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The Conscious Living Blog

BREATHE with Zoe Organics

BREATHE with Zoe Organics
With all of the illnesses going around, plus Spring in the air (hello, allergies!), we want to talk about two of our star products, Breathe Balm and Breathe Blend. *edited to add: This blog post was ready to go live today, however, we feel like we should edit it in light of COVID-19 and events surrounding it. Grocery stores are continually empty, after school activities and sports are cancelled, Disneyland is closed until further notice, and schools are closing left and right. We want to support our community in any way we can. Zoe Organics will continue to go make and ship product for as long as possible. Continue reading

Caring for Baby's Sensitive Skin

Caring for Baby's Sensitive Skin
Caring for your baby's delicate skin doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it should be really simple, with gentle, nourishing ingredients. Sure, rashes, irritation and even eczema do present challenges, but are often the result of internal imbalances or allergies and too much bathing or using unnecessary products can just exacerbate the issue. After more than 10 years taking care of our own kids and our littlest customers, and working with pediatricians and moms, we have a pretty good handle on how to care for baby's sensitive skin. Read on for our practical guide. Continue reading

Non-toxic Scented Play Dough Recipe

Non-toxic Scented Play Dough Recipe
My 8 year old daughter loves to cook and make crafts and is very tactile. She is always asking to make slime, but I'm not a big fan of slime ingredients. Play dough, on the other hand, is simple to make and uses kitchen staples that I can feel good about her playing with. We decided to make play dough for her to give to her 3rd grade class this week at their Christmas party, and we had a lot of fun taking a basic recipe and making it our own. If you are looking for an easy activity to do while your kids are home this holiday break, consider making this fun, scented play dough, using one of our essential oil blends to kick up the sensory enjoyment a notch.  Continue reading

What is Aromatherapy?

What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is often referred to as "a blend of science and art". I have been studying aromatherapy for more than 10 years, and I love this description. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of plants and find so much joy in getting creative with blends and scents. Just like art, aromatherapy is very personal.  Continue reading

Eczema: Common Culprits, How to Treat it Naturally + a Giveaway!

Eczema: Common Culprits, How to Treat it Naturally + a Giveaway!
One of the most common questions we receive is "What products do you recommend for eczema?" This gets a little tricky because although we do have products to help nourish and soothe severe dry skin and eczema, there are so many factors that can contribute to this frustrating condition and will often require more than a topical remedy.  Continue reading

A Breast Cancer Survivor Story

A Breast Cancer Survivor Story
October is Breast Cancer awareness month and I am honored to be able to share the inspiring story of my dear friend, Rebekah Davis. Rebekah and I met and became inseparable in 2nd grade. We literally chose the same sports, instruments, hobbies and spent most of our free time together - playing make-believe, creating and laughing. We were in the same class all the way through the 12th grade, sharing so many celebrations and milestones. Later we both got married and had 3 kids each.  Continue reading

10 Tips for Transitioning to Natural Personal Care Products

10 Tips for Transitioning to Natural Personal Care Products

Are you new to natural? Perhaps you are struggling to swap out some of your favorite conventional products because you're unsure of whether the natural alternatives will perform the same or you are concerned you'll achieve inferior results. We get it! When you find something that works, why change it? 

What if your products are compromising your health and wellbeing? Did you know that a percentage of what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream or lymphatic system? Even small amounts of chemicals considered "safe" by the FDA may increase your risk of cancer when combined. And toxins in a pregnant woman's body do pass through umbilical chord blood to a developing fetus. Particularly vulnerable are children with thinner, more permeable skin and developing brains and bodies. 

Fortunately, going natural is only getting easier. The natural products industry is growing exponentially as consumers demand better, safer options. Hooray! But it is easy to feel overwhelmed. So whether you are just getting your feet wet or are ready to jump in, we applaud your curiosity and we are here for you. Take a look at the tips below for making the transition to natural skincare products: 

1. Understand your Total Toxic Load. This refers to the total amount of toxins that accumulate in your body from a variety of sources; pollutants we breathe, eat and drink or absorb through personal care and household products. Focusing on both eliminating exposure to toxins and supporting your body in eliminating toxins through your skin, kidneys colon and liver can decrease your toxic load and chances of disease. 

2. Start slowly and don't overwhelm yourself. Baby steps lead to major changes in time. Just start with one thing and build on to that. Have fun discovering new ingredients and educating yourself. Remember why you are making the changes. 

3. Make the easiest swaps first. No need to tackle the most difficult products right away. Start with something easy. All change is positive change! 

4. Focus on the products that make the most impact. We like to start with body care because it covers the most surface area of the body. Find a clean soap bar or foaming bath wash and a yummy aromatherapy body oil that lifts your spirits. 

5. Expect yourself to go through a detox period - especially with products like deodorant. You might find that some products aren't working the way you thought they would. However, if you give your body time to adjust, you can expect most natural products to work just as well, if not even better!

6. Expect trial and error until you find what works for your unique body chemistry. What works for your best friend, just may not work for you. The gentle cream formulation may give your baby a rash. Similar to food, our bodies respond differently to ingredients - even seemingly beneficial ones. Read ingredients lists and begin to learn what works for you and what to avoid. This is another reason for starting out slowly. It is easier to pinpoint what is working and what isn't when you haven't suddenly switched up your entire regimen. 

7. There are products for any budget. Natural products are for everyone. Just like conventional beauty, prices range from budget friendly drug-store brands, to premium priced luxury brands. Big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target have jumped on the natural bandwagon and carry great reasonably priced options for children and adults.

8. Focus on quality, not quantity or volume. I know it looks suspicious when your 8oz bottle of lotion costs less than the 2oz jar of natural goodness. But don't be fooled! Natural products that are concentrated can last just as long as their watered-down conventional alternatives. Understanding how to correctly use and apply them is important to making them effective and extend the life of the product. Concentrated formulas only require a very small amount to be effective!  

9. Find brands you can trust. Try to support small brands who work closely with their suppliers and offer valuable education to their communities. Not everyone in the natural products space is in it for the right reasons. Stick with brands who practice transparency and trust your gut.  

10. Join a community! One of the best ways to learn is to join a community of others who are on a similar journey and want to share and encourage one another. It takes a village; whether that is a natural parenting group, a Facebook group or community center. Some of the best recommendations come from those who are only a step ahead in their journey and are happy to pay it forward. 

Have more questions or curious about Zoe Organics products? We'd love to help! Contact us here

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Packaging Waste + NEW Refill Sizes!

Packaging Waste + NEW Refill Sizes!

More than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. Let that sink in for a minute. 

National Geographic claims there is more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans and the Ellen Macarthur Foundation estimates by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.

We need to see this planetary crisis for what it is and take action! Think about your bathroom for a minute. How many individual containers can you count in your shower, cabinets and drawers, or on your counter? How many of these are plastic or single use? If you are honest, how many go straight to the trash rather than being reused or recycled when empty? 

At Zoe Organics it has always been a priority to avoid extra waste, but we aren't perfect! We have always used glass when possible and safe. We have chosen aluminum containers and all of our boxes are made from 80-100% post consumer paper, rather than virgin materials. But we want (we need!) to do more and we are committed to eliminating even more plastic and waste in the coming months and years. 

One of the things we are excited to launch is more refills! We currently offer refills of our Bath Wash and Baby Bath Tea, but now you can get 3 more products in refill sizes; Baby Oil, Belly Oil and Body Oil

Here's why we are so excited about these refills: 

1. Refills are environmentally conscious. We chose aluminum for the bottles because it is lightweight and preserves the products well. Aluminum is also reusable and recyclable. In fact, aluminum, like glass, can be recycled endlessly. Instead of a sticker label, we used a 100% post-consumer paper wrap label that can easily be removed so you can use the beautiful bottle for other purposes when it is empty! 

Another benefit is the ability to reuse your bottles and pumps. Don't toss another bottle when it's empty, just refill it and keep using it! The more life you can get out of something the better.

Our Baby Bath Tea is available in a large aluminum tin with 10 bags or a small aluminum tin with 2 bags. The refill size also has 10 bags, but it is offered in a zip-lock pouch. Keep them in the pouch or refill your tin. 

Our Bath Wash comes in our Regular (5 fl oz) size and a travel (1.7 fl oz) size with foamer pumps. The refill size is a 32 fl oz, so save your bottles with foamer pumps and just refill them when necessary! 

Our Belly Oil, Baby Oil and Body Oil all come in 2 fl oz glass bottles. When you purchase our new refill size, you get 9 fl oz! Whoo-hoo! Do you go through these bottles faster than you'd like? Now you can order your favorite oil + and refill. Are you pregnancy and love our Belly Oil? Order the refill and it should take you into postpartum. 

2. Refills are convenient. When purchasing our refill sizes, you get enough product to refill your regular bottles 4-6 times. You don't have to run to the store or have it shipped as often because you get more at one time.

Another bonus? We now offer a subscription service, which means you can have your favorite products (including refills) arrive at your doorstep each month (or on your schedule) and you don't even have to think about it! Busy grown-ups, are you rejoicing?!

3. Refills save you money. Who doesn't love to hear that? When you purchase our refill sizes you receive a significant cost savings compared to purchasing the same number of ounces in small containers. We want to make buying organic more affordable and accessible to all. 

So are you ready to refill? This is just one of many steps you will see us roll out in our commitment to reducing packaging waste in the coming months. Are you with us? Tell us in the comments below! 

From now until September 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST, purchase any refill size product and get a full size product free! Use code ZOEREFILLS. **Must add both products to your cart and then add the discount code! 

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Healthy Skin Swaps: Cream

Healthy Skin Swaps: Cream

Welcome to the first edition of Healthy Skin Swaps! 

Making the switch from your favorite conventional products to natural can be a little daunting. Will the natural product perform as well? Are there really benefits to using natural ingredients? 

We think so! Zoe Organics was founded on a mission to celebrate life by eliminating toxins from our bodies and the environment and we fully believe that natural (and organic) is the way to go. We are taking some common personal care products and sharing a healthier swap along with a little research and some facts to back up our selections. We do not intend to bash other brands, the purpose is to educate and call attention to safer, healthier options. 

Everyone loves a good moisturizer, but did you know that most conventional moisturizers contain up to 90% water with a small percentage of synthetics, artificial fragrance and a preservative system? There is nothing wrong with water, but contrast that with a product that contains no water, but only concentrated, nutrient-rich botanicals. 

Look at it another way, what is better for you, junk food or veggies? How about for your skin? 

Take a look at the ingredients from a very popular conventional moisturizer: (ingredients list taken from manufacturer's website and may not be complete)

The active ingredient, dimethicone is a synthetic silicon-derived polymer which contributes to the soothe, spreadability of a formula. Similar to petroleum products, it creates a barrier that sits on top of the skin - but do you really want a synthetic barrier smothering a large majority of the surface area of your skin? According to EWG, dimethicone is a suspected environmental toxin.

Other ingredients listed are also synthetic, except for oat kernal flour, and include petroleum-derived petrolatum, and others that are potential skin irritants. 

Now, compare this ingredients list to Zoe Organics Cream:

Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter,* cocos nucifera (coconut) oil,* rosa canina (rosehip seed) oil,* persea gratissima (avocado) oil,* calendula officinalis (calendula) extract,* althaea officinalis (marshmallow) extract,* rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract.* *CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENT

Our Cream is carefully crafted from certified organic plants, meaning they have been grown without toxic pesticides. Our ingredients are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that effectively nourish and protect skin. No toxic, synthetic or unnecessary ingredients required. The little jar is literally filled to the brim with only the good stuff! The primary ingredient in our Cream is organic shea butter, a super rich conditioning "butter" extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It contains high amounts of vitamins A and E. It is solid at room temperature, but melts against contact with skin. Other oils in our cream include cold-pressed and unrefined coconut, rosehip, and avocado; all rich in vitamin A, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Calendula has antiseptic properties making it ideal for eczema, acne and compromised skin. Marshmallow root is particularly useful in soothing inflammation. 

Even if you are in full agreement that the ingredients lists don't even compare, what about performance? Conventional lotions go on easy and feel less greasy. Balms and butters are thick and take some getting used to! We totally get it and here are our tried and true tips for applying a natural butter or balm product. It doesn't have to feel heavy or greasy - it is all about application. 

1. Start with a very small amount. You only need a fraction of the amount of product compared to a conventional cream or lotion. Remember, it is concentrated and doesn't contain water. You can always add as you go. Warm product between hands BEFORE applying to your face or body. Start by patting it onto skin before rubbing it in. 

2. Apply to already damp skin, or put a small amount of product in your hand and add a few drops of water or your favorite hydrosol or body spritz. Blend well and apply! You have essentially made your own water and oil emulsion and didn't require synthetics or preservatives! 

Have additional thoughts or questions? We'd love to hear from you! Curious about our Cream or want to give it a try? You can order a full size or try a sample first here

 

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The Story Behind: Dr. Shannon’s Organic Skin Balm

The Story Behind: Dr. Shannon’s Organic Skin Balm

Every product has a story, and the story behind Dr. Shannon's Skin Balm is a special one that is worth telling. 

In June of 2006, my first child was born and I took my newborn son to highly-recommended Orange County pediatrician, Dr. Michael Shannon. I'll never forget that first office visit, with all of my anxious new mom questions and a very calm doctor reassuring me. He also recommended adding a can of Crisco (yes! vegetable shortening) to his chic little nursery to use as a multi-purpose moisturizer. Although skeptical and a bit reluctant, Dr. Shannon's more holistic approach to skin care intrigued me and I decided to give it a try - with positive results! It came in handy for diaper rash prevention, for cradle cap, little rashes in skin creases, umbilical cord healing and an all-over moisturizer. When I looked further into the use of Crisco for skin care, I discovered that it was a little known beauty secret dating back to the early twentieth century. 

Although the first Crisco product was made entirely of vegetable oil, over the years it became more commercialized and other ingredients were added to the formula, like TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) a butane derivative used as an anti-oxidant, and commercially produced palm oil, which is not sustainable due to deforestization and its impact on rainforests and wildlife. 

It wasn't long after my introduction to Crisco as a skin care solution that I became aware of the toxins lurking in our food and personal care products and my mama bear instinct kicked in, especially with another baby on the way. I began whipping up my own skin care remedies for my family and friends, and was committed to using only high-quality, certified organic ingredients; plant oils, butters, extracts, herbs and waxes. I launched Zoe Organics in 2010 after relocating from Orange County back up to Northern California where my husband and I had grown up. 

Dr. Shannon and I stayed in touch, even though we now lived too far for office visits. He had inspired me and had provided my boys with such loving care. I began sharing with him my discoveries about natural ingredients and how well they worked on my boys' sensitive skin. 

In March, 2011, Dr. Shannon was in a near-fatal car accident and was hospitalized for 44 days. During this time, he contacted me and asked about a natural product that he could use for healing glass wounds in his hands and his thigh, where skin grafts were taken for his severely burned toes. Dr. Shannon and I began talking about ingredients and what would work best to support his healing. Little did we know at the time, but these conversations would lead to one of the most versatile, well-loved products in the Zoe Organics line. I began sending Dr. Shannon samples to try and the results were proof that we were on to something. After using Crisco for years as a skin moisturizer and skin repair cream for babies, children and adults, Dr. Shannon now had a totally organic, preservative-free product made from powerful plants, that contained naturally high levels of skin-repairing vitamin E. 

In 2012, Dr. Shannon wrote, "I am so pleased to have this new product that I can safely recommend to my patients, knowing there are no 'hidden ingredients.'"

He began sharing the product with colleagues and patients and the testimonials and before-and-after images that Dr. Shannon continued to receive were more confirmation of what we believed;

  • That plants were powerful, nutritious healers that out-performed the petroleum-based traditional standbys.
  • That using steroid creams wasn't always necessary, nor the side affects that came with them.
  • That this multi-purpose product had endless uses and could replace so many conventional products in the home and medicine cabinet. 

Check out the creamy goodness!

Cuts and scrapes don't stand a chance!

One of the many amazing before and after photos!

Today, more than 13 years after that first newborn visit, Dr. Shannon and I still love talking about wellness. And we continue to count our blessings - our friendship included. 

Heather and Dr. Shannon spending time together in Napa, CA.

About Dr. Shannon: Dr. Michael Shannon began practicing pediatrics in the Saddleback Valley in 1973. His practice, Seaview Pediatrics, had 4 thriving offices throughout Orange County at the time of his retirement in December, 2017. Among the most common problems that he dealt with during his years in practice was the skin issues of his young patients in the dry climate of Southern California. He and his late wife, Vera, had two children, Michael, a Pediatric Dentist in Orange County, CA and Vanessa, the Director of Mental Performance for the University of Louisville Athletics.

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