Godes Beauty Box for Women of Color

We're thrilled to be included in the Godes Beauty Box this month! Godes Beauty was created to help women of color to discover the best of beauty. They search the world to find the best products from leading companies as well as collaborate with new niche brands to create the ultimate beauty discovery experience. If you're a Woman of Color looking for a little help discovering new beauty brands and products, get to know a little more about Godes! We spoke with the founder of Godes Beauty, Catina, to learn a little more about the woman behind the brand. 

Where did the name "Godes Beauty" come from?

When I was thinking about a name for my company, I wanted it to be something that really embodied the true essence of a woman in a few but impactful words. After a weekend of brainstorming, daydreaming and research, the definition of “Goddess” really described was I wanted my company to be and say. I played around with the spelling a few times and added beauty to the name and in September 2015 Godes Beauty was born.

What inspired you to start a subscription box?

Since 2010, I have been a subscriber of a major beauty subscription company however, as time went on, I noticed more and more that the products I was receiving weren’t for me or my beauty needs. Most of the time, I would throw the products away which was really disappointing because I loved getting a box in the mail every month. So in 2014,a light bulb went off, I would create my own beauty box and curate it with products that I would want to try and that would cater to my beauty needs. I did  a lot of research and soul searching and in 2015, I finally had the guts to just do it and introduced Godes Beauty to the world.

What do you look for when choosing items to include in each box?

The deciding factor for choosing items for the box is “will the customer use it?”  I try to choose items that really solve a beauty issue or that are new, and exciting.

Do you have a New Year's resolution for 2016?

My New Year’s resolution is to make more moves and less announcements.  Last year was all about starting Godes Beauty and telling everyone my plans, etc. This year is about execution and just doing. 

The Benefits of Lavender Essential Oils

If you like lavender, you’re not alone. It’s the most used essential oil in the world. Even the Ancient Egyptians were fans – lavender was commonly used as perfume.

Lavender essential oil is extracted mostly from the flower, primarily through steam distillation. With antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics, lavender essential oil has various benefits for your skin.

We’ve all been tempted by the reviews of those natural lavender pillow spray that are supposed to soothe you into the blissful slumber of an ambien, minus the actual ambien. (It’s been proven – a study on college students found that using lavender oil improved the overall quality of sleep by 60%.) But lavender essential oil is good for so much more than simply putting you to sleep. It also:

    Reduces anxiety and emotional stress

    Heals burns and wounds

    Improves sleep

    Restores skin complexion and reduces acne

    Slows aging with powerful antioxidants

    Improves eczema and psoriasis

•   Alleviates headaches

lavenderside.jpg

Happily Scented

Last year we had the incredible luck to be included in a Petit Vour subscription box. Not only was it a thrill to work with the PV team, women across the US had a chance to try our natural, vegan towelettes. When the subscription boxes shipped out, we were glued to Instagram. Subscribers were uploading gorgeous shots of the contents of the PV box, our towelettes included! Then a negative review landed like a dropped bowling ball.

Although our towelettes were deemed “fine” our intentions for making them were not. Because we make scented products, it was implied that BOX Naturals was anti-woman in that “this is another thing women have to do to be considered attractive.”

The reason we’re scented is simple. When the ingredients in our natural, gentle formula are blended together, it creates a scent. To neutralize that and get a scent-free wipe, our only option is to use a harsh chemical mixture. That’s completely against what we stand for as a company and simply put, it's not worth the risk of using chemicals. 

Instead we use just enough of the best organic essential oils to create a pleasant smell. Rose and lavender essential oils both have beneficial properties – they’re soothing and good for your skin and your mood. We're not making mango-grapefruit-whipped cream towelettes because we’d have to use volatile parfum molecules, which could end up reacting with sensitive skin.

Our goal has always been to provide women with the most natural product possible, using a few ingredients as we can. Our light, natural scents are not designed to leave a lasting impression.

As a company, we’re as far from the patriarchy as you can get. Our founder, Irene, is a Wellesley grad who worked on Wall Street, had two babies and started her own company. I am a fiercely independent, globe-wandering Brand/Strategy Specialist – and we are both proud feminists. 

We believe women should smell how they naturally smell, or however they want to smell. That’s not what BOX Naturals is about. We’re simply providing something we couldn’t find ourselves, a natural alternative to the towelettes that are out there, that are gentle enough to use however you want from head to toe. :)

Make up Bag Essentials Spring Edition

Box_Naturals_Make_Up_Bag copy.jpg

A month into spring, and finally, the weather seems to have gotten the memo. What's in our makeup bag this season? Well, there's the usual - a pressed powder to the shine level at "dewy," a few BOX Naturals (of course), and more than a few pink things. 

We're loving this make up bag - the perfect size to throw in your bigger bag, or this bag, one of the best travel bags we've found bc it has two clear TSA approved eco-zip bags for liquids.

Take a peek inside, and you'll find:  

Glitter Polish (to better hide mani chips with!)

Glitter Polish (to better hide mani chips with!)

SuperGoop! Sun's out, sunscreen's out. 

SuperGoop! Sun's out, sunscreen's out. 

Like, LITERALLY, the best shade of pink for cheeks.  And we love the packaging, too!

Like, LITERALLY, the best shade of pink for cheeks.  And we love the packaging, too!

Simply Gum!  Made with fewest ingredients possible and no synthetic flavors.  Finally, a gum after our own heart!

Simply Gum!  Made with fewest ingredients possible and no synthetic flavors.  Finally, a gum after our own heart!

Rose and Mandarin Lip Gloss from one of our favorite companies, Rosbud Perfume Co. 

Rose and Mandarin Lip Gloss from one of our favorite companies, Rosbud Perfume Co. 

Matcha Powder Packs - Organic Green Tea on the go, free of sugar, flavorings, and colorants.  Just pure antioxidant power in your purse.  

Matcha Powder Packs - Organic Green Tea on the go, free of sugar, flavorings, and colorants.  Just pure antioxidant power in your purse.  

So there you have it.  What's in your purse this spring?  

Why pH is Important in Skincare

Ok – show of hands:  How many of you know what the pH in “pH balanced” stands for? 

It’s a buzzword that we hear all the time, but did you know that pH stands for potential hydrogen? Wait! Don’t fall asleep!  You need to know this!

Next question:  what the heck does that mean?  Well, A pH number (from 0 to 14) measures how acidic or alkaline a liquid is -- anything above 7 is alkaline and anything below 7 is acid.  Water, has a pH of 7 – makes intuitive sense – we all think of water as neutral.  Did you know that your SKIN has a pH, too? 

Skin has a pH of 5.5.  This means, that on the pH scale, it is considered slightly acidic.  Weird to think of your skin as acidic, huh?  But the outermost layer of our skin is protected by sebum, yup, the stuff that can clog your pores and break you out on Picture Day.  Sebum mixes with the amino and lactic acids from sweat to create an ideal pH of 5.5.  Remember this number. You might be tested on it later (wasn't it awesome when your teachers gave you a freebie like this?) 

This sebum sweat mix (delightful sounding) is important because it helps retain your moisture and keep germs out.  If you want to keep this layer of protection, you need to put stuff on your skin that is similar to your skin’s pH.  Bar soap, typically has a pH of 9-12, making your skin tight and dry.  And it’s a pretty good idea to stay away from Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which has a pH level of 10 (again, drying!). Instead, choose cleansers that has a pH closer to your skin's pH..what's that number?  That's right:  5.5!  You just scored an A on this quiz.  

BOX Naturals Luxe Towelettes have a pH of 5.5 – that is, exactly your skin’s pH so go ahead, use it everywhere. As we like to say, hands, faces and special places!

You Spoke, We Listened

newimprovedboxnaturals.jpg

The really good thing about being a small business (some might even say 'tiny'), is that we get every single piece of feedback that comes our way. Good or bad, we hear it. And on the extremely rare occasion we hear something negative, it keeps us up at night! Yes, that's a good thing – because it makes us better.

Our goal from Day One of BOX Naturals has been to provide women with a simple, beautiful natural towelette. In the past two years we've had a handful of emails with the same complaints: 
1. Too 'sudsy'
2. Too sticky
3. Too strongly scented

That's too many 'too's' for us, so we set about making BOX Naturals better. The tricky thing was, so many of our customers loved us as we were, so here's what we did – we're using the same premium ingredients, but in different quantities so our towelettes are lighter in feel (down with stickiness!) and lighter in scent. Yes, we have reformulated and it feels so good!

It took a few months to get things just right, but we feel confident enough to say that BOX Naturals are 'New And Improved!' And we sincerely hope you love the changes. If you'd like to try them without committing to an entire box, for a limited time you can purchase a trial pack in the shop for $1.29 (and free shipping).

Oh and there's one more thing. You may have noticed that we're no longer 'Intimate Wipes' – we're now 'Luxe Towelettes.' This is also a result of customer feedback. Women have been writing in to tell us just how handy they find our individually wrapped towelettes. For removing makeup, cleaning hands, instead of a shower after a yoga class, spot-cleaning silk blouses, wiping down yoga mats... it goes on and on! So yes, hands, faces and special places are just the start of where you can use our better than ever BOX Naturals Luxe Towelettes!

And as for that feedback? Please keep it coming! Good or bad, we are grateful for every. single. email. 

4 Natural Australian Beauties

Australia is a beautiful land, full of beautiful people. It's also chock full of green body care products. We loaded up our suitcase with goodies, but there are four that really stand out as favorites we'll purchase again and again. We're not so sure any of these are easily available in the States, but it just might be the excuse we need to take another trip down under! If you know of any Australian green beauty/body care products we missed, please tell us about them in the comments.

1. Natural Instinct Energizing Body Wash
This body wash is all natural and made with lemon grass, ginger, gingko and acai. It has been a game changer for mornings because it makes you smell like you're showering in a drizzle of ginger ale with a squeeze of lemon. It's the perfect way to wake up and feel excited about your day. 

2. Suvana Certified Organic Paw Paw & Honey Balm
It can be difficult to find a multi-use balm that's petrochemical and fragrance free. This one does it for us. It's a great consistency, not too thick or waxy, and we use it all over. 

3. Sukín Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil
This is simply organic rose hip oil in a little glass bottle. Perfect for smoothing over your face after a shower, before putting on eye cream and night cream. It is absorbed completely and gives our skin a great dewy, hydrated feeling the next day. Also great for that long haul flight. And the price point is seriously great, too.

4. Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream
Made with nutrient-rich avocado oil, sweet orange and cedar wood, this luxurious hand cream smells exactly how you think it would. To us it's the gentle scent of an orange, with a touch of chamomile and some spice from the cedar. It's not greasy at all, but will keep your hands beautifully hydrated throughout the day. 

Smoothie Game Strong: Do You Maca?

maca smoothie

It seems like every season, a new must have item hits the shelves of health food stores. Just when you think you're at the top of your smoothie game, BAM, there's something new and life-changing that Gwyneth has been drinking for yonks and you're only just finding out about now. Thanks for cluing us in, GOOP! (We love you.) 

Maca is a new (to us) miracle plant that's grown at high altitudes in Peru. It's part of the radish family and has been called "Peruvian Ginseng." It's so effective, you're not supposed to have it every day. Just a tablespoon (and you should build up to that, starting with half a teaspoon) every second or third day. 

It's great for your skin and is rich in vitamins, but the real kicker here is how beneficial Maca is for women. It helps with menstrual issues and menopausal issues, stabilizing moods and alleviating pain. It also give you a sustained boost of energy. Some of that energy being focused... in the bedroom. Yes! It's widely used to boost libido and increase endurance (for men and women). So if you need a boost in that department (hey, we've all been there), maybe you can slip some Maca into your honey's milkshake.

There are a few Maca no no's. Don't mix it with anything hot or it will lose its benefits. Don't consume if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you have serious pre-existing conditions. Basically, if you're already seeing a doctor about something, ask her/him if it's ok to introduce Maca into your diet. It's a bit complicated, but it sounds, and so far feels, like it's worth it. 

And all this when we literally JUST got the hang of Chia seeds. Um, did anyone else experience near Death By Chia Seeds? We added them to a delicious smoothie – almond milk, berries, half a frozen banana, vegan protein powder... Yum, right? We blended everything up and took a big gulp, then had to suffer through choking down a mouth full of splinters. Yeah, we kept drinking it, even as we pictured a thousand tiny shards of Chia wood poking holes in our esophagus. We were hungry and it was the only edible thing in the house! Since then we've learned to soak the chia seeds in almond milk a few hours before smoothie time, then stir the resulting pudding into the smoothie AFTER it's been mixed. Unless you really like the sound of a splinter shake, then go for it! ;)

5 Things No One Tells You About Becoming a Parent

In 2011, I had my first child.  Shortly thereafter, I created BOX Naturals because I quickly realized that after a woman births a child, the kid is not the only being in need of all natural wipes.  Copious amounts of wipes.  The only thing I could think about was – “WHY did no one tell me this?”

I’ll tell you why.  Women forget in order to propagate the human race.  If we didn’t forget all of the annoying things leading up to and after childbirth, well, friends, humanity would come to a screeching halt.

Well, I didn’t forget.  Consider me the friend that straight up tells you that yes, you did gain weight, or that your outfit looks like it’s from the ‘80’s and not in a good way.

Five Things You Need To Know About Becoming a Parent:

1.     The time you’ll most need a vacation is right after you give birth.  Unfortunately, that is when you can basically kiss your current idea of “vacation” goodbye.

2.     Sometimes, you will want to stuff  your kid back where it came from.  Everyone feels this way, so lose the mom guilt.

3.     It can take a long time to feel a bond with your baby.  Everyone talks about the instant bond that they felt with their babies.  Well, guess what, it doesn’t always happen right away.  Just because it came out of you, doesn’t mean that the crying, red-faced Mr. Magoo they hand you is something you intrinsically understand.  A bond can take weeks or months to form, and…it’s OK!

4.     You will hoard mesh undies like that time we all thought Twinkies were going out of business. Chances are, you are currently wearing a cute Hanky Panky thong.  Or a little boy short. Perhaps a practical cotton bikini cut brief. Chances are, you are NOT wearing baggy mesh underwear (no judgment if you are.  Well, maybe a little judgment).  These little gems will be given to you after you’ve had your baby by the hospital. STEAL AS MANY AS YOU CAN.  If you had a c-section, these undies will lay forgivingly over your incision.  If you birthed naturally, these undies will hang loose below your tender lady parts.   They are magic and you will want to make sweet love to them.  Because you sure won’t want to make love to anything else for a long time. 

5.     You will never sleep like a normal person again.  Even when your kid does eventually sleep through the night, sleeping with the monitor pressed up against your ear will have trained your ear to hear as keenly as a blind bat.  Every single creak, every little mouse sigh, and you will pop up like a prairie dog who smells danger.  Or, you will fling your arm across your baby daddy’s face and say, “Your turn.”   

Since I probably slapped you hard with the truth, I will end with another truth:  It is all worth it.  It may not feel like it at first.  It may not feel like it all the time, but there will be those moments (usually when the kids are sleeping) when you think “Maybe we should try for another…” Becoming a parent has made me a better person because it forced me to be the person my children think I am:  the smartest, kindest, bravest, funniest person in their world.  

Fast Winter Fixes

WHEEEEEEEEEE!!! 

WHEEEEEEEEEE!!! 

Oh, Winter.  We've had enough of you.  Please go.  And we mean that in the nicest way.  

We wish it were that easy, but since it's not, here are five ways you can use BOX towelettes to help survive the remaining weeks (months?!) of winter...

1. Winter = dry, cracked lips if you’re not careful. Use a BOX Naturals towelette to remove the remains of your lipstick, then lather on a natural, soothing tinted balm like Tata Harper's Be Adored Lip Treatment.  

2. Wearing a hat is so essential to keeping warm, but it can also lead to static hair! Use a BOX Naturals towelette to smooth down flyways. 

3. Buy a Chestnut Praline Latte (or even Pumpkin Spice) to keep warm.  But if you spill a bit (that's what happens when you can't feel your fingers), you can use a BOX Naturals towelette to wipe away the stain. One of our customers even emailed us to say she tried a towelette to clean up a spill on her silk blouse – it worked like a charm!  Just remember, dab, don't rub (this piece of advice applies to a lot of things - eye cream, cream blush, spilled red wine...)

4. Too many hot showers can really dry out your skin. If you don’t really need a shower (or are just running short on time), try a quick freshen up with a towelette, instead.  A customer who shall remain nameless once said, “Who needs showers when you have BOX Naturals?!?”  We know she was joking, but we love the enthusiasm, and it really works when you're in a pinch!

and...our favorite BOX Naturals towelette winter remedy...

5. Pack it in your carryon when you escape to a tropical beach!

Hang in there - Spring's around the corner!

Smoothie + BOX Naturals

Box Naturals Japan

We wanted to know more about Yoshie, the dynamic powerhouse behind Smoothie Waxing Salon in Osaka, Japan. Smoothie is our newest retailer and officially the farthest BOX Naturals have ever been from home (hello, San Diego). We couldn't be more pleased to be part of Smoothie's offering, or to meet Yoshie. For the scoop on waxing trends in Japan AND insider tips on where to shop and get the best cocktail, read on!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I'm from Osaka originally, when I was 15, I moved to England to go to a boarding school, then on to university where I studied physics. After I finished university, I came back to Japan and worked in several different companies.

After spending 6 years in Japan, I decided to change my career completely and help with my family business which we have been operating for 65 years - spa, restaurants, capsule hotels. Before joining my family business, I went back to London to study beauty therapy because our main part of the business is spa. I spent anther 4 years in England then came back to Japan to join my family company.

Now, I work as a managing director of New Japan (http://newjapan.co.jp/) with my brother. I started a waxing salon SMOOTHIE in 2010, set up my own company and became a sole distributor of French depilatory brand "Perron Rigot" in 2013. My next plan is to open a salon in Tokyo and look for different products to sell/distribute in Japan.

How did you get into Waxing?

I went to a beauty college in London in 2004 and took a CIDESCO International qualification. It was then that I learned about waxing. Other beauty treatments were all familiar to me but waxing was something that I had never heard of in Japan. I worked in a spa and a beauty salon in London after getting qualified, got some hands on experience during that time. I returned to Japan in 2008, realised that there weren't many salons that offered waxing service.

I opened a waxing salon in Osaka, Japan in 2010, originally targeting western people living in Osaka but within a year, waxing has started getting popular so now I have both Japanese and Western clients coming in.

What are your customers like? Are they mostly Japanese or other nationalities?

60% - Japanese, 40% - Foreigners, mostly western people who live and work in Osaka. Occasionally I get random tourists coming in. 50% of my customers are male.

 How popular is hair removal in Japan?

Hair removal including Laser, IPL, Electrolysis and waxing is very popular. IPL treatments are very reasonable now a days so most people treat their unwanted hair by IPL or Laser. Waxing has become popular few years ago, with the influence of "Sex And The City" and some celebrities talking about "Brazilian waxing". Most clients come to my salon to do Brazilian waxing - completely bare style is most popular for both men and women. There aren't many salons that allow male customers, usually waxing salons are only for women.

 What is your favorite place to eat in Osaka?

I have few different places for food. For Sushi, Kitarozushi. For Teppanyaki, Gekko Kamen. For Roast dinner - my favourite! - Viento. For cocktails - Cafe Absinthe.

 What about shopping?

For clothes/shoes, I go to department stores such as Takashimaya and Hankyu. But to avoid crowd, I tend to go online for shopping - Net-a-porter, Matchesfashion.

 

The Best NYE Ever: The One Where You Stay Home

fuzzy_slippers_box_naturals.jpg

You might have noticed a storm of sparkly dresses, fancy mani’s and elegantly messy up-do’s happening over on Pinterest. It can only mean one thing – New Year’s Eve draws close! In the past we’ve shelled out big bucks to attend glamorous parties, schlepped our way through massive crowds of drunk strangers and hosted or attended small parties with friends. This year, all of that feels like a mighty amount of work. So instead of all that, we're staying home. It might just end up being the best NYE ever, and here's why:

Attire. While sequins and sparkles that seem to be a requirement this year just aren’t that comfy, we’re still totally down for a bit of pizzazz (also, pizza) – even if no one else sees it. Enter loungewear. Silky slips, sets and robes designed for the modern day luxurious lady. Of course, we love all of Journelle's loungewear, and don't forget about the fancy shoe options! You can be comfy, glamorous and most importantly, comfy. ;)

Cuisine. Haute Cuisine, Lean Cuisine, takeout, leftovers, a box of popsicles. Whatever you feel like having. To us, the fanciest food of all is hors devours – we can see ourselves picking up some of our favorites at Trader Joe's and fixing a little platter. There will (of course) be a separate dessert platter, along the same vein. Unless you're buying the world's largest truffle to shave over your tater tots, chances are you'll still save money and make healthier choices than you would going out.

Company. When you're standing in the middle of Times Square with thousands of rowdy strangers, you don't get to have much say over the company you keep, or how many times you get elbowed in the chest. Enter the most exclusive place in town: your home on NYE. It can be just you, you and a partner, furry friends, human friends, parents... whatever. As long as you don't feel the urge to put makeup on, and you know you'll make each other laugh.

Libations. If we liked the taste of smoky bourbon, we'd drink it, but the truth is we want champagne cocktails (and we want them now)! The fruitier, the better. These are two we'll definitely be trying on New Year's  – click on the image to see the recipes. (Are you as obsessed with those gorgeous champagne glasses on the left as we are?)

Entertainment. You could have the TV set so the countdown plays in the background. You could turn off all devices. Watch Netflix. Play Candy Crush. Take a long, long bath. Play music. Watch Breaking Bad from the start. 

Self Care. It's all about you. If putting on a face full of make up on makes you happy – by all means do that. We'll refer you to the green beauty blogs we read for more specifics on products. There's the Green Product Junkie, Beauty by Britanie and The Organic Life Blog, to name a few. We'll end up using a combination of products (Beauty Guru Lisa Eldridge approves of layering) to start 2015 off flawless. Tata Harper offers an amazing array of skincare samples for $11. And everything on Eco Diva Beauty is perfection but we do love the honey mud treatment. 

All in all, saving yourself from the pressure of having the perfect NYE is really priceless. Taking care of yourself and putting what you want first is, too. (Do you feel a New Year Resolution brewing here?) No matter how you spend your NYE, we hope you spending it laughing and feeling loved. We wish you all happiness and health in 2015 – the best year yet!

Cabaret for a Cause + BOX Naturals

We've pledged to donate a percentage of our proceeds to charities, and when Tiffany Schleigh reached out to us about her non-profit organization, Cabaret for a Cause, we knew it was something we wanted to help out with immediately. Here's a little more about what this charity does, and advice (from an expert!) for anyone who's looking to give back a little more in 2015. 

Tell us about Cabaret for a Cause.

Cabaret for a Cause is a tri-annual event that was created in 2010. We bring together young professionals from Broadway, film, and television to help other young people in need! 

This event is helping Project Renewel. Can you tell us more about that? 

We are specifically working with Project Renewal's housing program for homeless families, En Casa. Each night in New York City alone, over 20,000 homeless children sleep in shelters. Project Renewal created En Casa just two years ago to help families and give them a safe haven to raise their children in and turn their lives around. It is pretty incredible! With Cabaret for a Cause, we try to stress the importance of giving back with all of the performers and the audience. The performers and their families and friends have been collecting clothing, books, toys and so much more for the past month - so not only will we be giving a monetary donation, but we have an entire moving truck full of items for these families. We hope it makes their holiday season a little brighter! 

How do you choose the charities Cabaret for a Cause helps?  

We choose programs that directly help children. In the coming years, we plan to do three annual events: one for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (this is the first cause we ever supported and it is very dear to my heart), one for Project Renewal/En Casa, and the third one will be based on suggestions from our audience members! There are so many worthy causes that we want to help!

Tell us how you became inspired to start/join Cabaret for a Cause. 

It's kind of a funny story! It started out really small. I had a couple of friends in college who had been in Broadway shows and just wanted a reason to perform in their free time, so we started it as a weekly event in a restaurant! There wasn't even a stage - just a keyboard and a microphone. When the weather was warm, the restaurant would open all of the windows and people would stop in their tracks on the sidewalk to hear the performers. It became bigger and bigger, so the restaurant manager suggested we start collecting donations for his favorite cause… St. Jude Children's Research Hospital! We continued to expand, we moved from the restaurant to the attic of a bar, then to a blackbox theatre, then to a small theatre, and finally to our "home" - Galapagos Art Space. 

Do you have any advice for people who want to give back more in 2015? Whether it’s donating time or money…

There are so many ways everyone can help! Donating money is so easy to do, but it is also easy to volunteer! It is also SO important to encourage children to give back. Spread love and kindness to the future generations! 

What’s next for C4AC?

Well, we plan on officially becoming a non-profit company in 2015 and will begin planning events in different cities! Right now we are planning an event in Pennsylvania for the summer and may be planning on for Los Angeles in the spring! 

We wish Cabaret for a Cause the best of luck with their event! Keep an eye out for more from this lovely organization in the future. 

Whole Foods Standards? Check!

Whole Foods may be where Prius owners battle to the death for a tiny parking space, but it's also where you can go if you want to to buy safe and ethically sourced cosmetics and body care products.  We use, among other things, the Whole Foods Standards as a guideline when it comes to formulating our products. 

While the standards are very clear for labeling organic food, the standards for labeling natural or organic cosmetics and body care products are a little more fuzzy. In fact, there aren't many standards at all, especially when compared with those of Europe and Japan. Currently the Food and Drug Administration in America has banned only a small number of chemicals for use in cosmetics – around eleven.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods has a highly researched list of over 400 unacceptable ingredients that can be found here. Like us, they stay away from artificial colors, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, parfums and parabens. Here are a few facts from the Whole Foods blog, to help further paint the picture:

FACT: The U.S. government does not require health studies or pre-market testing for personal care products.

FACT: There are many non-natural components and processes in most U.S. body care products. Even those labeled "natural" may contain harsh preservatives or ingredients with environmental concerns.

FACT: Science never stops. Our customers trust us to stay on top of the latest breakthroughs, so the Premium standards are designed to evolve as new science-based studies and research come to light. We are excited to consider them as a starting point, a work in progress, an opportunity to raise the bar ever higher.

With BOX Naturals, our goal has always been to provide a natural alternative to the wipes and towelettes that are already out there, chock-full of not-so-natural and not-so-nice stuff. We recently stayed at a boutique hotel that provided individually wrapped makeup removal wipes. At first glance the ingredient list looked promising, because it was so short. We were shocked when the few ingredients included mineral oil and four or five parabens! There's just no need for that. We believe we can do better, and that's our goal, every day. No, we are not available at Whole Foods yet, but we hope to be part of what they offer in the future. And when that day comes, we will definitely let you know!




Let's Talk Preservatives

Specifically, let's talk about phenoxyethenol. It's the one ingredient in our ingredients list we wish we could leave out, because of the controversy surrounding it. However, the formula requires a preservative and we feel that this is the best option out there right now. Let us explain...

We firmly believe that in low levels, it is safe as a preservative. And there's tons of research to back us up. It is widely used in many parts of the world, including the European Union and Japan (where standards for cosmetics and body care products are far stricter than in the US), at up to a 1% level. Our formula stands at considerably less, 0.5%. 

We have done so much research around preservatives, and have yet to find the perfect one – it seems that every single option has its own controversy. Most of the alternatives that are available (and that many of our competitors use) are parabens or are chemicals that release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals have been linked to cancer! We have been horrified to pick up wipes at boutiques to see parabens and formaldehyde-releasers on the ingredients list.

But it's up to each company to make their own decision. And all moist towelettes require a preservative because of the water content and the presence of nutrients (in our case, organic essential oils). Even using anti-microbial or anti-fungal essential oils alone wouldn’t do the trick. And having microbes or fungus in your body care products would be far worse for your health, without a doubt.

Here are are few facts about phenoxyethanol that helped us make the decision: 

    • Phenoxyethanol can be found naturally in green tea, the commercial ingredient is a “nature identical” chemical that’s produced in a lab

    • It’s been tested on the skin and eyes and it is non-irritating and non-sensitizing at levels of 2.2% or lower while being effective at only 1% concentrations (our formula falls far below the recommendation, at .05%)

    • Phenoxyethanol is included in the Handbook of Green Chemicals and is also Whole Foods Premium Body Care approved, with some of the strictest standards that exist

    • Research has shown that even premature newborns can quickly metabolize this preservative

However - we don't like controversy to surround our product and are constantly researching to find safe alternatives. We have to make sure that no bacteria or fungi show up in the towelettes, even if they have been on the shelf for months. In the past, plant based preservatives have not passed our microbial challenge test. We are working very hard, as always, to constantly improve our formula. (We are not scientists but we work very closely with the scientists at our lab.)

For more information, the Honest Co. blog on this preservative is great (they even use a cupcake analogy - don't miss it!), and so is this blog from the UK. 

Meet Erin Dupree of Savera

This week we sit down with Erin Dupree, owner of San Francisco based spa, Savera and asked her five questions.  Here's what we learned:

How did you come up with the name "Savera"?  Savera means "new beginning." When you come to Savera I want each experience to feel like a new beginning from the inside and out.    

Now that it's winter, what do you say to women who let waxing fall by the wayside?  Any words of motivation to keep on waxing on?   A couple things:  when you go back to waxing after taking a break, it's like starting all over again.  However, if you keep up on a regular basis, the hair gets lighter and the pattern of the hair growth gets used to the waxing.  This means less In grown hairs.  And of course, it just feels nice to feel clean all year around.          

You are clearly an awesome entrepreneur.  Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in this business!  Well ,I started 15 years ago.   Back then, I was a ballerina and knew I was retiring soon.  During the off seasons,  I worked at make-up counters so it made sense for me to go to Aesthetician School.  The rest is history.  I was a National Trainer for a company training aesthetician on proper procedures  and just always wanted to open my own business.  My dreams have come true and I honestly could not be happier.  It's true that hard work pays off.                           

What is one think you love about being in San Francisco?  Two words: the people . The people are so amazing in SF.  But to list all the things I love about this city would take up the whole page.                                      

What is one thing you want us to know about Savera?  When you come to Savera, I want you to leave feeling good from the inside and out . I want it to be the positive experience from the moment you walk in until the second you leave.  Let's face it, life can be hard, so while you're at Savera, I want to keep it light and fun.   

Be sure to check out Savera on your next trip to San Francisco and meet Erin!

The 5 Best Uses For Essential Oils, Winter Edition

Oh, hello Polar Vortex. It's you again.  

We just peeked into our Farmers Almanac and it's predicting another impossibly cold 2014-2015 Winter season.  Swell.  

Below are 5 super easy things you can do with essential oils that will help you get through winter:

1. Sprinkle some Eucalyptus oil in the shower to stimulate, improve circulation and help clear congestion. 

2.  Add some summer brightness into your life & enhance your mood by diffusing any type of citrus essential oil (lemon, bergamot, grapefruit) into the air. Instant pick me up.

3. Take a hot bath! Lavender is the only essential oil that can be used directly on the skin, without being diluted. Take advantage of it's calming effects by massaging on temples and relax.  Of course, add a few drops to your bath and you be doubly relaxed.  

4. Frankincense is both calming and uplifting if you're feeling tired and stressed by the holidays. Add a few drops to sweet almond oil (or another carrier oil like jojoba) and massage in into your skin (or better yet, get someone else to do it).

5. And when you need to hit the shops during peak cold and flu season? Sprinkle a few drops each of cinnamon, lemon and rosemary onto a cotton handkerchief. Carry it with you when you need a little pick-me-up and added immune boost.

So when Old Man Winter's got you down, you have a few tricks up your sleeve to get through the next few months...Stay warm everyone!

Manufacturing Updates

Since the day we launched BOX Naturals a few years ago, we've been so proud to say we're made in America. We just found out that we have to accept a change in where our product is manufactured. The facility that makes our towelettes for us is moving overseas.  Because we are such a small company, we need to move our manufacturing with them. The costs of switching a small purchase order to a competing facility are too high at this point.

On the bright side, our operations, design, marketing, packaging and shipping materials, assembly and EVERYTHING else are still proudly American. It is our goal to someday manufacture in the US again, but we’ll need to be a much bigger company before that can happen. So let's just say, we're growing as fast as we can (thanks to you)!

The new shipment should arrive in February. Point of origin aside, we can't wait for you to experience the little adjustments we've made to BOX Naturals products. We sincerely hope all of our customers will understand and stick by us. After all, our ingredients are of the best quality –free of Parabens, Phthalates, GMOs, Triclosan and Petro-chemicals, Sulfates, Propylene Glycol. And we'll always be cruelty-free and 100% vegan.

We definitely understand the importance of supporting American made products, and it's something we do in our personal lives every day. With your support, BOX Naturals will be there again, too.  

Waxing Girl + BOX Naturals

Drumroll, please............ BOX Naturals have landed in Hartland, Wisconsin! You can find us in the lovely Waxing Girl. Get to know more about this waxing boutique, straight from the founder, herself. We "sat down" (meaning we had an email conversation) with Pamela Reinemann to find out everything you need to know.

Q: How did you come up with the (distinctive and adorable!) concept of Waxing Girl? 

A: Thanks! The look and concept of Waxing Girl was a very easy concept for me. I absolutely love everything vintage and having met my husband, a huge world war II buff,  the concept of using a pin up girl  was easy to put together.  Their look for me is so simple and demure and beautiful and I think represents how beautiful we all want to feel.

Q: So… you wax men. We gotta know - who handles the pain better? We're thinking it's the gender that doesn't have to deal with childbirth. Are we right?

A: Tough question, on both men and women there are spots while waxing that are more sensitive. I can honestly say we are similar.

Q: Now that it's winter, what do you say to women who let waxing fall by the wayside? Any words of motivation to keep on waxing on?

A: Oh yes, In my eyes there is no time to let lady bits go unattended, think of it this way, you wouldn’t want someone to walk into your house when it’s unkept, you never know when company is coming so upkeep is so much easier than the panic of being caught off guard. For all women I think it’s like wearing a pretty pair of underwear, it just makes you feel pretty.

And the simple fact that when you maintain your wax the pain is nearly eliminated and the hair much diminished, because regular waxing slows and weakens the hair growth process making it much easier to pull out. My motivation: no matter whom you are, your shape or size, man or woman, smooth skin is sexy.

Q: What's the difference between soft and hard waxes? We noticed that you offer both.

AI offer a variety of waxes to be able to work with all skin types and hair types: Hard wax I use for smaller areas where the skin might be sensitive, such as face and in some instances inner bikini. Soft wax or strip wax is great for a quicker service and for areas where you need flexibility. I use soft wax on large body parts and for some Brazilian waxing as for me it allows me to move quickly with more detail.  It is important to have a variety of waxes to be able to work with different skin and hair types. I always choose the right wax based on the client’s needs.

Q: What's the number one reason why we shouldn't wax ourselves at home?

A: Gosh, I can think of A LOT but my number one reason? Ripped skin, bruises and the uncertainty that some wax kits carry waxes that may not be appropriate for all areas of your body.

Q: You are clearly an awesome entrepreneur. Tell us a little about yourself!

A: Thanks, I think I am just someone that is willing to try (even if I fail) to make a better life for myself & family. I would consider myself an introvert and as such, I am constantly thinking of things to do and improve about myself and my business.  I have always been creative, so I started as a cosmetologist doing hair, but quickly found that for me it was too much talking, so I moved to esthetics because it allowed me to focus more on one person and one thing, in one room. I honed that into just waxing when I realized I was the girl teaching all the staff how to wax, and clients were requesting me for just waxing.

At heart I am a bit of a free spirit, but I feel like a wear a conservative exterior.

Q: A lot of women are nervous about their first visit to get a wax. What advice do you have for them, and how should they prepare for their visit? 

A: I can completely relate to the feeling of being a first time waxing client. My best advice, visit the place you want to get waxed and a try and meet the esthetician to make sure you two are a personality match and that her skills are impeccable. I know that is harder than it sounds, but for me I think it makes a huge difference. She sees as much of you as your doctor does and If you connect with her you will relax more, be more honest about your needs, and trust her more.  I am a huge supporter of small business or single esthetic studios and I would recommend that if you are on the hunt for a new esthetician seek them out first. Why? Because these women probably have already worked for larger establishment and fine-tuned their skills and will treat you like gold because they KNOW you are what keeps them in business.

Q: What should they look for in a waxer? 

A: In my opinion the best waxers  are confident in their skills, have had multiple years of WAXING experience, are impeccable in their cleanliness and professionalism. If you are able to meet or talk with your potential esthetician, ask them how long they have been waxing? (you want to look for a year or more) ON average how many Brazilian waxes do they do a DAY? (you are looking for someone who does on a minimum 3-5 a day) What kind of wax do they use ( you want someone who responds by saying they have a variety of waxes and will choose the right one for you) ( avoid the esthetician who only uses One kind of wax, this can be a sign they are not familiar with what is out there or are uncertain that some waxes are not correct for certain skin types)

Q: What's the most popular style for summer, vs. winter? 

A: I love this question, there are popular styles and for summer I do see a lot of full Brazilians, and in winter it does change and often times people go to a modified Brazilian by leaving some hair on the top, or go to a regular bikini wax.

Q: What's the most interesting style request you've ever gotten?

A: Initials of their partner. Sometimes I can do this sometimes I can’t depends on how thick the hair is? I have also had clients request dying their pubic hair certain colors, for example red white and blue for July 4th.

Q: What are your thoughts on vajazzling, vajacials and similar services?

A: I think they vajazzling is cute and If the client wants one I’m all for what makes them smile. I can see the benefit of a Vajacials and of course I am in total support of what makes a woman feel beautiful.

Q: How often do you recommend a wax? And what about upkeep in between? (Is shaving in between waxes off limits?)

A:  I recommend waxing every 4 weeks and avoid shaving in between. Shaving only stimulates the hair growth and grows the hair back stronger and more deeply rooted, which makes your next wax FEEL like your first wax all over again. Upkeep in between?, embrace the slight fur in between waxes as par for the course and relax about it.

Q: If there was one thing you wish you customers could know, or would do before an appointment, what would it be?

A: The few  things I wish clients would know is that the for me, the longer the hair prior to waxing the better the waxing service. If you think your hair is too long ( 70’s bush) so what , come on in, if it’s too long I’ll trim it and we can go from there, still the longer the better… on all areas of the body.

I also wish that clients that are waxing for an event (and not regular waxers) would know to come in at least 3 time PRIOR to your event so that the service just before your occasion is perfect. If your first time wax is days prior to your special event, you run the risk of being overly sensitive on that occasion, and because you are being waxed while most likely stressed out, nervous or scared, you could run into a bikini break out…which happens occasionally on first time waxes. Probably NOT the vision you had in mind for your special day.

Q: What's the motto of your salon?

A: Be humble, deliver incredible service, and listen well.

Calling Australian Bloggers!

You heard us, we're going down under!

You heard us, we're going down under!

We see so much greatness coming from the Australian blogging community, so we're really excited to announce that we're headed down under! No, BOX Naturals aren't available in Australian stores just yet (but we do ship internationally!) – Jackie, a member of our team, is headed to Australia for a visit. She's bringing samples with her to send out while she's there. 

If you're an Australian blogger (beauty, green beauty, eco-friendly, etc.) and would like to review a trial pack of BOX Naturals, email us at hello [at] boxnaturals [dot] com. We'd love to hear from you!

You must have an established beauty/review blog. Please get in touch, and don't worry if you don't hear back right away – we’re still in planning stages and it’ll take us a few weeks, but we won't leave you hanging. Looking forward to hearing from you!