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Beauty, Health & Vitality, Industry

Are These Common Chemicals Hiding in Your Makeup Bag?


One of Shakespeare’s most memorable quotes involve Hamlet telling Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  Sub out the word “things” for the word “chemicals,” and you’ve got the current state of conventional beauty products. Let’s count down three of the most troubling contaminants, where they’re found in your cosmetic bag, and how to avoid them

  1. 1,4-Dioxane

Found in shampoo, bubble bath, and other sudsy products, this carcinogen — which can be found in as many as 22 percent of the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database — is linked with organ toxicity.  

While the FDA does not require 1,4-dioxane to be included on ingredient lists due to the fact that it’s caused by a reaction between two other common ingredients, you can still protect yourself by scouring labels for words like Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) compounds, along with the clauses xynol, ceteareth and oleth.

  1. Polytetrafluoroethylene

Also known as Teflon (yes, you read that right), this fluorinated compound has been associated with everything from cancer to reproductive issues, including delayed menstruation and later breast development. Little do most realize, it can be found in many places besides non-stick pans. From foundation, pressed powder, blush and bronzer to eye shadow, lip balm, mascara and anti-aging lotion, this common contaminant is omnipresent in conventional personal care products.

  1. Retinol

While retinol, the chemical name for vitamin A, may be lauded for its anti-aging benefits, its use is also linked with lesser-known toxicities, particularly when used in high doses or added to cosmetic products in the derivative forms of retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate. Banned in Europe, retinoic acid can easily be found  in anti-aging lotions and creams, foundations, and moisturizers throughout the U.S.

The above are just three of the most common offenders, still widely used in cosmetic products sold in the USA. Unfortunately, attempting to keep up with the many techniques through which manufacturers attempt to disguise the harmful chemicals in their products can be an enterprise in futility. The most effective way to safeguard your health and wellness from toxic beauty ingredients? Stick with natural, organic, certified products.

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Health & Vitality



WHAT: Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) is a plant indigenous to the southwestern United States that goes by many names, including goat nut, quinine nut, pignut, and wild hazel. It is most famous for its oil, which is a liquid wax harvested from the seed. People have been using jojoba oil for centuries for myriad medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Grown in the Sonoran, Colorado, and Baja California deserts, the jojoba plant is immediately recognizable by its waxy leaves and yellow flowers, which bloom from March to May. Its mild scent is “fixative,” or taking on the scent of its immediate environment.

ORIGIN: The jojoba plant only thrives naturally in arid desert areas of Colorado, Arizona, California and Northern Mexico. While the flowers only bloom for a few months each year, the leaves do not shed with the seasons. When planted as a seed, a jojoba plant can take up to three years to start bearing flowers. The waxy leaves of the jojoba plant have an aerodynamic effect that sends pollen from the male flower to the female flower. Once pollinated, a female flower becomes a hard capsule that contains one or more seeds. As it grows, the capsule splits open, revealing a mature jojoba seed. While the jojoba seed grows in the wild in the desert, farms exist all over North America, Israel, Argentina, Peru, and Australia.

HISTORY: The oil from a jojoba seed has a storied history. Used for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes, the jojoba seed has been a mainstay in American culture for centuries. Native Americans have been on the forefront of jojoba oil use, as Jesuit Missionaries in the 18th century documented them heating the mature seed to soften them. Once heated, they used a mortar and pestle to grind the seed into a butter oil, which they applied to their hair and skin for conditioning. The Tohono O’odham people native to the Sonoran desert used jojoba seeds to make an antioxidant paste to soothe burns. Modern science can now explain jojoba’s colorful history: Chemists have found jojoba to be rich in tocopherols, or strains of Vitamin E. This antioxidant has been used to soothe and heal damaged and sensitive skin for a long time.

Indigenous people also used jojoba oil for other reasons. Native American women ate the pods because they believed they assisted with childbirth. People also believed jojoba inhibits hunger, and hunters reportedly munched on the pods to avoid hunger pangs.

Interestingly, one of the reasons for jojoba’s increased popularity in the 20th century has ties to whaling. Oil from the sperm whale had a variety of uses, from fueling lamps to personal care products. Once whaling was outlawed, jojoba farming began in earnest, as Americans began to recognize the seeds as a more sustainable and humane alternative to whale oil.

HEALTH BENEFITS: Today, people use jojoba oil throughout the world for an array of health conditions. People use it most commonly to treat acne, psoriasis, sunburns, and chapped skin. People who are afflicted with hair loss also use jojoba oil, as it’s said to encourage hair growth.

One of the reasons jojoba oil is so effective at healing skin is because its chemistry mimics our own. To stay hydrated, our skin produces a waxy substance known as sebum. Our body produces less sebum as we age, leading to chapped, dry skin. Jojoba oil creates the same effect as sebum, moisturizing tired skin. In fact, jojoba oil is a key ingredient in synthetic sebum used to treat patients with serious medical conditions. On the other hand, too much sebum leads to buildup and acne. Jojoba oil has a cleansing effect, restoring the skin’s natural balance. This makes it a desirable treatment for both eczema and acne.

People are sometimes hesitant to try jojoba oil because of the word “oil.” This is a misnomer – jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. Jojoba is a rich source of iodine, which stymies the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to breakouts. Jojoba can even hasten the process of wound healing. According to a study by the Department of Environment at the University of Italy, jojoba oil can speed wound closure and stimulate collagen synthesis.

An additional study from Germany in 2012 examined the substance’s ability to treat skin lesions and improve skin condition in 194 subjects, who applied a mask of clay and jojoba oil to their faces between two and three times a week. At the end of the six-week study period, 54 percent of the study participants noticed marked improvement.

TOP SIX BEAUTY USES: People use jojoba oil for myriad cosmetic purposes, including:

#1:  Facial Cleanser and Moisturizer: As an emollient, jojoba oil protects skin from scaly patches and treats rough irritated skin. It also functions as a natural antibacterial substance. Its gentle formulation makes it perfect for the delicate skin of the face.

#2:  Body Moisturizer: Unlike some other substances, jojoba oil is perfect for full body application. Those with sensitive, easily irritated skin will be relieved to find it has no harsh chemicals.

#3:  Makeup Remover: Jojoba oil is effective in removing daily buildup, makeup, and bacteria. Since it’s hypoallergenic, you can even use it on the delicate skin around the eyes.

#4:  Scalp and Body Massage Oil: Jojoba oil will moisturize all body surfaces, including your hair. Its mild scent makes it a perfect choice for massage oil, especially for those with sensitive noses. B vitamins encourage softness and shine. A study from University of Maryland Medical Center discovered that massaging the scalp with a variety of essential oils, including Jojoba, can stimulate hair growth.

#5:  Lip Conditioner and Moisturizer: The oil from the jojoba plant acts as a natural moisturizer, protectant, and emollient, without the harsh chemicals found in traditional lip remedies.

#6:  Shaving Prep and Aftershave Soother: Jojoba oil is also an effective shaving cream, use it in the shower to protect against razor burn, and as an aftershave to protect against irritation or ingrown hairs.

STUDIES: The emollient properties of jojoba oil are well documented. A 2008 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found jojoba oil to have a long-lasting moisturizing effect. Subjects applied a topical formulation of jojoba oil mixed with glycerol. Eight and 24-hour benchmarks found the jojoba oil/glycerol blend was more effective in retaining moisture than glycerol alone.

Jojoba oil is also effective at protecting and healing hair that has been subject to harsh chemical treatments. A study examining the effects of jojoba oil esters on Afro-ethnic hair that had been chemically straightened found subjects who treated with jojoba oil experienced less protein loss and more protection from breakage.

An Italian literature review found a robust body of research suggesting jojoba oil plays an important role in wound healing, aging, and fighting skin infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for sunscreens and moisturizers, according to the review.

FUNCTION IN NATURAL COSMETICS: Emollient, Hair Conditioning Agent, Skin-conditioning agent, Viscosity Controlling


TOXICITY & PRECAUTIONS: Jojoba oil is becoming an increasingly popular choice for skin and hair care because of its natural personal care properties. It is hypoallergenic and well tolerated by those with sensitive skin, and by people who are prone to breakouts. Experts consider jojoba oil safe for most users. It is a topical emollient and people should not ingest it.

Speak to your health care practitioner about using jojoba oil if you have specific health concerns. Patients who have severe psoriasis, eczema, or acne should speak with their physicians before making any changes to their treatment regimen. Although rare, contact dermatitis can occur. In the event of a skin reaction, discontinue use immediately. The EWG’s (The Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep Cosmetic Database safety ranks the ingredient jojoba oil in the “green zone”, with an overall toxicity ranking of 1 out of 10.


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Afterglow Lifestyle, Health & Vitality

Why We’re Taking 2 Weeks Off…


Even though we are a makeup company, there are three subjects more important to us than makeup….  

Happiness, health, and sustainability take the (gluten-free) cake at Afterglow…

because we know that there is no amount of makeup that can make you calm and glowing the way taking time to truly relax and reconnect with yourself does.

We talk lot about sustainability and the importance of selecting sustainable, organic ingredients and designing our business to reduce waste and run efficiently. Since I started Afterglow in 2004, I’ve witnessed the exciting business trend towards using sustainable ingredients and business practices to better the planet and reduce waste.

But there’s a serious disconnect…

We humans are left out of the sustainability conversation in American business.

America has been dubbed by many as the “no vacation nation”. In fact, according to The Center for Economic and Policy Research, American’s take less vacation time than any other country in the world. While most of Europe enjoys 30 days of vacation, Americans aren’t even taking the two weeks average. According Jack Dickey’s Time magazine (June 1, 2015) article entitled, “Save Our Vacation: What we must do to revive a cherished American institution”, Americans leave an average of 4.9 vacation days a year unused. I believe this is due to a work-a-holic culture and a fear of taking vacation due to job loss and advancement consequences.

Incredibly, the US is the only country that does not require employers to offer vacation time as The Center for Economic and Policy Research shows in their graph below.

                                                        via The Center for Economic and Policy Research

Yikes! It’s no wonder that we as a nation feel burned-out!

So, we’ve decided to continue embodying Gandhi’s dream of being the change I wish to see in the world.

In this case, I wish to see a healthier, happier America where we have the time to truly enjoy the life we work so hard for. I want businesses to look at not only giving more time off, but encouraging employees to take time off to unplug, rejuvenate, relax and reflect.

There’s no better place to start with change than with that beauty in the mirror….

In the words of one of my virtual business mentors, Marie Forleo, who inspired me to initiate this two week team hiatus through her own team vacay announced here:

“If you’re always listening to the noise of the world, it’s impossible to hear the whispers of your soul.”

Is taking time to listen to the sweet whispers of your soul once a year too much to ask?


Continuing our philosophy from last year, all Afterglow employees will be required to take two weeks off from December 25th to January 8th. We’re calling it our Winter Wellness Vacation.

Yes! I am so excited to see this vacation experiment work it’s magic on Team Afterglow!

We are thrilled to be able to take this time with family and friends knowing that we will return to start the new year happier, more relaxed, and ready to go!

How could we be authentic to our mission and our holistic lifestyle if we did anything less?

Never fear! Through the magic of the internet, you will still be able to place orders 24/7 via our website during our December 25th – January 8th Winter Wellness Vacation. During this period, your orders will also process and ship within our regular, speedy processing and shipping time frames. Check out our holiday and regular shipping schedule here.

Winter Wellness Vacation: Frequently Asked Questions

This Q&A should answer the majority of your Customer Care and shipping questions related to our Winter Wellness Vacation. As always, our Customer Care mantra is “We will take care of you.” If you have a specific concern, please contact us and know that we will do everything we can to make it right for you!

Q: If I place an order between December 25th and January 8th, when will it process and ship?
A: There will be absolutely no delay in processing and shipping your orders outside of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Please refer to our Holiday Shipping Schedule here to determine when you should place your order to receive it by Christmas. All orders will ship out within our three-day standard processing time and shipping times (per the carrier you select).

Q: I never received my order. Where is it?
A: You should receive an email with a tracking number for your shipment. Please check all your email folders (spam, trash, social media, etc.). If you didn’t receive your shipment and can’t find your tracking email, please email us at We will respond to you by January 9th. At that time, we will ensure you receive your order ASAP. If your tracking indicates that your order shipped but never delivered during the promised shipping time-frame,  we will refund you the full price of your lost holiday package and immediately ship you a replacement.

Q:  I am mailing product I wish to return. When will my return be processed?
A:  We will process any returns received from December 25th – January 8th by January 23rd. We offer extended Holiday Return & Exchange time frames! Any items purchased from November 25th through January 8th will enjoy our Holiday 60 day (that’s two months!) return and exchange policy.  

Q:  I would like to exchange a product. How will this delay my exchange?
A:  In the interest of (almost) instant gratification, don’t wait for an exchange. Instead, return your unloved products for a refund instead of an exchange. Jump back on our site and purchase your more loved products directly from us. If you still prefer to wait for an exchange, please note that all exchanges received December 25th through January 8th will be processed by January 23rd.  

Q: I emailed and/or left a voicemail during your Winter Wellness Vacation. When will you respond?
A: We can’t wait to respond to you! We will jump back on all Customer Care correspondence January 9th. Expect a response from us sometime between January 9th and January 13th.

Q: I posted and messaged your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). When will you respond?
A: We will turn off all social media comments during our Winter Wellness Vacation. We will turn social media comments on January 9th and respond to any social media direct messages by January 13th.

We are so grateful for your continued support. We wish you a very relaxing and happy holiday season! We are excited to greet the New Year with the best bubbly of all… a happy, healthy body and soul!

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Beauty, Health & Vitality

5 Foods Linked to Premature Aging


The old adage, “You are what you eat,” absolutely holds up. The foods we choose to put into our body play a major role in how we look, feel, and even age. Let’s count down five skin aging offenders to avoid in order to look your youthful best.

  1. Sugar

You’ve probably already got a million reasons to quit sugar, but here’s one more to add to the list: it accelerates the aging process. Excess sugar causes the production of damaging AGEs as well as excess inflammation. The result? A loss in elasticity leading to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dull, dry skin.

  1. Trans Fats

We already know that trans fats clog arteries, which has a serious consequence on heart health. But did you know that clogged arteries and narrowed blood vessels can also age skin by promoting inflammation? Research further links these unhealthy fats with increased vulnerability to UV damage — the leading cause of aging. So step away from the processed foods to enjoy more resilient, radiant skin.

  1. Salt

If you slather on moisturizer every day to safeguard your skin from environmental damage, you may be undoing your efforts every time you reach for the salt shaker. In addition to causing high blood pressure and kidney disease, salt’s dehydrating effects can also leave skin looking puffy and fatigued. Salt can be an insidious ingredient — vegetable juice, soup, and even ice cream are a few high-salt shockers — so be sure to check labels.

  1. Coffee

We hate to do it to you, but coffee — and all other caffeine products — has a diuretic effect. In other words, while that cup of java may help you feel more awake in the morning, it can actually have the opposite effect on your appearance by triggering a youth-zapping loss of moisture.

  1. Alcohol

According to Dr. Oz, too much alcohol accelerates the aging process by taxing your liver, which is responsible for expelling the body’s toxins. Devoid of nutrients, excess alcohol can also lead to depleted levels of antioxidant vitamin A, which is responsible for cell regeneration and the production of collagen. One last reason to avoid too much alcohol? It can interfere with your beauty sleep. The takeaway? Think twice before polishing off that bottle: the more you imbibe, the greater the impact on your appearance.

While what we put into our bodies — for better or for worse — directly impacts how we look and feel, this doesn’t mean giving up all life’s pleasures. Rather, we choose to adopt another time-tested expression to guide the way, “Everything in moderation.”

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Health & Vitality




WHAT: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), a fragrant herb related to mint, has long been used to alleviate muscle pain, boost the immune system, enhance circulation, improve memory, and promote hair growth. As a source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6, rosemary has been hailed for its medicinal properties since ancient times. Rosemary is also useful for enhancing food dishes with its unique piney flavor, and for creating perfumes, soaps, and cosmetics. Rosemary is recognized by its long, flat, thin green leaves. This herb can be prepared as a dried whole plant, a powdered extract, or a liquid extract.

ORIGIN: Rosemary is native to dry, rocky areas in the Mediterranean, mostly on the coastline. It’s a hardy herb that does well in pots and planters. It cannot withstand harsh winters and is typically found in sunny environments with well-drained soil, next to breezy oceans such as on the coast of California. It’s relatively easy to grow and cultivate indoors or in a home garden with protection from winter and is found in many places around the world. It’s a popular choice for personal herb gardens and can be used fresh, dried, crushed, or frozen.

HISTORY: Rosemary is a popular and almost magical herb and is often worn by brides in weddings. Coined the “Dew of the Sea” for its delicate blue flowers and affinity for wet environments, rosemary has a long history that spans thousands of years. Ancient Greek and Roman gardens often included rosemary bushes, which were believed to protect people from evil spirits. This culture held that it could only grow in the gardens of the righteous. Roman armies brought rosemary to Britain, and the herb eventually made its way to the New World.

The first herbal book printed in English, Blanckes’ Herbal, was published in 1525 and includes a description of rosemary’s cosmetic uses. It states that boiling the leaves in white wine and washing the face with the brew gives a “fair face” and smelling rosemary preserves youth. It also accredits rosemary for its topical application to soothe gout (or arthritis) by boiling the leaves in water and binding them in a linen cloth around the affected limb.

Dr. Nicholas Culpepper, an English botanist, herbalist, and physician, wrote in his book Pharmacopoeia Londinensis (1653) how he used rosemary as an “admirable cure-all” to remedy loss of memory, headache, cold, and even coma. He stated that it restores body function and capabilities, even at a late age. Rosemary is mentioned often in famous literature, including Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, and as the herb used to awaken Sleeping Beauty. Rosemary is still used in weddings and funerals alike, signifying romance, respect, and remembrance.

HEALTH BENEFITS: For centuries, the primordial Mediterranean herb rosemary has seen the inside of apothecaries and health centers due to its myriad of health benefits. Traditionally, people have used rosemary to improve memory; relieve muscle spasms, aches, and pains; reduce inflammation; support the circulatory and nervous systems; and stimulate hair growth. Applied topically to the skin in an oil, rosemary is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and muscle pain. It increases circulation and blood flow.

Even so, Europe, the German Commission E approves the use of rosemary for indigestion or dyspepsia. The Commission examines the efficacy and safety of herbs and approved rosemary for treating indigestion. As a wind-relieving herb, rosemary can calm an upset stomach when eaten or brewed into a tea. Rosemary is a carminative herb, meaning it can relieve indigestion, low stomach acidity, and heartburn, especially when there is excessive gas.

Clinical studies prove that rosemary acts as an inhibitor of food-borne pathogens, having an antimicrobial effect. When rosemary leaf powder is added to food, it inhibits pathogens such as B. cereus, S. aureus, and listeria monocytogenes. Rosemary has several important nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, iron, fiber, and calcium. These nutrients serve as antioxidants, promoting healthy skin and increasing protection from lung and mouth cancers. Several studies have connected rosemary to antitumor properties.

Rosemary also contains carnosic acid, which a study published in Cell Journal states may be useful in fighting off radical damage in the brain. Studies continue today that examine rosemary’s possible affects on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Use of rosemary during aromatherapy can relieve stress, reduce migraines, boost concentration, and aid memory, especially when combined with lavender.


#1: Rosemary’s primary feature in skincare and natural cosmetics is the herb’s ability to remove excess oil. It has a natural astringent property that freshens up oily skin and hair without causing dryness. Facial cleansers and natural cosmetics with rosemary help with oily skin without using harsh chemicals. Instead of leaving your skin dry, which causes excess oil production, breakouts, and a greasy appearance, rosemary removes oil gently and naturally.

#2: When topically applied as an ingredient in natural cosmetics, Rosemary’s anti-inflammatory qualities eliminate puffiness from under the eyes due to age or a restless night by stimulating circulation. Rosemary reduces redness and swelling, such as from wind-burned skin. Increased circulation restores skin’s natural elasticity, lessening the appearance of sagging and wrinkling skin to provide a firm, toned, and healthy complexion. Antioxidants in rosemary slow down the effects of aging, helping tighten skin and reduce fine lines. Rosemary can also reduce acne and blemishes due to cell regeneration properties that effectively eliminate the appearance of scars, spots, and sun damage.

#3: The same blood circulation stimulation that improves the look of skin can also reduce hair loss. Rosemary has been used for centuries to prevent hair loss, stimulating hair growth through increased blood flow in the scalp. Massaging the scalp with rosemary extract or rosemary shampoos can prevent hair loss and promote new growth – ideal for men with male-pattern baldness or women with thinning hair.

STUDIES: In a 2014 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, scientists tested rosemary’s effects on the skin. Rosemary contains caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid, two compounds with an antioxidant effect. The study shows that rosemary extract is effective in preventing skin conditions such as photo-aging and photo cancers caused by chronic UV radiation exposure. The same study also finds that the antibacterial properties of rosemary essential oil create “significant changes” in the size of acne and blemishes on the skin.

A study from 2013 also praises rosemary for its antioxidant activity, evaluating its effectiveness in multiple tests. This study found that applying rosemary essential oil helps fight skin aging due to its antioxidants. It identifies rosemary as one of the few plants that affect skin elasticity and tightness, providing a natural way to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The study found that rosemary, along with several other plants, has valuable cell renewal properties, inflammatory responses, and antioxidant defenses on the skin.

Recently, rosemary generated a lot of buzz for its potential to increase cognitive performance, even for degenerative diseases. A study in 2012 looked at the relationship between rosemary essential oil and human behavior, using rosemary aroma on test subjects. The study concluded that performance of cognitive tasks is “significantly related” to exposure to rosemary aroma, with higher concentrations producing greater performance. The study found that rosemary aroma improved thought process speed and accuracy.

FUNCTION IN NATURAL COSMETICS: Antimicrobial Agent, Antioxidant, Fragrance Ingredient, Skin-Conditioning Agent, Perfuming


TOXICITY & PRECAUTIONS: Rosemary is a time-honored herb used for numerous health conditions and beauty treatments. However, herbs can have side effects and interact with other supplements, medications, or herbs. Take rosemary with care, and always speak with your health care provider before beginning a regular rosemary supplement or treatment. There are reports of allergic reactions to rosemary. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid taking rosemary as a supplement because of its abortifacient properties, but it’s safe to eat on food and use topically in natural cosmetics. The EWG’s (The Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep Cosmetic Database safety ranks the ingredient rosemary in the “green zone”, with an overall toxicity ranking of 1 out of 10.


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Beauty, Health & Vitality, Mindfulness, Natural Beauty Secrets

8 Great Vitamins for Glowing Skin

8 Great Vitamins for Glowing Skin
One of my favorite creative parts of my life is uncovering hidden natural ingredient and supplement gems that take my health and beauty to the next level. I put the same amount of obsessiveness, research and experimentation into my own internal beauty routine as I do my cosmetic creations for
Afterglow Cosmetics and Exuberance Beauty. These are my top 8 favorite vitamins for glowing skin.

  1. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil was a favorite of Native Americans for wound care and other natural wellness therapies. Derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant (Oenothera biennis), evening primrose oil is loaded with omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Evening primrose oil may contribute to your glowing skin goals from the inside by positively impacting your natural hormone balance.  This means softer, firmer, more supple skin and less acne. In fact, a study in The International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences found that supplementing with 3 x 500 mg per day of soft gel evening primrose oil capsules for 12 weeks significantly improved participants’ skin moisture, transepidermal water loss, elasticity, firmness, fatigue resistance and roughness compared to a placebo. Solgar makes my favorite brand of cold-pressed, gluten-free evening primrose oil supplements. Buy Solgar’s evening primrose oil here on or from your local natural food store.

  1. Zinc

Found in every cell of the human body, zinc is essential for our bodies to function. But did you know that this trace mineral also has powerful properties when it comes to skin care? While not technically an antioxidant, zinc does its part to promote healthy skin from the inside out by fighting free radicals and safeguarding the production of collagen, which is a vital part of skin elasticity, firmness and suppleness. Due to its impact on immune function, zinc may also help prevent acne breakouts. Zinc at its best works synergistically with other trace minerals like copper. Try a trace mineral blend that includes zinc like Life Extension’s Only Trace Minerals supplement  here on or at your local natural food store.

  1. Horsetail

Also known as Equisetum, this vascular plant has a multitude of medicinal properties, including antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits. In addition to purifying skin and preventing acne, horsetail is also thought to be an effective defense against wrinkles and other effects of aging due to its role in maintaining healthy connective tissues. Many supplementing with horsetail report much stronger, longer and healthier nails and hair growth as well. Flora makes my favorite horsetail supplement called Vegetal Silica. Buy Flora’s Vegetal Silica here  from

  1. Biotin

This water-soluble B vitamin supports a number of biological functions, including everything from metabolic functions to the digestive system. Sufficient biotin is a key part of the skin’s role as a protective barrier. Biotin deficiency, meanwhile, has been connected with dull, dry skin. Just how important is biotin? It’s earned the moniker of “vitamin H” for its impact on both hair growth and skin health. I love this Biotin – Hair, Skin & Nails supplement made with coconut oil found here on

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Primarily found in fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acids keep the aging process at bay by blocking the release of enzymes which break down the skin’s collagen. The result? Firmer, more hydrated, taut skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

Do you think you’ve got it covered with your healthy diet? Apparently, even most healthy Western diets that include fish are still not getting the crucial quantity of Omega-3s necessary to maintain glowing skin and vibrant health. Even more critical and unaddressed by the Western diet is the poor balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3s you need to ingest via food or supplementation to really see glowing skin and overall health benefits. Personally, my body loves this Omega-3 supplement from Nordic Naturals which you can find here on or at your local natural foods store. A great vegan alternative is Udo’s Oil – 3*6*9 Blend by Flora which you can find here on or at your local natural food store.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C has long been known to boost immune function, protect against heart disease and even safeguarding eye health. Here’s one more reason to add Vitamin C to your list of near-magical must-haves: brighter skin. In fact, one study showed that, in combination with Vitamin E, people who took a Vitamin C supplement had more vibrant skin after just four months. The Synergy Company makes my favorite brand of Vitamin C, Pure Synergy – Pure Radiance C 100% Natural Wholefood Vitamin C, which you can find here on

  1. Astaxanthin

Ultra rich in antioxidants, this “super nutrient” is particularly celebrated for quickly manifesting glowing skin from within. Astaxanthin is a dark red carotenoid found in a specific microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis.

Fun fact, flamingos are actually born grey and white. They don’t turn pink until they consume this amazing nutrient. You won’t turn shades of pink, but you might just be amazed at how quickly you see glowing skin. A 2002 Japanese study of women around 40 years old taking 2mg of astaxanthin a day demonstrated visible signs of improved skin tone, texture, fewer fine lines and less under-eye puffiness within 2 weeks of daily supplementation.

In fact, natural astaxanthin’s unique molecular structure makes makes it a far more powerful antioxidant than Vitamin C or Vitamin E.  Studies show natural astaxanthin antioxidant power is 1000 times more effective than Vitamin C and up to up to 500 times more effective than Vitamin E.   

Personally, my skin was noticeably softer, brighter and smoother within three weeks of supplementing 1 x 12mg per day with this brand of Astaxanthin which you can purchase here on or from your local health food store.

  1. Probiotics

All additional supplementation is useless if your digestive system doesn’t have the ability to absorb nutrients. Unfortunately, gut and absorption issues have reached chronic levels. There is mounting evidence that a healthy gut means better beauty.  By now we’re all aware of the incredible health boosting potential of probiotics, AKA “good” bacteria, when it comes to promoting digestive regularity. However, you may not be aware of their potential for skin beautification. As part of a clean diet, probiotics have been linked with reduced inflammation, less acne, rosacea, skin rashes and even hair loss, prompting the Dermatology Times to declare them to be an important part of achieving the “glow of health.”

Fermented foods and beverages such as fermented sauerkraut and kimchi or kombucha are great natural probiotic sources and sold at many grocery stores.  I personally have a brewing batch of kombucha in my kitchen as I type this. Another wonderful probiotic supplement is Garden of Life’s Primal Defense ULTRA which you can find here on or in your local health food store.

Supplement your beauty routine from within with these 8 vitamins for glowing skin! Have these supplements worked for you? What success have you had using supplements to support your health and beauty? I’d love to hear about your success in the comments below!

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Kristin Adams - Natural Beauty Expert
Kristin Adams is a Natural Beauty Expert as well as the Founder & CEO of Afterglow Cosmetics. Kristin is dedicated to bringing you products and information to encourage safer, more natural lifestyle choices that support your health and beauty at its highest and best.  Click here to read more about Kristin.

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Afterglow Lifestyle, Health & Vitality

The GFCO Certified Gluten-Free Difference

Certified Gluten-Free Written by Guest Contributor, Chris Rich, Vice President of Development for the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Quick question – as a gluten-free consumer, what is the first thing that you do when you pick up a new product at the grocery or drugstore?

The majority of you probably answered one of two things. First, you find the area showing the ingredients and/or components that make up the product. You are looking for those “hidden” ingredients: the malt, wheat flour extract, etc. When people think about you being gluten-free, they think you need to just avoid breads, but these ingredients are the tricky little things that you know can do the real damage.

The second thing that you are doing when holding that product in your hand is looking for the GF label. The “circle GF” label, also known as the certification label, is arguably the most trusted symbol in our gluten-free community.

Before I became involved with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and learned more about our Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) program (which handles the certification of products), I was doing the same label searching. My son is a Celiac and when shopping for him, if I found the “circle GF” label on the package, I knew I didn’t have to look at the ingredients. That symbol to me, and to thousands of others in the community, represents “safety”.

But what exactly does it mean to be Certified Gluten-Free? What makes the GFCO Gluten-Free certification label different from others and distinguishes it from a product that just says gluten-free?  

For one, when a company goes through our certification process for their products, they are being held to higher standards than those implemented by the FDA. Products that just say “gluten-free” are only required to have 20 ppm (parts per million) or less of gluten per sample size tested. Products carrying our certification label have been tested to 10 ppm or less.

In addition to these higher result standards, our GFCO testing process is one of the most extensive in the industry. GIG representatives will visit the production facilities and take test samples from all steps of the manufacturing process; from the starting ingredients to the methods that product is packaged and stored.

Knowing the importance and symbolism that our approval label holds, we continue to test product even after the company has completed the certification process. Random testing of products off of store shelves and unannounced visits to manufacturing facilities are some of extra steps that GFCO takes to make sure that this label maintains its integrity in the industry. Should we find products that are not adhering to the standards that we expect, we will take the steps to have the process corrected, use our media outreach to assure that the community is aware of the risk, and if necessary, have the certification symbol removed from their products.

At GIG, approximately two-thirds of our employees are affected by either Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, either directly or through a close family member. We are part of the gluten-free community, and we understand the challenges people living gluten-free face every day. Companies such as Afterglow, who put forward the effort to complete the certification process for the benefit of you, the consumer, are the champions of this industry. Their gluten-free cosmetics are part of our network of almost 30,000 certified products, manufactured in 29 countries on six different continents.

Many things make me smile. As a parent, it’s getting to watch my kids grow and be successful. As a representative of GIG, it’s finding that label during an everyday shopping trip on a product that I had no idea was gluten-free. It shows me that this company cares for us, the GF community. They care for that person who is so dependent on the “circle GF” label that they have turned it into a sewing pattern. They care for that person who walks by at an Expo and proudly shows off their “certified GF” arm tattoo. They care for people such as my son. Afterglow has recognized that not only does the certified label on their products represent “safety”, it is a symbol of hope and empowerment to a growing population. It is a symbol on Afterglow’s line of products that shows they care.

gluten-free certification
Chris Rich is the Vice President of Development for the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), When he’s not busy thinking of new and innovative ways to help the gluten-free community, you can find him at the local sporting venue coaching and supporting his two kids.


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Health & Vitality

Gluten-Free and Gorgeous

We strongly believe that every woman, including those who live gluten-free, should be able to wear makeup safely. That’s why all of our products are certified gluten-free. We want all women to be their most healthy, gorgeous selves every day.

Why would cosmetics contain gluten?  While gluten is a main ingredient in breads and other foods, it’s also commonly used in cosmetics to bind cosmetic ingredients and as an emollient to hydrate and soften skin. In fact, wheat is the most common source for the ubiquitous cosmetic ingredient, Tocopherol, also known as Vitamin E.  You would never know that your Vitamin E fortified cosmetic contained gluten because there is no requirement in the U.S. to disclose the source of cosmetic ingredients directly on the ingredient label. At Afterglow, we use only natural and safe binders and emollients derived from non-wheat sources.

Why does makeup have to be gluten-free? There is a growing population in the U.S. that reacts to eating gluten and topically applying gluten contaminated skin care and makeup products. If you aren’t sensitive, gluten-free cosmetics are certainly not essential. However, if you are sensitive, have food allergies or a known sensitivity to gluten, avoiding gluten-laced products may be in your best interest.

How would I even react to gluten contaminated makeup and skincare?  Even though gluten particles are too large to be absorbed through the skin, you still ingest the majority of your lip products (lip glosses, lipsticks, lip liners, lip balms and ointments) you apply throughout your day either by licking your lips or during the process of eating and drinking. In fact, according to the European Commission on Consumer Safety’s research, it’s estimated that the average woman eats 3.7 pounds of lipstick in a lifetime!1  

What about skin issues from gluten?  Gluten-sensitive people often also develop a topical form of Celiac Disease called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), which causes reddening skin, and a blistering, itchy rash. It’s said that DH is caused by ingesting gluten, not by skin contact with gluten. However, even when on a strict gluten-free diet, many people with Celiac Disease still notice that they have a dermatitis herpetiformis-like reaction to topically applied cosmetics and makeup containing gluten.

What does gluten-free certified mean? Afterglow Cosmetics is the first makeup line to be Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). As the leading gluten-free certification program in the world, the GFCO inspects our products, lab tests, batch samples, and audits our manufacturing facilities to ensure the absence of gluten. The independent certification gives you peace of mind. We aren’t just printing and slapping a gluten-free label on our products. The third-party auditing and oversight is critical to ensuring our products are gluten-free at every level of the manufacturing process from sourcing the raw materials to packaging the final product.  We undergo extensive auditing and testing that guarantees our products are truly gluten-free.

If you’ve adopted a gluten-free lifestyle, remove yourself from the gluten contamination equation at every level and choose certified gluten-free cosmetics. We carry gluten-free makeup you can use with confidence. Accentuate your positive naturally, with gluten-free makeup, and step into the beauty that is you at every level. Check out our full line of gluten-free makeup here.


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Health & Vitality

5 Skincare Tips to Keep Your Skin Healthy and Radiant

As your body’s largest organ, skin protects your body from the environment, helps to regulate body temperature, and acts as a filter. Your skin also makes you unique and beautiful. Proper skin care is essential for keeping your skin healthy and vibrant.

Health and beauty experts agree that there are five main types of skin – normal, dry, oily, a combination, and sensitive. Each type of skin requires special care. These five skincare tips optimize the beauty and function of your skin.

  1. Always remove makeup before going to bed, period. Even if you don’t have a specific reaction to sleeping in your makeup. Recent studies1 show that sleeping in your makeup for as little as one month can age the appearance of your skin up to TEN YEARS!  This rule is especially important to follow religiously if you have sensitive skin, as makeup can also irritate your skin. Use organic olive oil or coconut oil dabbed onto a cotton ball to remove stubborn eye and lip color before cleansing your face. Cleanse your face with a natural facial cleanser such as Exuberance Beauty’s Green Tea Fragrance-Free Facial Cleanser. Daily cleansing removes dirt and debris that can clog your pores to cause acne. You don’t want to redeposit yesterday’s dirt and grime back onto your face! So, be sure to use a fresh, clean washcloth every day.

  2. Exfoliate exactly once a week. Exfoliating too often can irritate and dry your skin. Not exfoliating frequently enough allows dead skin cells to accumulate on your face, creating a dull and dry appearance. Regular exfoliation brightens your complexion, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and reveals younger, healthier skin. Exfoliation is essential in the treatment of dry skin.

  3. Always use a natural, water-based toner. After cleansing, spray a natural toner such as Exuberance Beauty’s Indian Rose & Aloe Calming Facial Tonic onto your skin. Modern toners prep the skin with a water-based infusion of skin care ingredients that help restore and repair the skin. Modern toners also prep the skin to absorb as much moisture as possible for maximum hydration and skin benefit.

  4. Follow your toner application with a moisturizer. We suggest Exuberance Beauty’s line of organic adaptogenic moisturizers developed to bring your skin back into balance. Massage Exuberance Beauty’s Indian Rose Calming Facial Lotion into your skin with your fingertips, using upward sweeping motions.

  5. Drink and eat more water. Your skin loves to stay hydrated from the inside out. It’s likely you aren’t getting enough water to make a true difference in your skin. Better body hydration means plumper, more vibrant skin. Pores and wrinkles are also less visible and skin is less likely to crack and become irritated when well hydrated from the inside. Drink a big glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice as soon as you wake up in the morning. Focus on drinking eight 10-ounce servings of water a day. When you sit down, make sure you choose at least one water-based food to eat with every meal. Think non-starchy fruits and veggies.

While your skin will benefit from the organic ingredients of Afterglow, your skin also requires additional care to keep it functioning well and looking great. The right hydration and daily cleansing, toning, and moisturizing skin care routine will keep your skin in top condition so that it always looks and feels soft, smooth, and vibrant.


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Health & Vitality

3 Powerful Reasons to Switch to Natural Cosmetics

You exercise to tone your body and strengthen your lungs. You eat right to protect your organs and immune system. What are you doing to take care of your largest organ, your skin? At Afterglow Cosmetics, we believe that how you care for, treat and adorn your skin has a profound influence on your health and happiness.

You absorb a tremendous amount of what you put on your body. Once absorbed through your skin, many commonly used cosmetic ingredients accumulate in your tissues and organs. This is one of the reasons why we formulate with only the highest quality, natural, certified organic ingredients, giving you the option to reduce your exposure to thousands of common toxic cosmetic ingredients found in traditional cosmetics.

Consider making the switch to natural cosmetics for three powerful reasons:

Protect Your Body

Highly porous skin absorbs everything we put onto it, including traditional chemical-laden makeup. Science has proven absorption as common cosmetic ingredients have been found in breast cancer tumors and in cord blood. Toxins and cosmetic ingredient contamination even pass in utero to the fetus. You can’t control most environmental toxins and pollution exposure, but you can control the type of makeup you wear. By using natural and organic makeup, you take a powerful step toward protecting your body, your beauty, your health and your future.

Detox More Efficiently

Your body is an elegant system that knows how to naturally detox and expel toxins found in food and the environment. Much of the process of expelling toxins transacts through your skin’s pores. The last thing you want to do is cover your pores with traditional, petroleum-based makeup that clogs them and prevents our natural body’s cleansing process. Natural cosmetics allow your skin to breathe and ensure unhealthy toxins can easily escape.

Create a Natural Look

All women, including you, are naturally beautiful. Makeup merely enhances your natural beauty, especially when choosing to use natural and organic cosmetics. Truly natural cosmetics don’t include synthetic pigments and dyes like FD&C colors and Lake Dyes. While these dyes provide intense colors, they quite often look unnatural, jarring and unflattering for everyday wear. Our natural pigments create beautiful shades that enhance your natural beauty, maximizing your features and minimizing blemishes.

Are you ready to make the switch to natural cosmetics? We know the process can be overwhelming, so we suggest you start with these three steps.

  1. CHECK: Gather the cosmetics you currently wear and check their safety ratings on the Environmental Working Group’s website, ‘Skin Deep’, and immediately toss items that are code RED.

  2. REPLACE: Replace products with the longest skin contact first, such as moisturizer, foundation, sunscreen, and mascara.

  3. SCAN:  Don’t rely on the labeling claims of “natural” and marketing with the word “organic”. Instead, check the ingredients. Green is fashionable, and for many companies, it’s more about the marketing than the actual ingredients. You don’t have to be a chemist though! We recommend you scan ingredient labels to look for red-flag ingredients. If you see these ingredients in a cosmetic product, you can be sure that making a truly natural product is not the brand’s priority. Look for and avoid: Fragrance, Parabens, Polyethelene Glycol (PEG), Hydroquinone, Oxybenzone, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Phthalates, Quaternium, Nylon-6, Butylene Glycol, and Paraffin.

Many of these red-flag ingredients are known as endocrine disruptors. To learn more about what endocrine disruptors are and the damaging effects they can have on the body, check out our blog post here: Top 3 Cosmetic Endocrine Disruptors.

At Afterglow Cosmetics, we’re proud to offer organic makeup that protects, nourishes, and revitalizes your skin. You’ll see the difference from the first application, guaranteed, and your skin and body will thank you for years to come. Click here view our full line of super natural makeup.