on my face. So I stopped using the IN Serum until the acne cleared, tried the product again, and got another round of really bad cysts. It sounds like a wonderful product but my skin maybe too oily to accept more oils. Maybe I can try it again in a few years. My skincare regiment has been working great, no real problems. It's working great on my hands and feed so I'm using up the sample that way. I want to like it so much (since you and everyone else have been giving it excellent reviews) but it just don't work for my skin type.

Thanks again!
Sree - WI

StormSister says: Clearly, my miracle serum doesn't work for everyone. Yikes.
Though I'm happy her hands and feet are enjoying its goodness, the serum is entirely too precious and spendy for our tootsies.
So, I suggest the NONTOXIQUE brand for those.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


INtelligent Nutrients founder Horst Rechelbacher in Vogue UK.

"We are developing the Love Therapy line of non-silicone based lubricants - definitely something to look out for!"

StormSister says, "Delish!"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Orange Popsicles

I special order the Tangerine Pre de Provence soaps by the case for a client of mine - there are 12 in each case. I think she really likes them ;o)~

I'm not certain if you have ever used a Pre de Provence bar of soap, but they are quite special. They're made with a ton of shea butter, so your bod feels just wonderful when you are done with your bath/shower.
Certain things are just worth the price tag. No question.

I was just ordering the tangerine fragrance especially for her. But, there is something about the smell of an orange Popsicle that reminds me of summer. And, here in MN, in January, that is a simple pleasure.
So, now I stock them in the shop.
The fragrance is actually Tangerine, but that orange summer treat from my childhood is the first thing that pops into my head when I stick my nose up to it.

Speaking of summer treats, John Masters Organics has a Blood Orange Vanilla Body Wash and Body Moisturizer that smells like a Dreamsicle.
Clearly, my parents should have owned stock in the Popsicle brand.

I was never a fan of the orange Popsicle when I was a kid. I rather liked purple or red. But, things change.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kinky-Curly Tiny Twirls

Finally a great natural haircare brand for curly kids.

I have been waiting for the Kinky-Curly Tiny Twirls range to be released for about a year now. Shelly has been tweaking the formula for quite some time and finally found the right recipe.

Friday, January 15, 2010


RenewBrow has changed its name to LiBrow.


Alas, like most good things, we don’t know what we have until they’re gone. So it is true with your eyebrows. All the work you put into getting and maintaining the high shapely arch eventually leads to no brows rather than beautiful brows. Then come the stencils and pencils. Then come the tattoos. Enough, we say. Bring back BIG BOLD BROWS now with LiBrow Purified Eyebrow Stimulator. Finally, something that really works and works well. For quite some time we have been hearing from our customers “Will LiLash Purified Eyelash Stimulator work on my brows the way it does on my lashes?” The answer has always been YES! Yet, we always felt that your brows deserved special attention.


Most makeup artists will tell you that the eyebrows are the most important feature on your face. Well-defined brows will frame your eyes, making them look bigger and give your face a polished look. Eyebrows do more to help you convey emotion than just about anything else on your face. Getting a pair of beautiful eyebrows is one of the most valuable makeup tricks you can master.


LiBrow is the absolute first and only cosmeceutical brow conditioner of its kind to use active ingredient technology. LiBrow starts with a rich base of powerful vitamins, minerals, and proteins that were specifically blended to help stimulate and strengthen the coarse eyebrow hair. We then blended the same actives that have made LiLash such an eyelash sensation. A thoughtful unique eyebrow applicator was added as well. When we say “YOUR Brows Only Bolder” we mean it.

Apply LiBrow Purified Eyebrow Stimulator daily to the skin in those areas where your eyebrows need the most help. Whether trying to restore eyebrow symmetry or just repair your eyebrows from well intentioned overplucking LiBrow will help dramatically. In weeks you will begin to notice the appearance of your eyebrow hair filling in nicely exactly where you need it most. In several months you will be shaping your eyebrows exactly the way you want.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

NONTOXIQUE on Twin Cities Live

How thrilled was I to see NONTOXIQUE featured on TCL.
And, just this morning it was featured on PopFizz Daily - Thanks Sara!

I was glad to see this segment on Twin Cities Live, about local beauty brands. My beauty-soul-sista, Elizabeth Dehn from Minnesota Monthly along with Elizabeth Ries were showcasing the Minnesota body/hand creme brands.

Each day more and more local brands are launched. Following close behind are new converts to shopping with local small businesses. I love it!

But....(you knew that was coming, right?)

I must say I was quite disappointed to see NONTOXIQUE included with some brands that I would not dare put on my skin (remember, your skin is the largest organ and you wouldn't put chemicals on your....let's say, your liver, would you?)
Yeah, I know I'm being a bit, drama.
Naysayers would say you wouldn't want to put virgin coconut oil on your liver either, but you get the point.

I have listed the ingredients for each product, below.
You decide which brand you would like on your body.
I know I could make your life much easier by listing my beef with many of the ingredients listed in these products, but I do that all of the time on this blog and I get a bit tired (as I imagine you do as well) of repeating myself, so why don't you do yourself, and your largest organ, a favor and do some research.

I suppose I should cover my butt and say that I am not saying any of the ingredients are "toxic", because they have been deemed "safe" by the FDA.
I am also not a scientist.
But, I spent many years in a field that has a ridiculously high rate of cancer and that makes me wonder what is going on.

Amlactin ingredients: Water, Lactic Acid Neutralized With Ammonium Hydroxide, Light Mineral Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Laureth-4, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylcellulose.

NONTOXIQUE ingredients: Purified water, *aloe vera juice, *jojoba oil, *virgin coconut oil, mango butter, mowrah butter, vegetable emulsifying wax, kiwi extract, avocado oil, vitamin E, gotu kola, comfrey, alfalfa, sage, tumeric, ginseng, calendula oil, xanthan gum, buriti oil, sea buckthorn oil, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary extract, essential oils of anise and *sweet orange. *Indicates NOP Organic Ingredients.

Vanicream ingredients: Water (Purified), White Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alc, Ceteareth 20, Sorbitol Solution, Propylene Glycol, Simethicone, Glyceryl Monostearate, Polyethylene Glycol Monostearate, Sorbic Acid, BHT

Hand Relief ingredients: Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificata, Purified) Extracts: Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Glycerol Stearate, Polyglycerol-6-Dioleate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Lactic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice Root Extract), Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Carapa Guaianensis (Andiroba) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Fragrance, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Sodium Lactate, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorphenesin

Let's say I am completely off base. Let's say I am completely wrong and barking up the wrong tree.
That still doesn't change which ingredient list I want slathered all over me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We're a Google Favorite!

A couple of weeks ago I received a packet of info from Google that my store was chosen as a "Google favorite place".

I'm still trying to figure out this technology on my phone, but I'm quite excited about it.
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Click to enlarge, then scan with your QR Reader.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Slow Boat to Denmark

Hi Becky, the order from before Christmas arrived today.
i love the IN aromatics and the hair spray is always a favorite.

the Lucy B. lip balm is gorgeous and provides a lovely gloss :-)
have a wonderful day!

all the best,
Pia - Denmark

StormSister says: This happens with many deliveries to Denmark.
Personally, I think Danish customs is nosy and likes to snoop in my packages!
Get your own!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Paraben Paradox

The following information is from the January edition of American Spa Magazine.

This is a very controversial topic that you may have heard about. If you have not, you are now.
Both sides weigh in in this post.

Get the lowdown on the paraben controversy from Lexli International's Ahmed Abdullah, M.D., F.A.C.S, and discover why these preservatives may be the safest choice when it comes to skincare products.

Among the many buzzwords that have bubbled up in the spa industry in recent years, "paraben-free" seems to be among the most prevalent. Many spa professionals tell me their clients have begun demanding them. Yet, when I ask them why their clients are fearful, the answer is most often, "I've never asked." This trend begs a question: As trusted advisors to our clients' well-being, are we educating and empowering them so they may make better informed choices? Or, are we simply fulfilling their requests without consideration as to whether their decisions are good for them?

The Controversy

Parabens are the most commonly used preservatives in the cosmetics industry. Naturally derived and organic, parabens have been used for more than 80 years in not only cosmetics but also food products. (They are categorized as "food grade.") In fact, numerous fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, carrots, cucumbers, and raspberries produce parabens to protect themselves from bacterial attacks.

Despite their history of safe and effective usage in cosmetics, parabens have been under attack since 2004 when a study by Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., was published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology. That study showed paraben-like substances in breast cancer tissue, starting a firestorm that has only intensified in the years since. While various manufacturers and special interest groups have been working to "educate" the public about the dangers of parabens, several important facts relative to the Darbre study have been left on the table. Among them, the study demonstrated no causation of breast cancer by parabens and did not show them to be harmful in any way. Additionally, the study left several questions unanswered. For one, it did not look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue, an essential step if any valid conclusion was to be made.

Many have argued that, despite limitations in the Darbre study, it's better to err on the side of caution by choosing paraben-free products. At face value, this makes sense. However, considering that a preservative-free product is impossible if it is to have any shelf life, your alternative options become limited.

Paraben Alternatives

Because skincare products are shipped, warehoused, and sit on shelves before even being purchased by the consumer, preservatives are essential ingredients. Companies that manufacture paraben-free products are not necessarily preservative-free. Rather, they've turned to alternative preservatives to protect their products from bacterial attacks. Among the preservatives most often utilized by these companies are alpha-tocopherol, grapefruit seed extract, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, among others.

Paraben alternatives are not foolproof, however. While organic product manufacturers may market their preservatives as "all natural," the catch is that all preservatives, including parabens, are derived from naturally occurring substances. Therefore, nearly any preservative may be "spun" through marketing speak to be considered all-natural or organic. Additionally, some of these preservatives come with documented risks. In fact, phenoxyethanol is restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan due to its potential damaging effects. Others are shown to have inferior microbial protection in comparison to parabens. Newer synthetic preservatives do not have nearly the same history of safety as that of parabens. And that factor comes with a risk. We will not know for some time whether or not there are dangerous side effects that come with use of these ingredients in skincare products.

Parabens Reviewed

What do the experts say about the safety of parabens? Following the paraben backlash that began after the publication of Darbre's study, a number of groups took a closer look at their use and potential risks. In 2005, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reopened the safety assessment for parabens and found, after much study and evaluation, that parabens are indeed safe and effective for continued use, as originally believed. With that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement on parabens to set the record straight and reassure consumers that there was no reason to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. Other groups, including the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have also come forward to publicly state that there is no proof of a linkage between parabens and cancer. In 2008, a comprehensive review by the CIR, published in theInternational Journal of Toxicology, concluded that parabens pose no adverse risks when used in the concentrations found in cosmetic products. Today, parabens remain officially approved for use in cosmetics by the U.S. FDA; the European Commission; the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; and many more regulatory bodies.

In the end, it remains a consumer's personal decision whether to use products with parabens or those with alternative preservatives. But I implore the experts within our industry to at least be ready with the full facts on the topic so we may continue to hold our valued position as expert advisors, rather than simply service implementers. After all, it's this type of dedication that will allow our industry to prosper and our clientele to become increasingly satisfied.

Get the scoop on the other side of the debate from Eminence Organic Skin Care's Meaghan Cochrane, who reveals why you may want to consider carrying only paraben-free products.

Parabens Reviewed

Parabens, a popular family of preservatives, have been the topic of hot debate in the skincare industry for the better part of a decade. Found in a variety of everyday products from shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics, and deodorant, these additives are found in an estimated 90 percent of cosmetic products. If so many companies are including parabens in their products, what's the issue?

Researchers at the University of Reading (England) were the first to raise suspicions concerning a link to cancer in 2004 when parabens were identified in samples of breast tumors. According to an article published in theJournal of Applied Toxicology, lead researcher and oncology expert Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., found that the chemical form of parabens in 18 of the 20 tumors tested indicated that they originated from something applied to the skin, the most likely candidates being deodorants, antiperspirants, creams, or body sprays. Of the results, Darbre says: "Parabens are used as preservatives in thousands of cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical products, but this is the first study to show their accumulation in human tissues. It demonstrates if people are exposed to these chemicals, then the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies," and added that "parabens have been shown to be able to mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, and estrogen can drive the growth of human breast tumors."

Until this study, it was known that parabens could be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract or the blood, metabolized, and eventually excreted in the urine. But with these findings, the presence of intact parabens in tumor tissue show that these chemicals can not only be absorbed through the skin but can also persist and accumulate in breast cancer tissue in their original form. The longer parabens are on the skin, the more opportunity there is for them to be absorbed directly into the blood stream and into soft tissue.

Always a pioneer in natural alternatives and precautionary measures, the European Union took this study seriously and banned propyl paraben use in food. So what's the holdup in North America? Not nearly enough research has been done on this side of the pond on the harmful effects of parabens, and this is mainly due to a lack of funding. There is an apparent absence of interest to fund more research from the American cosmetics industry, government, or health organizations. As backwards as it sounds, the FDA and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) are both funded by the industry they are supposed to monitor.

U.S. federal law allows the cosmetic industry, estimated at more than $50 billion, to use unrestricted amounts of chemicals in skincare products with no health monitors and no regulated testing. It can be argued that cosmetics and personal care items are the least regulated products available to consumers, and the FDA's own website details its limitations: "FDA's legal authority over cosmetics is different from other products regulated by the agency...Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority, with the exception of color additives."

With such free reign, it's no wonder many major cosmetic companies take the easy way out with regards to using parabens. Not only is the use of these additives unrestricted, but they are also cheap to produce and extend the shelf life of products far longer than other natural alternatives. A switch to paraben-free skincare products means cutting into corporate profits, because alternate natural ingredients and preservatives involve farming, processing, increased costs for development, and a shorter life span.

But there is hope. Natural- and organic-based skincare companies know that cosmetics and personal care products can exist using safer preservatives. Grapefruit seed extract, potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, and vitamin E are just a few of the naturally occurring options available to the industry and are extremely gentle and effective while giving a 12-month shelf life to products.

We've done our research and have heard the arguments from other teams. Sure, it's possible that more research needs to be done and that parabens are as harmless as honey; but it's also possible that the correlations to breast cancer are accurate and these preservatives are causing us to get sick. Without an industry standing up to ask questions, we are left to make sensible decisions for ourselves. When a natural option works and is readily available, why take a chance? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

We wish you a FABULOUS 2010!

The StormSister Spatique storefront is closed on January 1st.
You may shop online 24/7.