About me Beauty

Penny Pens Questions & Answers: Part 1

You guys sent me your questions, now it’s time to answer them!

I want to reiterate that I am not a licensed cosmetologist, beautician or dermatologist, so all of my answers are from personal experience and research. With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Is your hair color natural? Where do you get your hair done and with what products?

My hair is naturally red. A while back I went ombre for the summer (which I immediately regretted) and now I’m trying desperately to grow it out. So, unfortunately I can’t give you any tips on organic hair color alternatives or recommendations for organic salons in Helsinki from my own experience.

Do you have any tips for good daily SPF?

First of all, BRAVA for wearing daily SPF! It’s probably the most important way we can keep our skin young, beautiful and protected. Besides the obvious risk of skin cancer, we know that too much sun exposure ages our skin.

SPF can be difficult to understand, higher numbers do not necessarily mean more protection and there are pros and cons of both chemical and mineral sunscreens. My recommendation would be Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer that you can buy in Finland from Naturelle (they are located on Bulevardi in central Helsinki if you want to try it first). Also, the EWG has a list of approved moisturizers with SPF that might be helpful.

But I have to say that any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, and if you can find one you like that’s not harmful to your skin, even better!

I need your recommendations on winter skin survival. My skin gets super dry and so far only a few options of cream can deal with it, the best by far has been from Nuxe.

I also have really dry skin that only gets worse in winter, especially in Finland. For me, there are a couple pharmacy products that always help. The first is Aqualan Plus Moisturizing Cream. It works, but has some problematic ingredients like Steareth-20 (low toxicity), Phenoxyethanol (not recommended for breast feeding mothers) and then Beeswax if you’re vegan.

I’ve also used Bepanthen for concentrated areas like my lips or patches of dry skin, but it does contain Petrolatum (non-toxic when properly refined, which it should be for products made and sold in the EU), liquid paraffin (another mineral oil) and non-vegan Lanolin.

My favorite natural lotion at the moment is the Nokkonen Daily Defence Moisturizer. I did a review on it a while back and I’m still using and loving it. And instead of Bepanthen I’ve been using organic shea butter for problem areas. Right now I’m using this one from Natural Goods Company. 

To keep your face moisturized throughout the winter I’d recommend incorporating oils, serums, and lots and lots of toner into your skincare ritual. So far, the most moisturizing technique I’ve tried has been the 7 skin method. Some specific brands that I can personally recommend are Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, Madara’s Pihlaja Glow Boost Drops and Whamisa’s Deep Rich Toner.

I know it sounds scary to put oil on your face and leave it there, especially if you’re prone to breakouts, but if used correctly facial oils and layered toner can be your best skin friends.

Have you heard of many good organic Russian brands?

The only brand I’ve really tried and tested thoroughly is of course Natura Siberica. I first tried their products back in 2011-2012 when they started selling in Russia. I do like their products for the price to quality ratio, but it’s not one of my “top shelf” brands. My favorite thing I’ve tried of theirs so far has been the Arctic Rose hair care line that was actually made for their Copenhagen store. I would buy that again.

I’ve also tried a couple products from Chistaya Liniya and Planeta Organica but can’t say that they really made an impression on me in any significant way. A lot of the most popular organic beauty brands right now are coming out of Latvia, like Mádara and Mossa.

Have you found an organic product for cuts and bruises?

I recently had an accident in the kitchen in which I cut my foot open pretty badly and had to get stitches, so this is a very topical question. To be honest, I don’t put anything on minor scrapes and cuts, I just rinse with water and let my body kind of deal with it. For bigger wounds, I wash with mild soap and water and re-bandage daily, letting the wound breathe at night.

To speed up the healing and prevent scarring, I would use a cream or spray with Calendula in it like this one from Neal’s Yard Remedies or this oil from Meditao.

Have you noticed a big difference in your skin after using the organic products in comparison to non-organic?

This question is going to get the most long-winded response, because I have a lot of different feelings and experiences with both organic and non-organic beauty products.

First of all, I’m not strict with myself or others in using only the very most natural and organic products. I’m not 100% vegan (in ANY sense of the word) or organic. I do, however, try to make conscious decisions about the products I use and buy by several metrics. It’s important to me that the products I use are cruelty-free and contain as little toxins as possible. That being said, it’s also important to me that the products I use do what I want them to do. It’s not always easy to find the perfect balance.

I’ve also never had particularly difficult skin on my face. I do have eczema and generally sensitive skin, but it’s not incredibly reactive and I am usually able to use a lot of products that are marketed towards “normal” skin. So I haven’t ever had much of a cosmetic motivation to “fix” my skin, but mostly aim to maintain and prevent future problems.

I think that there is an organic product or remedy out there for every need and for every skin type. So far, my journey has been about finding the right ones for me, my friends and family, and those who have asked me for advice. That way we can be happy about our beauty rituals not only because we see and feel great results but also because they aren’t harming anyone or anything around us.

Yikes…I hope my answers were helpful! I’ll be collecting questions that I think others might be interested in hearing the answers to so that I can do more of these Q&A posts.

So do let me know if there’s anything you’re curious about!


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