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Antibacterial Agents and Microbeads are OUT! Natural and Healthier are IN!!

Earlier this year President Obama issued a ban on all microbeads (tiny plastics that are used as an exfoliant in cosmetics products) in cosmetic formulations. The US ban is to begin taking effect between the beginning to middle of 2017. Earlier this week, the UK followed suit and issued a similar ban on all microbeads in cosmetics formulas.These little plastic beads were banned in the US and then the UK because of their propensity to end up in marine life and pollute our waters as well as endanger our marine life. Score one for a more natural, healthier way to better skincare! There are more natural, healthier and safer for our environment ingredients that can help to exfoliate our skin and keep it looking healthy! One such product is cornmeal and you will find that in our body polishes. Other great, natural exfoliants are sugar and yes, even coffee!

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Our natural body polish uses cornmeal instead of microbeads for that spa-like feel right in your own home! Our Carib Lime Body Polish was even featured in Essence’s 2016 August issue!

Then earlier this week, the US FDA announced that all companies were to remove antibacterial agents like triclosan, triclocarbon, and 17 other chemicals out of their soaps. There was no science to show that having these agents in the soaps did anything for keeping us safe and “cleaner” than just using plain soap and water. The marketing ploy that many of the larger skincare companies has been under review since 2013 and this week the US FDA finally issued the ban on these chemicals. Some of the science may even show that the prolonged use of these chemical agents may cause detrimental harm to the human body over time. Most harmful bacteria can be simply handled with plain soap and water and the mere nature of how handmade, cold processed soaps, and other similarly made soaps makes it very difficult for most of the bacteria to survive once they come into contact with a natural, handmade bar of soap and water. At itiba, we manufacture and create a healthier, safer, more natural soap that does NOT contain any of the 19 dangerous chemicals that the US FDA has recently banned.

danish soaps itiba

Our cold processed, naturally handmade soaps uses only the best natural and unrefined vegetable oils and butters to provide you with a clean, antibacterial agent free soap which is perfect for both face and body, and even hair!

Summer is coming…exfoliation made simple.

As part of a project that I have been working on for some months now, where I have experts in their respective fields speak to you about skin care, we are continuing our discussion on exfoliation and today I am so honored to have weighing on the subject one of our own family members, Aisha Massac, owner of Mankind Grooming For Men. She is also a Licensed Estheticians & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC. So sit back and enjoy the read on exfoliation 🙂 and Thank you Aisha Massac!

Exfoliation made simple

 

What is exfoliation? Exfoliation is the removal of surface dead skin cells, with the ultimate goal being to clear debris and free the retired cells to allow for better absorption, circulation, and brighten dull skin by promoting skin renewal. 

 

These dead skin cells, left on the surface, slow down healthy cell renewal, increase the depth of wrinkles and create a dull, sluggish appearance. The more you effectively exfoliate, the younger the skin looks and the better your skin care products can penetrate the skin.

 

However, too much exfoliation can cause redness and skin sensitivity. You should exfoliate no more than three days per week, as to not cause irritation or sensitive skin. If you already have sensitive skin as well as skin that easily hyperpigments, I would not recommend exfoliating since it can make your skin more sensitive and hurt your skin barrier. If you just HAVE to exfoliate (even outside of my recommendation), use an emollient based exfoliant and ONLY once a week; a light AHA would be a great option being that it’s moisturizing. A great option would be Dr. Perricone’s Advanced Face Firming Activator.

There are two types of exfoliation methods:

PHYSICAL

The most common form of exfoliation is physical exfoliation, which is mechanically removing superficial layers of the skin. This can be done with a face loofah, brush, washcloth, or with exfoliating cleansers. Mechanical exfoliators that utilize abrasive agents with sharp edges actually scrape and cut the skin. Abrasive agents such as apricot seeds (St. Ives being the most popular), granulated peach kernels, corn cob, silica, walnut shells and sugar instituted a major following in the ‘80s, followed by brushes, sponges, and loofahs. These all resulted in pulled, torn, stretched, abraded and traumatized skin that was covered with microlesions. Microlesions can lead to bacterial invasion, further leading to acne and/or wrinkles. Better options for physical or mechanical exfoliation are the Clarisonic skin brush and/or home microdermabrasion device (using aluminum oxide crystals). The Clarisonic has different skin brushes for different types of skin (Acne, Sensitive, Normal), and it allows you to adjust intensity for light or deep cleansing, and to avoid irritation. Other than the clarisonic, a mild exfoliating scrub is a great way to go to get a refreshed and clean look to the skin. An option for a more mild mechanical exfoliant would be almond meal, corn meal, or even baking soda, which can be added to your cleanser.

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A gentle and mild exfoliant, like corn meal, can be found in itiba’s body polishes. Great for getting your skin ready for summer!

  A professional mechanical exfoliant favorite of mine is the Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which uses a rice-based enzyme powder, that when mixed with water, activates the papain and salicylic acid. 

CHEMICAL

Chemical exfoliation, in essence, dissolves the “glue” that binds the dead skin cells together. Chemical exfoliation involves applying products containing a form of alpha hydroxy acid and/or beta hydroxy acid that dissolve this “glue” around the skin cells, hastening the shedding of several layers of the epidermis. Estheticians throughout the world have long preferred enzymes for exfoliation such as pineapple, papaya and pumpkin, typically found in a mask form, to exfoliate the skin. These enzymes are natural forms of AHAs. My favorite type of chemical exfoliation is enzyme exfoliating products over the AHA’s and BHA’s. I absolutely love June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque. I also love Jan Marini’s SkinZyme Papaya Mask. Other popular chemical exfoliation methods, found in the skincare world are retinoids. Retinoids are in the same family of Vitamin A and is used to treat some forms of acne, aging, and even psoriasis. Although retinoids can cause flaking, they don’t typically cause dryness – this flaking is the sloughing off of dead cells. Retinoids are also known to cause irritation or sensitivity and must at all times be used with caution in sunlight. *Note: look for retinoids that are encapsulated.Regular use of alpha- or beta- hydroxy products or clay-based masks is of utmost importance to help reduce breakouts and remove dead skin buildup that could clog pores. These are among the most effective exfoliating ingredients. Because AHAs are water-soluble, they can penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface to lift the dead cells. However, caution must be given as they may irritate sensitive skin if used in too high a concentration. On the other hand, BHA (or salicylic acid) is fat-soluble, and doesn’t penetrate below the epidermis. 

**Note: If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, such as rosacea, eczema, seborrhea, or dermatitis, you may want to consult your doctor or dermatologist to find the most effective exfoliating method for your skin type.

**Note: Do NOT use products that contain more than one of the above in one product

To exfoliate: 

1. Wash your face

2. Take medium to large amount of exfoliant (about the size of a dime to a nickel) and gently apply to damp skin. 

3. Massage the exfoliant over your skin. Never press into your skin – you are not sanding wood! Avoid your eye area, as this is a delicate area.

4. Use a washcloth or damp cloth to wipe clean with warm water

5. Apply your moisturizers and serums. 

 

Written By: Aisha Massac, Licensed Esthetician & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC

Did you know…

HAPPY FRIDAY FAMILY!! ‪#‎DidYouKnow‬ that you can reduce the amount of breakouts on your face by simply NOT touching your face all the time? Our hands touch EVERYTHING and by proxy, so does our face. Practice using a hand towel or napkin to wipe your face rather than your hands. To help control the amount of breakouts, also try making a lime (lemon if you cannot get limes) solution and rinsing your face with it. The deep cleansing and antibacterial properties of the lime juice help in getting deep into the pores to remove dirt and acne causing bacteria.

HOW TO…make the lime rinse? Simple, you want to start out with about 1 part lime juice to about 1 part water. You can make it stronger if you wish by simply adding more lime juice. But be careful, the stronger it is, the more likely it is to sting. Use this rinse in the morning and then again in the night just before bed time to ensure that the day’s dirt has been removed from your face. And remember, anytime you wash your face, ALWAYS make sure you put back the moisture. So use a light oil to keep your skin healthy and looking young after EACH facial, mask, and wash.
And now you know!

Green Papaya and you ;-)

Did you know that Papaya, green Papaya that is, is great for the skin?

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Organically grown papaya just picked

Papaya (carica papaya) is a wonderful fruit that is great when ripe as a sweet treat or green to be used in stews. But the papaya is a wonderful fruit that has many beneficial properties. The papain in papaya is found in its highest concentrations when the fruit is green. Here is where the wonders of the fruit abound! The papain found in papaya has many attributes for skin care such as a treatment for ringworms, psoriasis, used as a poultice to help aid with wounds, burns and stings. The papain is also a great at helping to exfoliate the skin.

So it is with this in mind that I often go back to nature to find other ways of creating great skin care products. I decided to revive a very popular product, Island Cream and do a 2016 version. Of course, the main ingredient in this particular product is the green papaya juice. This product is great for helping to exfoliate the skin and smoothing rough, dry patches found on the elbows and heels.

What is papain? “Papain is an enzyme that is found in green papaya (papaya that is not quite ripe). It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years because of its many health benefits which include treating wounds and cuts, stings and burns and internal illnesses.” Read More Papaya is not one of my favorite fruits to eat, but for skincare, it is a powerhouse. I respect it as much as I respect Turmeric for skincare and overall holistic care. So it was with that that I began using the juice from the Green Papaya in rich, decadent butters and creams for myself and my customers. A few days ago I decided to take another look at a recipe I had created and made many, many years ago. You can see how I juiced the papaya on my Instagram (@itibabeauty) page by clicking here.

At the end of the pictorial tutorial on “How to Juice a Green Papaya” you see the end result was the whipped body butter. This product, or any product made with Papaya enzymes, is a great way to slough away hard to remove, dry skin. And it leaves you feeling so smooth! I am still refining the recipe and considering a re-launch of a new and improved version of this cream.

My Day of Experimentation :-)

Decided to take some ME time today. Always a good thing to just let the world function without you for a minute. All the problems and chaos will still be there tomorrow. Anyway, I saw on FB with this group I am on, Texture Me Natural, a post about Rhassoul Clay and Hair Mask. I read with interest and thought, this is something I should try! Let me warn you though, doing a hair mask is messy…but so much FUN!

Ok. So I decided from the night before that I would make the time to do the hair mask today. I wear my hair in locs and I have been contemplating creating a hair care line for years now. I did with my previous company and I have been tinkering around with it with itiba. (I currently do a private label for a local natural hair salon hair) so I figured, why not try this out. No worries, I can fashion something else quite quickly. What did I have on hand…let’s see…I have Moroccan Red Clay (which by the way is the same as Rhassoul Clay fancy that), Kaolin Clay, Activated Charcoal, my supply of lovely essential oils and carrier oils. OK, I can begin to formulate! I mixed my special brew of esesntial oils and carrier oils: Baobob oil, Turmeric Essential oil (YES, there is an essential oil distilled from the root), Lavandin essential oil, Peppermint essential oil (I think EVERY hair care product should have this in some quantity, it sure wakens the scalp!), Lemongrass Essential Oil and Clove Essential Oil. Then I mixed my Moroccan Red Clay, the Kaolin Clay and Activated Charcoal in a separate bowl. Then I mixed in some ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) the Baobob oil mixture, olive squalene and enough water to hydrate and make it thick like batter. Of course it took a while cause I wanted to make sure that all the clays and charcoal were thoroughly mixed. Covered with Saran Wrap and left it in the oven for 20 minutes (only to warm the mixture – my oven has a pilot light so that was heat enough). Then I applied to my hair and left on for about 20 minutes to a half hour. It was messy but fun!

Next came the interesting part…rinsing this mask out of my hair, especially with locs. It took a while and about 4 shampoos, but I finally got it all out! Conditioned, rinsed and that was it! When I looked at my head of hair in the mirror I wondered if the greys that were making a guest appearance would still be there. They were, but they were not as shiny as they were before. And my hair was BRILLIANT! It looked so shiny and healthy! I was amazed and now TOTALLY SOLD on the idea of hair masks. Of course my shower wasn’t, but that is another story, LOL! One thing I want to make sure I emphasize (especially since my daughter is a cosmetologist and would KILL me if I did not make mention) make sure you have warm water to rinse the mask out of the hair. Try doing an alternate between warm and cold water, especially when rinsing the hair. The warm water helps to open the pores while the cold closes them and the hair cuticle as well. It also helps with stimulating the scalp (of course the Peppermint Essential Oil will also aid in that just fine as well, LOL!).

I am sorry there are no pics this time, but the next time I do the mixture, I will be sure to do a video so that you can see the process from beginning to end. So, are you going to try a hair mask also?

What is an itiba woman?

The itiba woman is a natural woman, a caring woman. Not necessarily a mother in the literal sense, but nurturing to herself and to others. Her beauty is apparent not because of her features, but because she just radiates beauty with her smile, her actions. She is sexy and sensual.  An itiba woman is a strong, intelligent woman. An itiba woman is confident in her skin, yet versatile to wear any skin she finds ;-).

An itiba woman is A NATURAL BEAUTY (as we all are, thank you Etta-Lee)! An itiba woman is each and every one of us who welcomes the joys of being a woman and welcomes the challenges because we know we can turn them into triumphs! An itiba woman is

Strong

Graceful

Beauty

Fierce

Loyal

Intelligent

Loving

Sensual

Nurturing

Versatile

Powerful

She radiates

Light

Love

Peace

Beauty

Strength

An itiba woman is in each and everyone of us. When we look in the mirror she smiles back at us and tells us we can do it. She loves being a woman and enjoys her strengths and weaknesses. She knows how to turn those weaknesses into strengths!

She is you and she is me.

She is…Nature. She is…Earth. She is…Beauty!

Scent soothes the savage beast…

They say that music soothes the savage beast. Well…I beg to differ. I think it is scent! Fragrance. Our nose! I mean, of course music helps, but I think scent does a way better job at it than music.

I am sitting here listening to Luther Vandross croon away, but what has really gotten my attention and beginning to help me unwind and not go completely crazy as I hear my young ones beginning another argument in the background, is…a scent. I sit here and I am trying to identify the sharp, somewhat woodsy fragrance that my nose has sniffed out. I can make the out the cool, calming aroma of Lavandin. The heady fragrance of Ylang Ylang transporting me to Carambola and then reminding me of a walk where I smelled this sultry fragrance on the wind. That memory experience coupled with the soothe, sweet voice of Donnell Jones is quickly making me forget the fact that I have to quiet another argument between a seven year old and a ten year old. They will work it out. It was a discussion over a television show that is quickly forgotten.

My mind drifts back to the fragrance that I am struggling to identify, and as the R&B plays in the background, another memory experience overcomes my senses and I am transported back to a rough and winding road in the Rain Forest. The trees are so green, it is late afternoon and the cool breeze is gently caressing my face. I look to my right and I am enjoying a quiet excursion with my late husband. He is showing me bird pepper and is quickly telling me in Spanish to stop the car so he can go and pick some!

“Mai! I going to make a pepper sauce with this!” He says his eyes bright with discovery and already tasting the heat the pepper is promising him. “Why you like to go and damage yourself like that for?” I question, because I know he is just going to be crying when he tastes the pepper and it does just that, burn his mouth so badly that he swears NEVER “NUNCA” to eat the pepper sauce again! Of course that lasts all of five minutes and he is back at the bottle again! Wonderful memories that fragrance has forever trapped in the deepest recesses of my mind. All it will take is just a slight whiff of a certain fragrance and all the memories come flooding back.

Good times. Another aroma has just crossed my path. And now there is a new scent I am trying to identify. One was definitely a floral fragrance of some sort. This one smells like a mix of fruit and green. Another flash of memory. I am nine and running in the yard playing with my younger sisters. The gooseberry tree is calling to us and we clamor and race to be the first ones to the top of that very shaky tree! It is amazing the risks you take as a child. Thinking back now I wonder how I never fell from the top of that tree! At least 12 feet high and the higher you went the thinner and more fragile the tree was. But that didn’t stop me nor my sisters from racing, climbing, scraping our knees as we raced to the top to eat the ripe gooseberries. The most sour…tart…DELICIOUS fruit you have ever tasted. We are already arguing who is going to make the gooseberry stew. “Me!” I yell, “No, I going to make it!” yells my younger sister. And my other sister says “I have ALL the big ones so I will make it!” That wonderful fragrance of tree sap and gooseberry juice. Memories of a time when life was truly good and you had not one care in the world.

Sitting here listening to the music helps to calm the body and begin to put me in a relaxing state, but it is the fragrance that transports my mind to another time. Vetiver! That is what I am smelling. And immediately another fragrance memory comes to the forefront. Again, to a more personal, private time with my husband. Remembering his face, his voice, his strength. His love was what so amazed me. And now it is what helps to give me strength to carry on while he watches from the heavens. The Haitian Vetiver is such a seductive, alluring, almost mystical scent. Peaceful. Strong. Beautiful. Full of life, promise…love. The fragrance memories move closer to the present as the pain of loosing him emerges. Reminding me of the dark time, but there was still the presence of him there…although never to be touched again by him…there all the same. The Haitian Vetiver always reminds me that though we are strong creatures meant to do many unbelievable things…we are also very fragile and we must remember to always hold close and treasure the moments that bring us joy.

Ylang Ylang. That exotic fragrance always reminds me of adventure. Of a promise of something just around the corner. It reminds me of life! Of love! Of my children, who are my strength. Of the promise of new love…which I have now. Lavender. Calming. Relaxing. The smells of Mango always brings back the memories of youth, of adventure, of mystery and daring. Each fragrance forever locked in its own special place deep within me. Sometimes…when I least expect it…a scent will just transport me to a time gone by and I can see all that was and what will be. The music helps, I will give it that. But for me…it is scent that soothes the savage beast.

Mango Madness

Summer has arrived! School is out, the sun is shining and the wonderful azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea are glistening and inviting you to just come and sit for a while. The laughter of the children can be heard and the fragrant essences of the FrangiPani, Roses and Jasmine ignites wonderful memories of easier times in your mind. But the one thing that has been on your mind for more than seven months now is the mangoes that you see ripening on the tree! That sweet, succulent fruit that you know is the true nectar of the gods!

Yellow, gold, juicy, sweet, dripping with heavenly goodness and making you feel like you were a child again, climbing the trees to get the largest, sweetest mango on the tree before your friends could get to it. Or waiting and watching and plotting how you will pick that red orange fruit before the birds or iguanas got to it. Getting  your crocus bag and making your way either on foot or with a bike to the Rain Forest to climb the multitude of trees just waiting for you to get its sweet, goodness with the true Caribbean delicacy…Mango!

There are so many varieties and flavors of mango and they each differ from island to island. I remember as a child going to Jamaica with my mother. As a little girl I would eat and eat and eat mangoes until I couldn’t any more. And I thought that St. Croix had the juiciest and sweetest and largest mangoes…but I was so very wrong. Jamaica. What an island. I think I was there about four days already and we had gone by a relatives home (this was many moons ago). But I remember saying to myself I want to go home. And then…I saw it…a mango that to this little eight year old child was the size of my head! Mind you, I had already been eating mangoes straight from the previous day and I was on a mango high! My mother warned me not to eat any more or else I would loose the taste for mangoes forever. But I didn’t listen. Me! Loose the taste for mangoes forever!? Surely she must be joking. I KNOW she could not have been talking to me because there was not a mango around that I did not eat and did not love and swear my undying fealty towards!

And so…mesmerized by the vastness of this great fruit…I took a bite! And it was heaven! I ate and ate and ate. I think I ate about three of them. And then…the unthinkable happened! I became sick! Inside I just knew my mother had done something to me or tricked me to make me now feel sick. It was her fault after all…she was the one who said that I would get sick if I ate too many mangoes! She had blighted me! So there I lay for a whole day with the worse stomach cramps I had ever had…all from eating too many mangoes. No problem I thought. I will get better! And sure enough I did. But it was at a severe cost…I had lost my taste for mangoes!

The memory of the pain was enough to scare me for 20 years from eating another mango ever again. Until one day, now with my own children and watching them enjoying climbing the trees as I did as a child and waiting for the first mangoes to drop from the tree…I decided to try one. And it was like rediscovering an old friend! I was instantly and immediately transported back to my childhood and the sweet, sugary goodness of the mango made everything seem right again! But I was wiser this time. I only ate a few each day and I only ate a certain type (I am biased with the grafted variety). But being a Caribbean child, I could not in all honesty say that mangoes would forever be out of my life! That is sacrilege! How could I? So how do I honor this wonderful friend that I have found anew? I share it with the world.

For the summer months each year, I offer this special and prized fruit in a line of body care products. The fruit of this amazingly sweet, succulent, sugary fruit is available exclusively in the soaps. You may wonder why, but once you try it then you will know! The fruit adds a silkiness and softness to the soap that is felt immediately on the skin. The butter is used to make the Body Butter, Body Lotion and Body Polish. And the fragrance is carried throughout the entire line of itiba’s skincare line! Come…enjoy a little piece of MY Caribbean with Mango products from itiba, LLC!