Monday, December 27, 2010

My eHealth Radio Interview

Here is my interview on eHealth Radio. If you would like to listen to the podcast only, here is the link.

Becky Sturm, CEO/Founder of StormSister Spatique, an online retailer of Lotions, Potions and Serums for hair, skin, nails & body joins the show. She tells Eric what she would change about the beauty industry,  inexpensive skincare tips for problematic skin and more great information.

Having spent 26 years in all aspects of the salon and spa and boutique business, as well as growing up in her grandmothers' salon has given Becky Sturm a well-rounded perspective of her industry. Her experience performing haircare, skincare and nailcare service as well as a vast knowledge of salon and spa beauty/grooming products has led to her recent foray into product development. The beauty industry is embroiled in much controversy about product ingredients, self-regulation and improper labeling as to what is considered "natural" and "organic". These issues are a major concern for Becky and her clientele and she will be addressing them with her own brand that will launch in the spring of 2011.

Transcript of Interview with Becky Sturm

Eric Michaels: If I could change anything about the beauty industry, what would it be?
Becky Sturm: That beauty companies did more to clean up their ingredient lists. There are many controversial ingredients that do not need to be in personal grooming/beauty products. We should start by adopting the European standard.

Eric Michaels: What are some inexpensive skincare tips for problem skin?
Becky Sturm: It is imperative that problematic skin be cleansed morning and evening.  Skipping one of the daily cleanings perpetuates the problem. Wipe down phones (office, cell, landlines) daily, with a wet wipe. There is a lot of bacteria on phones. Change your pillowcase at least once per week. More often if possible. Our faces spend a lot of time on a pillow. That is a huge breeding ground for bacteria.

Eric Michaels: How often should hair be shampooed?
Becky Sturm: No more than once or twice per week. Ideally, no more than once per week. Slowly work up to this by rinsing on the days you would usually shampoo. Rub scalp as if shampooing, rinse thoroughly, add a bit of conditioner to the ends if needed and then 1/2 of the styling/grooming products used on the previous wash/rinse day. Work slowly up to this goal. You will save a lot of money on product/salon services and hair and scalp health will be improved. This regimen is especially helpful to those with curly/wavy hair.

Eric Michaels: How often should body exfoliants be used?
Becky Sturm: Two to three times a week is ideal. Not every day. Exfoliating is important for skin and body health. The face should not be exfoliated more than once or twice per week since facial skin is much thinner than the skin on our bodies. Too much exfoliation can actually cause skin problems through small abrasions.

Eric Michaels: Can any grooming products do double duty?
Becky Sturm: Your shampoo can certainly be used as a shower gel. Leave-in conditioners make great body moisturizers and work well as anti-static remedies. Shea butter is great as an all over moisturizer, cuticle balm, and hair balm for short curly hair.

Conclusion Tip: Add some pure shea butter to your winter skincare regimen by working a small amount into clean hands and patting gently over moisturizer. This seals in the healing/hydrating properties of your moisturizer and gives an added protection to skin in the winter months. This tips works for face and body.

Web Site:

Thanks for the opportunity, Eric!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mane Maintenance

My favorite shampoo, Rare Elements Pure Shampoo, & Essential Conditioner make it into The Zoe Report.

Here is what Rachel had to say:

Okay, I admit it, I am a hair care junkie. I love every aspect of mane maintenance from getting a blowout to styling sprays and playing with different ‘dos. I even love the classic 1970s movie, Shampoo—Goldie Hawn is everything!—and envy each actress’ bombshell tresses. In my commitment to keeping my own locks just as fabulous, it all starts with the essential shampoo and conditioner elements…Rare Elements, that is.
Formulated without parabens, sulfates or silicones, both of today’s Rare Elements products—the Pure Shampoo and Essential Conditioner—achieve eco-luxurious results without harming your hair. Obsessed. The Pure Shampoo utilizes a black seed healing herb, Kalahari oil and African watermelon seed oil that cleanses and strengthens your hair without drying it out. Then, the Essential Conditioner infuses your locks with moisture and nutrients for an all-around rejuvenating experience. What are you waiting for? Lather, rinse, Rare Elements! xoRZ

Availability: Rare Elements Pure Shampoo ($34) and Essential Conditioner ($44). For additional retailer information, visit

Thursday, December 23, 2010

IN Fig+Sage

INtelligent Nutrients’ Anti-Aging Skin Care line has received many awards in various categories in Fig+Sage’s “The 2010 Best in Natural Beauty Awards.” Just a few of the categories include Best All Around Line, Best Facial Cleansers For Anti-Aging and Best Facial Oils For Dry/Aging Skin!

The following is the Fig+sage review:

It's no secret that I'm skeptical or that the increasing use of the word "organic" is partly to blame. When it comes to organic beauty there's a lot of hype in this biz and I'm sure that if you aren't already aware, soon you will realize that companies are using the word to get your attention. This can be a good and a bad thing. On one hand, products need to be labeled so we know which ones are organic - but on the other hand it has caused some companies to falsely label their products. Not everything stamped with the word "organic" means it actually is organic or that it's effective or superior. My overwhelmingly positive experience with Intelligent Nutrient's Anti-Aging Skin Care line proved to me these products live up to their claims and exceeded my expectations.

First, some background - back in June of last year, I announced that the founder of AVEDA, Horst Rechelbacher, was on the cusp of launching his very own USDA certified organic hair and skin care line. I was invited to the press event in NYC held on June 11, 2008 where Horst drank his own certified organic hair spray out of champagne glass to prove that his products are safe, non-toxic and natural. (Though I don't recommend it, I admit that I've also sipped the hair spray out of curiosity).

I've been using all four products in the line exclusively since for the past 2 months and I’m absolutely hooked! Within just two days I realized my skin looked and felt differently than it had in a very long time. Stubborn redness that wouldn't cease with any other product I owned (and man, do I own a lot of them) was quickly reduced and breakouts were eliminated (something I still struggle with in my thirties). The dryness I thought was the cause of winter continues to haunt me well into summer, yet these products provide the nourishing hydration my skin craves. For the most part, I believe products are most effective when used with others in the same line and I feel no differently with these. You'll likely see the best results when using all four products in conjunction with each other and the great part is that they're designed for EVERY skin type:

Certified Organic Anti-Aging Cleanser :: It's fresh and pure aroma makes my nose and face happy morning and night. Not a typical consistency for a facial cleanser - does not foam, nor is it a cleansing milk or lotion; it's more like a gel, though not clear in's evident that it's packed with pure botanicals contents, by the way it looks, smells and acts - not to mention it's stellar ingredient list. Since the white plastic bottle isn't see-through I can't tell how much I've used, but I've used it twice everyday for two months and it feels (from weight) like I have a good amount left, hopefully another month's worth.

Certified Organic Anti-Aging Mist :: Entirely refreshing and soothing, this perfectly preps skin for moisture. I like to spritz it on after I use blush or bronzer to eliminate the powdery look or on hot and humid days for an afternoon pick-me-up. After using twice a day, everyday for two months, I've used a little less than half of the bottle. (Glass bottle)

Certified Organic Anti-Aging Moisure :: I apply a very small amount every morning before I apply makeup and the beauty of it is that it absorbs quickly and produces a fabulous non-greasy glow. For really dry skin, use after apply the Serum. Since the plastic bottle isn't see-through I can't tell how much I've used, but I've used it twice everyday for two months and it feels (from weight) like I have a good amount left, hopefully another month's worth.

Certified Organic Anti-Aging Serum :: I love and recommend the entire line without reservation, but this is hands-down, the superstar product of the bunch! One look at the ingredients and you'll find totally natural, skin-loving ingredients like argan oil, red grape seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, black cumin seed oil and carrot seed oil. Other products use these ingredients, but most use just one or two - it's rare to find all of them in one product and another rarity is the use of black cumin seed oil, a powerful skin healer. Horst has found the perfect combination to hydrate and heal skin, heal and ward off blemishes and plump wrinkles (yes, I've noticed a reduction in mine - especially around my eye area). I use this at night all over my face (including under eyes and eyelids), neck and decollete. The smells is lovely and something I look forward to using it. After using 1-2 drops twice a day for the past 2 months, I've hardly put a dent in this bottle. I'm confident this will last me at least 6 months - a great value! (Glass bottle)

Improvements Noticed ::

+ Redness eliminated

+ Breakouts banished

+ Wrinkles reduced

+ Pores minimized

+ Perfectly hydrated

+ Glowing skin

No matter your skin type or age, these products are designed for you. Think you're too young to use "anti-aging" products? Consider this - it's easier to prevent wrinkles than to get rid of them once they happen. Like clockwork, I started to really notice wrinkles when I turned thirty. With my thirty-second birthday just a couple weeks away, you better believe I won't let these out of my grips anytime soon (or ever!). In fact, I haven't found a skin care line I love this much since last year. The Cleanser, Mist and Moisture were the only skin care products my sister used while she was in the hospital a few weeks ago for the birth of her baby girl and my mom, who is more concerned with anti-aging is using and loving the Serum.

Intelligent Nutrients is not affiliated with AVEDA. Rechelbacher founded AVEDA in 1978 and sold it to Estee Lauder two decades later. This is not an AVEDA endorsement.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Want You!

I have an interview on eHealth Radio on Thursday and I need your help.
Please ask me any beauty/personal grooming questions you may have. Leave your questions either in the comments section here or email them to becky(at)stormsister(dot)biz

I will answer them all and let you know which ones were used in the interview. 


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cuticle Care

Do you have an important event and your cuticles look like you've missed your last hand treatment? Massaging a little NONTOXIQUE Cuticle & Nail Balm into them beforehand will give it time to absorb and give your cuticles a fresh moisturized and hydrated look, disguising all imperfections. Especially great trick for brides!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Roadmap

About 6-8 months ago I was interviewed by Beth Schillaci in regard to Social Media and its importance to small businesses and entrepreneurs. I never imagined my two-cents would actually be published! Yippee!

Read all about it in Beth's book, Your Social Media Roadmap - Navigating New Strategies for Small Businesses. Page 56, specifically ;o)

Many thanks to Beth for giving me this opportunity!

Friday, December 10, 2010


One of our favorite products will be getting some face time in the January edition of Lucky Magazine!

You heard it here first, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It Does A Body Good

Excerpt from the December edition of American Spa magazine. By Gary Goldfaden, M.D

There is a key ingredient to healthy skin that is one of the most dynamic substances the human body produces. This vital substance has the power to activate more than 2,000 genes. It controls everything from normal bone growth and immune system response to healthy eyesight and neuromuscular function. It is absolutely essential to the long-lasting health and beauty of skin through its involvement in skin cell metabolism, growth, repair and protection. This largely overlooked nutrient is vitamin D.

A True Skin Saver
Every skin cell begins its life deep in the base layer of the epidermis. As these immature cells detach and migrate upward to the surface, they go through a series of complex changes in both form and function. The rate at which these cells divide, the nature and timing of their changes, as well as their transit time to the surface, are all controlled by growth factors and other molecules that are triggered by the presence of vitamin D. The skin loses and must replace about 40,000 cells every minute. If enough vitamin D is not available to fuel this process, replacement cells won’t be manufactured quickly enough. Inevitably, the outer layer of skin becomes thinner and more fragile and begins to sag from a lack of adequate support.
The skin has its own immune system that serves as the body’s first line of defense against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. When microorganisms attack, they secrete extracts that stimulate the production of vitamin D in the skin. The innate immune system responds by producing a substance called cathelicidin, a very powerful germicide that also helps promote the development of blood vessels and encourages new cell growth.
The skin is extremely susceptible to free radical damage because of its high metabolism and fatty acid content. Free radicals deteriorate the skin’s structural support and decrease its elasticity, resilience, and suppleness. The skin protects itself from this oxidative destruction through the presence of natural antioxidants. One of the most powerful of these is vitamin D.

A Modern Epidemic
The skin can synthesize approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D after just 20 to 30 minutes of summer sun exposure. Unfortunately, between the ages of 20 and 70, about 75 percent of this ability to produce vitamin D is lost. In addition, today’s predominantly indoor lifestyle and widespread use of UV-blocking sunscreens have severely decreased the amount of vitamin D the average person produces.
Other limiting factors play a part as well. Darker skinned people need five to 10 times more exposure to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D as lighter skinned people. It is now estimated that roughly 75 percent of all teens and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. To make matters worse, most of the active vitamin D the body is able to produce is used to help build and maintain strong bones, not nurture the skin.

StormSister Two-Cents: We have almost gone off the deep-end in regard to sunscreen lately. I don't believe it needs to be applied daily, unless you work outside.  If you are going to spend more than 30 minutes or longer in the sun, I don't find it necessary to apply it.
A bit of sunscreen applied to the face if you will be in bright sunlight for 15-20 minutes, is recommended though.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Striking Oil

Excerpt from the December 2010 edition of American Spa magazine. By Nanci McArdle.

For the past five centuries, the indigenous people of Morocco, known as the Berbers, have recognized the myriad benefits of argan oil, which is extracted from the kernels in the nut that is inside of the fruit grown on the argan tree. Before modern times, the Berbers would collect undigested argan pits from the waste of goats that climbed the trees to eat the nuts. The pits were then ground and pressed to make the oil, which was used for cosmetics and cooking. Over time, more and more benefits have been discovered in argan oil, which naturally contains essential fatty acids and vitamin E, making it an ideal ingredient to incorporate into spa products and treatments. Today, it is harvested and processed in a more sanitary process with the help of machines, but Berber women are still responsible for extracting the oil by using two rough stones between their knees to crack the nuts. And because the oil is so versatile, the demand for the ingredient is rapidly increasing. “Recently, in the U.S., we realized that there are many uses for argan oil,” says Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, a line of products containing 100 percent natural argan oil. “It can be used on the skin, in the bath, to condition dry lips and cuticles, and to remove makeup. I actually swallow a teaspoon a day for even healthier, more glowing skin.” At International Orange (San Francisco), Kahina Argan Oil is incorporated into facial treatments, during which the oil is massaged into the skin to deeply moisturize it. “The antioxidants in this oil help to protect the skin against free radicals that cause the signs of aging while also hydrating, balancing, and restoring skin’s elasticity,” says L’Heureux. “It is an excellent natural treatment for all skin conditions, including eczema and acne.”
Another benefit of this multi-tasking oil is its anti-inflammatory effect, which makes it especially useful to help reduce swelling after cosmetic procedures or waxing.
Using products that contain the ingredient also has a philanthropic angle. All argan oil sold today is produced by womens’ cooperatives in Morocco, which share the profits among local Berber women, providing healthcare and education. This was one of the reasons L’Heureux created Kahina Giving Beauty. “Not only did I notice an immediate improvement in my skin when I discovered argan but I was also intrigued by the story of the Berber women,” says L’Heureux. “It struck me that I could create a skincare line that women would want to use and help the Berber women at the same time.” Aveda also supports the cooperatives by not only purchasing the oil but also donating $20,000 to help fund the purchase of equipment to automate the labor-intensive processing. So, incorporating argan oil into your treatment menu is a win-win: you are not only boosting your bottom line but also contributing to an important cause, all the while helping your clients look good.

StormSisters Two Cents: Though Argan oil is all the rage, please look at all the other ingredients that accompany this oil in so many hair and skincare products that are available. One great ingredient amongst many unhealthy ingredients does not a great product make.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The No-Storefront Storefront

You're invited!

– Sairey Gernes, of Irely Intimates, has generously opened her design studio and manufacturing facility on the West Side of Saint Paul for a local, women-owned, small business boutique shopping experience.

Come and mingle with other fabulous women and experience a uniquely intimate shopping event. Enjoy fun, relaxing shopping  for others (as well as yourself - we won't tell!), a perfect finish to your holiday shopping. Enjoy a bit of vino and nibbles as well.


Irely Intimates – (

Classically beautiful intimates for women embracing a secret side

StormSister Spatique –  (
Lotions, Potions and Serums for Hair – Skin – Nails – Body

Bethany Lorelle – ( )
Fine Handcrafted Accessories since 2001

Attagirl by Kedrin – ( )
Creative Custom Crocheted Accessories

Urban Junket – ( )
Work – Life – Bags

Parfait 10 – Natural age-defying relief for hands and feet.

Foat Design - ( )
Durable urban and eco-friendly yoga wear

Post-Accessories – ( )
Accessories inspired by the forms and theories that define the various  movements within the history of art.


432 Wabasha Street South, St. Paul. December 16th: 4pm-9pm December 17th-19th: 10am-4pm

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Berry World

Blueberries: The Best of the Berry World
By Ada Polla, Alchimie Forever®

Blueberries have made it into the consumer media and
popular advertising campaigns as a healthful fruit to eat,
filled with antioxidants, colorful, round, and delicious. The
Vaccinium myrtillus L. fruit, known in English as bilberry or
blueberry, has powerful protective properties which have
been known and utilized since the Middle Ages, and have
been described in literature since the beginning of the
20th century. Today, blueberries have laid claim to the title,
“the most powerful antioxidants of all.”

However, there still is limited awareness of the potential benefits of blueberries for the skin. Several compounds, in particular polyphenols (including anthocyanins, resveratrol and iron chelators such as quercetin and myricetin) and vitamins, have been isolated from the berries and leaves of the Vaccinium myrtillus L. plant. Thus blueberry extracts exert many beneficial effects on the skin, which can essentially be broken down into three categories: vaso-protective activity (protection of cutaneous capillaries), antioxidant activity (anti-aging effect), and iron chelating activity (additional antioxidant, anti-aging effects).

Vaso-Protective Activity

Flushing, rosacea, and facial redness result from the dilation of fine capillaries located just beneath the epidermis.
While there is no cure for rosacea, there are a number of preventative measures that enable a better control of the symptoms and a minimization of facial redness. Any product that promotes the health of capillaries, delaying their dilation and eventual collapse, contributes to a management of those symptoms.
Blueberries play a role in the management of flushing symptoms. They tighten and protect fine capillaries thanks to anthocyanins, and are thus ideal in skin care products targeting redness-prone skin. The vaso-protective effects of blueberries began to be described in the 1960s, when the fruit’s capillary resistance and permeability were first analyzed. Since, studies have confirmed that blueberries increase capillary resistance.

Antioxidant Activity

The fact that antioxidants are essential in maintaining the skin’s youthfulness is now a well established concept.
The key purpose of antioxidants is to neutralize free radicals, which are primarily caused by excessive UV exposure.

Antioxidants aim to prevent, stop, or repair these various reactions caused by free radicals. Specifically, the anthocyanosidic extract, a powerful scavenger of free radicals. They inhibit lipid citrin coloration and prevent the production of elastase, which is involved in the loss of suppleness and dehydration.

Iron Chelating Activity

Iron has often been featured in the health and consumer press in the context of anemia (i.e. iron deprivation). While many have discussed the various ways of ensuring appropriate iron intake, whether through diet (red meat and various fruits and vegetables), or through the daily use of supplements, few realize that there is a dark side to iron, namely excess iron.

Excess iron is involved in a number of diseases, which all have an oxidative component (whether cardiovascular, brain, or muscle diseases), as well as in premature skin aging. Indeed, free iron is involved in various chemical reactions that lead to the production of the hydroxyl radical, one of the most harmful free radicals.

Once again, blueberries play a key protective role. Indeed, research has shown that quercetin and myricetin (two types of flavonoids found in blueberries) have iron chelating properties, meaning that they minimize the formation of free radicals stimulated by excess free iron and UV light.

So eat your blueberries, but put them on your face too!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday Reminder

December 6th is the last 1st Monday of the season, at The Commodore.

79 Western Ave. in Saint Paul.

Unique, exotic treasures from world travelers, artists, designers, collectors & antiquers.


WILLIE MURPHY playing the grand piano

Hope to see you there!