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skincare

Happiness is skin deep

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Happiness is skin deep

I have come to accept my skin. It’s thin, easily offended and without fail, reminds me when I haven’t been getting enough sleep. Since my skin and I are stuck with each other, I have come to understand it, and know what makes it happy. When my skin is happy, I find myself in a good place.

So let’s talk about happy skin. The harsh truth is that we live in an environment that often works hard to make our skin downright unhappy.  Pollution, sun damage, and stress all wreak havoc on the well-being of our skin.  A good diet is essential, but great skincare is key. I have found that a clean beauty attitude is as integral to the health of our skin as a clean diet can be.

The first time I was introduced to the power of plant oils, I was awestruck with the experience. I was hopeful, but never expected my skin to respond so immediately. But like a garden after a good rainfall, my skin blossomed and I have not looked back.

Plant oils can be complex, and have unique characteristics to them, such as comedogenic properties — meaning how likely they are to clog our pores. They can also be categorized as either ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ oils, referring to how quickly they absorb into the skin. Face oils and serums, such as the ones we create at Audre Leigh, are designed based on the unique active qualities each oil brings to the skin. Our basic kitchen staples, like coconut and olive oil, which are skin-friendly and great for many skincare uses, are not always tolerated by many skin types, so before you slather on that organic olive oil you have in your cupboard, let’s talk a little about skin-friendly oils! 

Plant oils come from a long list of fruit, flower, vegetable and grain seeds — cold-pressed is best, as is organic. Precious flower seed oils, such as Rosehip and Camellia (green tea) have a low chance of clogging pores, and are considered great skin regenerators — suitable for acne sufferers and well-tolerated by most.  Argan, Borage and Jojoba are seen as the ‘holy grail’ of oils with their abilities to repair, moisturize and tone our skin.

Plant oils are chock full of vitamins and fatty acids, with omega 3, 6 and 9 being of particular interest, as they help heal and build strength in our skin cells. We often hear of antioxidant-rich foods, and the same can be applied to skincare. Think of face oils as a protective barrier to the pollution in our environment — from car exhaust, smoke, stress and sun damage, which all compromise the overall health of our skin. Keeping our skin happy isn’t always easy, and we are seeing a societal shift in focus on self-care as a result, with a renewed interest in ancient beauty rituals making a comeback. Ayurvedic beauty practices are also coming back into vogue, with the resurgence of such practices as Mukepaleham, where precious oils are deeply massaged into the skin allowing for the time needed to connect and build a relationship with our beauty regimen. On the flip side, commercial lotions filled with silicones, fragrances and preservatives — that have no skin benefits — are being called into question for weakening and deteriorating our facial skin cells over time. By contrast, clean and green beauty products are potent, plant-based, and cruelty-free, offering an alternative to traditional commercial based beauty products. 

Ditching the age-old visions of beauty as ‘anti-aging’ while distancing ourselves from the days of botox and beauty-at-any-cost, we are seeing a cultural shift that embraces a balanced and age-positive outlook of what beauty is, and can be. Healthy skin has never been more relevant. And when we are healthy, happiness usually isn’t far behind.

When I was designing Audre Leigh’s Beauty Seed Oil, I wanted to develop a serum that would incorporate all the natural, plant-based qualities powerful enough to make my skin sing. To this day, my skin still feels like a wonderful, ongoing operetta.  I believe in the power of plants, and the potency they offer. The ritual of massaging, touching and connecting with my skin and seeing the difference it makes is, for me, an act of self-care with unmistakable results and the first step towards actualizing my own happiness —  a happiness I love seeing in my face.

- Shannon Cleary

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Happiness in a few simple steps

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Happiness in a few simple steps

Coming from a long line of women who believed in natural beauty and simple skincare, my appreciation for clean beauty started early in life. The women who raised me were full of life and laughter and didn’t have much time or patience for complicated skincare routines. In the early days, my choices for skincare products were rooted in botanical ingredients — hippy-type rituals — so I naturally looked for keywords like ‘fresh’ and ‘natural’ before purchasing any products. Yet, after reading packaging ingredients which I could barely pronounce, and not wanting to be guided by marketing jargon alone, through many years of research, I reached a turning point which inevitably led me to a deeper understanding of cleaner beauty, and the eventual creation of Audre Leigh.

What is clean beauty, you might ask? The clean beauty movement takes the ‘all-natural’ products that we normally find in health food stores, infuses them with a little glam and turns them into “must-have-non-toxic-ultrachics” with the ultimate goal of keeping consumers safe from harmful chemicals from standard beauty products.

It turns out, we don’t really need all those toxins in our products and that many of the ingredients we use in our healthy eating habits are equally potent in skincare regimens. For example, organic maca powder often added to smoothies is a skin brightening ingredient found in our Root Clay Mask, while our Earth Cleanse face exfoliant is made with organic hemp, organic rice powder, chamomile and pineapple powders. Organic plant oils and extracts are incredibly skin-healing and make the next step to a more natural approach to your skincare that much easier.  Using pure, organic ingredients means your skin is absorbing only what it should, and doesn’t have to contend with the synthetics and silicones in standard products, that offer nothing to your skin. The same goes for perfumes and chemically enhanced ingredients known to irritate skin, which offer literally no benefits.

So, with my own modern take, based on a curated list of botanical formulations, emphasizing an eco-conscious awareness towards ingredients and packaging, I breathed life into Audre Leigh. To me, clean beauty is happiness in a glass jar! A simple step towards skincare, for you and the world around you, feels good — and happiness always looks beautiful.

For more information on ingredients found in many household or beauty products that are known skin irritants or associated with endocrine (hormonal) toxicity, check out environmentaldefence.ca and join the movement of kicking toxins out of our daily lives!

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Shannon will be officially launching her clean beauty products on November 17th at Luna. Click here to register for the Audre Leigh Launch: A Beauty, Wellness and Karma Event

For more Audre Leigh products, check out our Prana and Savasana lotions on our online shop, made with organic and eco-certified ingredients or visit https://www.audreleigh.com/ for a wider selection of products!

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