humidorbeardoilIt’s not every day an apothecary such as ourselves gets to have their flagship beard oil product field tested by a true industry expert. In fact, we were very surprised indeed to be contacted by the elusive and eccentric Bobert Brush – a man of some celebrity in the domain of male grooming – who seemed most enthused by our formula! Bobert diligently subjected our product to his 7-point scientific beard oil review methodology. In this post we’re listing the reasons we think Bobert graded our beard oil so highly.

Check out the original post here.

High Quality Tobacco Flower Absolute

There’s simply no other oil on the market that strikes the tobacco note with as much purity and force of intent as us. We use tobacco flower absolute, instead of perfume or essential oils. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, an absolute is a concentrate that is produced by solvent extraction rather than steam distillation. With a good understanding of the solvent they are using, extractors can produce absolutes with aromas much closer to the original plant than is possible with essential oils produced through distillation.

Our Lingerability Factor

Bobert was especially impressed by the linger-ability of our oil, scoring it 98%! Because we use a generous amount of high quality ingredients, the aroma of our beard oil tends to stick around for much longer than the competitors.There’s nothing worse than opting for an inferior beard oil only to find you can’t even detect it in your beard ten minutes after you’ve applied it!

We Use Broccoli Seed Oil to Enhance Skin Benefits

By using broccoli seed oil in our recipe, we enhance the skin impact of our recipe. Many beard oil manufacturers are keen to highlight the hair enhancing properties of their wares, but not so many think about the various impacts on the skin. Broccoli seed oil has a reef of benefits for the skin and makes our product really stand out! I reckon that explains why Bobert graded our oil 94% overall!

You can read more about The Beard Oil Pledge and Bobert’s index of leading beard oils here.

If you’re searching for the best beard oil, there’s no need to look anywhere else!beardoils800x200

I spent a lot of time dealing with acne in my 20s. It started around age 23 and continued until my early 30s. When I first started Cocoon Apothecary, I made aromatherapy remedies and bath/body products. I didn’t dare sell facial care because who was I going to sell it to with pimples all over my face? Eventually, as I ventured into body lotions, I was able to formulate a cream just for myself and those natural ingredients (that are the basis for Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream) made a big difference. My face cleared up and I could finally give myself permission to venture into skin care formulation. I still get the odd break out but I know how to clear it up and get balanced again. I know that I would never ever have a pimple if I cut out wheat entirely but seriously? I live in Canada, it’s what we grow and what we eat. I try. Just let me eat cake! With clear skin.

Here’s how I keep my face clear:

1. I never wear foundation except on special occasions (fancy dinner out, tradeshow etc). If I do, I will break out. There are definitely some exceptions to this such as Sappho Organic Cosmetics and some mineral powders but most of them are pore-clogging nightmares. Take a foundation vacation for a week and see what happens. You might be afraid to go nude in public but anyone that judges your skin is a jerk so who cares? Your face will be 100% better off. Foundation is great for looking flawless but do we have to be perfect 24/7? No one expects this from men (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).

2. I exfoliate daily. I know some of you just gasped but that is the basis of most medicated acne treatments. For example, salycylic acid is a chemical exfoliant. I use a Petal Purity Exfoliating Cleanser, which has gentle jojoba beads that are spherical and will not irritate acne (do not wake up the beast with something harsh). It loosens up dead skin cells and allows excess sebum to move freely without getting clogged in the pore and erupting into a pimple. Usually I exfoliate and then massage my cream into my skin which releases blackheads and other hardened substances. Very gratifying experience. I also use Ancient Mud weekly to draw impurities out of pores and exfoliate a tad deeper than Petal Purity.

3. I never touch my face. Don’t pick. Don’t touch. Your hands are the Times Square of bacteria. You don’t even want to know what’s on there. People say, “I can’t help it”! Yes you can.

4. I don’t use chemical sunscreens. They are really irritating and anyone with sensitive skin can probably attest to this. The way they work is that they turn UV rays to heat on your skin. What could go wrong? Well, I’ll tell you. Your skin can easily get red, inflamed or just plain stressed out – especially over time (hello low grade inflammation). Go with a mineral sunscreen, zinc preferably. It acts like teeny weeny mirrors that deflect the sun from your face. It’s the ultimate protection.

So those are my 4 best tips for being acne-free. I know diet is a big factor but to be honest, I’ve known some really clean eaters that had acne so I’m not 100% convinced that it’s the only factor. I think there is plenty that you can do on the outside.

EWGV_Green-check_HToday we joyfully announce that 2 of our best-selling products have been granted the EWG VERIFIED™ seal of approval! And Cocoon Apothecary happens to be the first Canadian skin care company to do so. We have been working in conjunction with the Environmental Working Group since 2007 to provide our customers with a truly transparent list of ingredients, and this extension of our partnership is incredibly satisfying.

From day 1 of Cocoon Apothecary our goal has been to create luxury, eco-friendly, non-toxic, organic skin care products without compromise or a wicked price tag. We believe that extraordinary green personal care products should be available for everyone. The Skin Deep database provides detailed information on the ingredients of thousands of personal products from our own moisturizers to mascaras from every brand you can think of. EWG has spent more than 20 years dedicated to the safety of the planet and its occupants, and in that time has become a trusted source for personal care product safety and consumer education.

EWG VERIFIED: For Your Health™ program kicks the Skin Deep database up a notch by looking beyond the label. Getting verified was no easy task. We had to provide detailed documentation about our products right from our sources, including proof from our supplier confirming the purity of our glycerine. Rest-assured that any company you find with the EWG VERIFIED™ seal is as good as it gets. That means ingredients that are safe to use on a daily basis.

Why did we go through with obtaining this designation? To prove to you, our customers, that our word is honourable, and to show you without a doubt that your trust in our company is warranted. This high five from EWG is huge, and we are ecstatic to be EWG Verified!

inflammaging_faceI am someone that has sensitive skin. I remember trying a cream in the 1980s that contained alpha hydroxy acids, the ‘anti-aging” ingredient of that era, and feeling the burn. I knew then that this unpleasant sensation on my skin could not possibly be good for it so I avoided it from that point on. Having sensitive skin has saved me from so many harsh products over the years and I believe it is a major factor in having great skin in my 40s.

Inflammaging is a new term for the cellular damage that occurs when certain chemicals come in contact with the body. In skin care terms, this means anything that causes burning, redness, swelling, or pain. It can also describe something that’s much more subtle, a chronic low-grade inflammation from skin care ingredients that you can’t detect but are slowly damaging your skin and causing it to age more rapidly than if you used nothing at all. I’ve seen it time and time again, someone that looks amazing for their age and when asked what they use, they respond with ‘nothing’. This is how my suspicions started about conventional products doing more harm that good. Many times, it’s the actual ‘anti-aging’ ingredients that are the culprit. Take for instance glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid with molecules so tiny it can penetrate layers and attack collagen and elastin, leading to droopy skin and deep wrinkles.

Quick fix solutions and painful or harsh treatment are not the answer. Nourishing and supporting your skin with gentle, natural ingredients is the long term solution because they are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals that work in harmony with our bodies rather than seeming like a foreign intruder that must be battled.

Ingredients known to cause inflammaging:

– glycolic acid

– retinol

–  benzoyl peroxide

This is a limited list of ingredients that I could dig up but I am positive the list is much larger, with chemical sunscreens, all alpha and beta hydroxy acids, certain detergents, and some essential oils. My advice would be to listen to your skin. A skin care product should feel soothing and cooling and serve to protect and rebuild. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Skin TypeKnowing your skin type will guide you towards your ideal skin care routine for a healthy glow and confidence boost. Here are the most common traits of dry, normal, combination and sensitive skin.

Dry Skin Attributes:

  • Rough or papery texture
  • Feels tight and looks thin
  • Small pores
  • Absorbs moisture quickly
  • Minimal oil production*

Dry or alipidic skin does not produce enough sebum (oil) to protect it from environmental pollutants and the signs of aging. The skin is often sensitive because the acid mantle – the natural barrier between your skin and the outside world – is weakened. Look for skin care products known as occlusives, which are thick moisturizers that protect the acid mantle and to develop a healthy balance between skin and oil.

Try:  Petal Purity Facial Cleanser followed by Rosehip Oil Moisturizing Serum or Today Serum before bed and follow up with Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream after you brush your teeth in the morning. If you’re a morning shower person skip the evening cleanse (but always remove makeup!).

*See note under Oily Skin

Dry vs. Dehydrated

Dehydrated skin is lacking in water instead of oil, and can strike all skin types. Dehydrated skin can look thin or flakey, and can feel like a bit like tissue paper to the touch. Dehydration of the skin is caused by internal factors such as caffeine, alcohol, and medications as well as external factors such as sun exposure, winter weather, harsh products or over-exfoliation. Drink plenty of water or herbal teas and moisturize regularly.

Normal Skin Attributes:

  • Usually blemish-free
  • Matte or glowy appearance, but not shiny
  • Pores are normal size, noticeable around the T-zone

Normal skin can fluctuate between all the skin types, but won’t do so radically or for an extended period of time. While it’s the ideal skin type, it still requires regular care to keep skin and oil production in healthy unity.

Try:  Petal Purity Facial Cleanser followed by Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream. Boost your skin’s glow by adding a few drops of Argan Oil Moisturizing Serum to your facial cream application.

Combination Skin Attributes:

  • Parts of the face can be oily while others are normal or dry
  • T-zone and chin are often the oiliest parts of the face
  • Pores are more obvious outside the T-zone
  • Skin around the edges of the face can be flakey and dehydrated

With a little tender loving care, it is possible to tame combination skin. The key to balancing the oil and dryness is with gentle cleansers and regular exfoliating to remove dead skin cells and combat acne. Regular exfoliating could mean anywhere from daily to weekly, let your skin decide. Water-based products are ideal.

Try:  Petal Purity Exfoliating Facial Cleanser followed by our gently astringent  Rose Dew Facial Toner and a generous application of Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream.

Oily Skin Attributes:

  • Excessive oil production*
  • Pores are large
  • Prone to blemishes
  • Can look sallow and thick

Oily, or lipidic, skin needs a balanced regime of moisturizer and cleanser. Too much cleansing will strip the acid mantle that protects skin from environmental pollutants to cause irritation, while too little will lead to breakouts and speed the signs of aging. Too little moisture will cause skin to continue to overproduce oil, while a thick moisturizer may not entirely absorb. Exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells that can become trapped in the pores by oil and cause acne. The good news is that oily skin is slow to show the signs of aging!

Try:  Petal Purity Exfoliating Facial Cleanser – gentle enough to use daily – followed by  Orange Blossom Toner and Orange Blossom Facial Cream, both designed specifically for oily skin.

*Excess oil production can also be a sign of dry skin. When this happens it’s because the skin was dry for so long that the body overcompensates in oil production. If astringent products irritate your skin rather than combat oil, you likely have dry skin.

Sensitive Skin:

  • Fragile, red, and appears thin
  • Flushes red easily and it’s common to have conditions that cause redness such as rosacea
  • Especially common in descendants of Northern Europeans

Sensitive skin has become more common thanks to our society’s hurried, stressful idea of normal, but it is also caused by harsh weather, sun exposure, environmental pollutants and genetics. It is fussy, but not impossible to pamper. Exfoliate sparingly; you may find just gently removing cleanser with a washcloth is enough. Read skin care product labels carefully and avoid anything astringent or with added scent, and avoid deep cleansing masks. Stop using products immediately if there is any sign of irritation.

Try:  Petal Purity Facial Cleanser, which is cream-based so does not suds up and strip skin of moisture. Follow with  Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream. If you’re interested in a moisture-boosting serum like our Argan Oil Moisturizing Serum use that in place of a cream moisturizer as using both may overwhelm your skin.

My skin doesn’t fit any of these categories.

That’s not unheard of. The theme that links all skin types together is balance. Be open to the idea of trying different routines and products, and keep track of what your skin likes and does not like. If you find something that works, stick with it even if you’re tempted to try something else because regularly changing your routine may not do your skin any favours.

SPF is a number that’s put on sun protection to tell you how much longer you can stay in the sun than if you weren’t wearing any protection at all. So if you can stay in the sun for 10 minutes without burning, then with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 you will be able to stay in the sun for 150 minutes without burning.

I want to explain these numbers a little bit more and how they come up with them. First you need to know about the UV rays. There are 2 types of UV rays that we get exposed to. One is UVB and that one [causes] more of a surface damage, so the first few layers of the skin get affected by the UVB rays, and these are what cause burns. The UVA rays are not as easy to detect because you don’t get red, but they are doing damage at an even deeper level into your skin, and they can attack collagen and elastin. UVA rays are what actually cause a lot of aging and wrinkles.

Tanning beds are so bad for your skin because they’re mostly UVA rays, and they will just age your skin like nobody’s business. That’s a definite no-no!

I want you to be aware of something. The FDA and the Environmental Working Group suggest that you do not use Sun Protection Factor over 50, and this is why; when they do testing for SPF in the lab, they’re only testing UVB ray exposure because they look at how fast the skin goes red. What companies have learnt to do is put antioxidants and anti-inflammatories into their formulas so that the redness is reversed by these ingredients, and it jacks up the SPF. What’s wrong with that is you are still getting exposed to these rays, you’re just not getting red because it’s being reversed. This is giving a false sense of protection for people; you’re getting a lot more sun than you think you are, because it’s not about redness at this point because there are ingredients that are counter-acting it. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting the harmful rays, your DNA is not being attacked, whatever – it’s still happening. Just be aware of that when you’re using these really high SPFs. My preference is that you use lower SPF and you take care of your skin other ways; you don’t go outside as much, you find shade, you go under an umbrella at the beach, you wear a hat, you wear UV-protective clothing. The 60+, the 50, even, it’s just giving a false sense of security to people, and I really do believe people are damaging their skin and they don’t know any better because it’s not going red when it would usually go red. So keep that in mind and stay protected.

We’ve just gotten into the months that we’re starting to spend a lot of time in the sun so it’s really important that we’re protecting our skin from damage; from skin cancer, from premature aging, from everything that overexposure to sun rays will do to it.

There are 2 types of sunscreens you can choose from. The first I’m going to talk about is physical sunscreen; zinc or titanium oxide. Those 2 minerals get applied to the skin and they act like tiny little mirrors deflecting the rays off your skin. The second kind is chemicals; oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octyl salicylate. These cause a chemical reaction by taking the light and turning it into a different form of energy, and it’s usually heat. This is why if you get these in your eyes, it burns badly, and uh…not fun. My preference is definitely the first one, the physical sunscreen, because it’s gentle on your skin; it’s not going to absorb into your system and create a toxic stew, whereas we know now that these petrochemicals tend to absorb in, and there’s all kinds of issues that we’re starting to understand, such as endocrine disruption, and, you know, cancer.
I’m not saying that sunscreen causes cancer, but I’m saying that you have to be careful of what you’re putting on your skin every single day, and the impact it could have on your body. Not to mention the fact that oxybenzone is a known hormone disrupter – one of the more common ones in the market – and is eco-toxic. So if you go and swim near a reef, it can bleach the reef, and it is responsible for a lot of human damage of reef around the world. And that should tell you something about the actual chemical.

Physical sunscreens all the way! I love zinc; it’s not as whitening now, because before we had these larger molecules, so when you think about zinc you just think, like, white – everywhere. But fortunately they’ve gotten the molecule nice and small – micronized – and so it’s not as whitening. You want to go small but not too small, because the nano-sized, the nano-particle zinc, does absorb to damage skin, does absorb through it, and we really don’t know what this nano-sized zinc, or titanium for that matter, is going to do to your system. There’s just not enough research at this point in time. There have been some damning reports about it being eco-toxic as well, so look for non-nano versions.

My favourite sunscreen is Goddess Garden. It’s non-whitening, a super non-toxic formula, and it doesn’t clog up my pores; I have to be very careful about using stuff that’s too greasy or heavy because I will break out.

The ingredients I really want you to avoid are; oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate – because apparently when sun hits retinyl palmitate it can create a carcinogenic type of damage to your cells, so stay away from that – and citrus essential oils, because they contain furocoumarins and they are phototoxic so they will make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays. I just read an article this morning about how even drinking orange juice, they’re linking that to melanoma, so because of these furocoumarins they’ll make your skin just super vulnerable to the sun. So if you see a skin care product that has sweet orange, lime, lemon, bergamot, or grapefruit, stay away! Stay away from the summer, because if you’re going to be out in the sun with it…I don’t think it’s ever a good idea in skin care, but especially if you’re going to be out in the sun.