October 24, 2015


This Side of Creation is the companion blog for ODE. It covers a variety of topics including the history, the diversity, the culture, the music, the food, the art and the craft of Africa and Diaspora.



Pretty Doesn't Have to Hurt

Natural Beauty - RGB Nail Polish, Le Labo Fragrances, Lovefresh Deodorant


Names like Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Phryne (aka Aphrodite), and Helen (of Troy) are known to the world because of the beauty of the women behind the names. All they had was what Mother Nature provided. Nefertiti was said to use Shea butter for all of her beauty needs, Cleopatra bathed in milk and honey, and rose water (tightens skin pores) was Helen’s pick. So how did we allow ourselves to be convinced that the pricey tub of chemically enhanced, celebrity endorsed, anti-aging wrinkle cream is better?

As recently as five years ago, the prevailing attitude was that “natural” beauty didn’t work. It’s sad but true that skin care and cosmetic companies will tell us anything to capitalize on our desire to stay young and beautiful. In many instances their products hurt more than they help. Sometimes prematurely aging and damaging our skin.

Most of us have the simple goal of preserving our natural beauty, and not forcing ourselves to be something we’re not. Because of this, we have smartened up! Now, the premium market has turned to “natural” products. We are becoming a generation of eco-conscious individuals, who want to do good by the planet without compromising luxury, our looks or health in the processes. I have found the best way to achieve this is to keep an eye out for products that are non-toxic and cruelty free.

I have done a bit of legwork to find good quality, everyday beauty products that contain less chemicals and/or are more eco-friendly than the products I relied on in the past. I started with a few basics. Below are the products that made it to the top of my list.

Rosehip Face Oil

  • Rosehip oil is harvested from the seeds of rose bushes. Its full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It’s known to correct dark spots and hydrate dry, itchy skin. It also has the benefit of reducing scars, fine lines, and works on a cellular level to rejuvenate the skin. 100% cold pressed rosehip oil is best for your skin because it hasn’t been altered in any way.   I have been applying it to my face at night for the past three month. The biggest difference I have noticed is my skin has become more evenly toned. I even started wearing less makeup during the day (only blended concealer). This is a must try! Don’t let the scent turn you off (smells a little like fish oil). I noticed the smell goes away after it has been absorbed by the skin. There are a variety of brands of rosehip oil sold on Amazon. As long as it is 100% organic rosehip oil, they should all have the same effect.

Lovefresh Deodorant (100% Natural Cream Deodorant)

  • LOVEFRESH was founded by Stacey Davis on the premise that you could have beautiful, glowing skin using all-natural products, that would be as luxurious as they would be healthy for the body. They offer a variety of scents that are light and pleasant. I tried the Moroccan Rose Absolute and was not disappointed. It was packaged in a small jar so you apply it with your hands (*make sure to rub it in well and a little bit goes a long way). They now offer deodorant sticks for those of us who can’t get used to applying with our hands.

Le Labo (Vegan and cruelty-Free)

  • I visited their NY location on 14 W.29th street to checkout a new fragrance for the Fall. They only have store locations in NY and CA so if you are not near one, you can easily order online. Their products are not tested on animals and contain no parabens or preservatives. Le Labo is known for blending the essential oils of the perfume with alcohol and water at the time of purchase. This allows the scents to last longer for the consumer. They also provide customized labels to your scent of choice (which gives a nice personal touch). Their products consist of a range of 11 scents developed by some of the world’s best perfume creators. I fell in love with Rose 31. It is fresh, sweet, and not overly flowery. What really got my attention was their refill program. When I am ready to purchase more of this delicious scent, I have the option to have them refill my old bottle instead of purchasing a new bottle. This is eco-friendly and saves me money!

RGB (Non-Toxic, Vegan and Cruelty-Free)

  • RGB aims to bridge the gap between green beauty and luxury cosmetics within the nail space. They provide what they call a five-free formula (No formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, or camphor). When it comes to nails I am a clear/nude polish type of girl. RGB was right up my alley. They offer the largest variety of nude colors I have ever come across. The colors are rich, and give a nice high shine. It took a bit longer to dry than other polishes I have used but once dry, they hold strong with no chipping. Big plus!

When it comes to hair, skin and nails it’s always best to lean on the side of Mother Nature. She always wins. The shorter the list of ingredients in the product, the better!

Akofa Alexandra is the Founder of SheaSimply. For more health and wellness tips, follow her on Instagram @Shea_Simply.


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