Best Secret Santa Gifts 2021

17 Mind-Blowingly Good Secret Santa Gifts for 2021

As the holiday season creeps ever closer, it’s time to get ready to wow your friends and coworkers with truly impressive Secret Santa gifts. While that might sound like quite a feat, we’re here to make it easy. All you have to do is use this guide to find the gifts that perfectly match the personality and interests of each person on your list. Ready to get started? Here’s a look at the top Secret Santa gifts for the 2021 holiday season.

1. Multicolor Smart Lamp

Available in the shape of infinity cubes, cats, and everything in between, multicolor smart lamps promise to light up the room in style. With its remote in hand, all it takes is a few clicks of a button to dial in the ideal hue and instantly set the mood.

2. Colorful LED Desk Mat

Colorful LED desk mats brighten up the workspace while making it easier than ever to make broad, dramatic mouse strokes on demand. Upon plugging in the mat by USB, users can flash their favorite colors or even sync its theme to the keyboard and other computer hardware.

3. Comfy Nap Pillow

For people who love naps on the go, there’s perhaps nothing better than a comfy nap pillow. They come in a wide variety of styles, ranging from neck rests and travel pillows to face-down desk pillows and hollow headwraps.

4. Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds

Bluetooth wireless earbuds are all the rage these days and for good reason. They’re highly portable and almost completely hidden, yet don’t compromise much when it comes to sound quality. Plus, with more and more brands coming out with their own versions, they’re affordable, too.

5. Streaming Stick

Upon cutting the cord, many streaming services popped up in place of cable. So, why not save the day and gather them all up in one convenient place by giving a streaming stick to your TV and movie aficionados?

6. Glass Triangular Prism

No matter who you are, you can definitely benefit from having a rainbow on demand. To gift that magic to your coworkers and loved ones, just get them a glass triangular prism. Beautiful all on its own, the prism emits a stunning rainbow of colors when placed in the sunlight.

7. Geode Paperweight

A geode paperweight keeps important documents safely in place while offering a glimpse into the beauty of the Earth. You can get them with a raw edge that shows the crystals in all their glory or go with a smooth, polished geode instead.

8. Air Plant Arrangement

Whether you’re gifting to a green or brown thumb, you cannot go wrong with an air plant arrangement. Available on driftwood displays, in circular wall hangings, or as the final touch in glass-blown jellyfish, these plants just need a spray of water here and there to keep growing strong.

9. Mug Warming Tray

As the days take a frigid turn, hot chocolate, coffee, and tea help warm the soul and soothe the spirit. To keep your loved ones’ warm beverages from growing cold, get them a low-key mug warming tray.

10. Gourmet Local Honey

Gourmet local honey celebrates your community and the Earth’s bounty while giving your giftee a little extra sweetness in their lives. They can use it to dress up their sweet and savory dishes or simply enjoy it all on its own. Just don’t forget the honey dripper.

11. Hot Sauce Gift Set

For friends and coworkers with a love for all things spicy, go with a gourmet hot sauce gift set. You can get a flavor-focused arrangement or go straight for the highest Scoville scale varieties. Not sure which way to go? Try a make-your-own hot sauce kit instead.

12. Mini Waffle Maker

Whether your friends and coworkers love waffles on the go or have jumped on the chaffle craze, a mini waffle maker will win them over in an instant. With this little device in their lives, they can make sweet and savory creations all their own – and even turn refrigerated cinnamon rolls into waffles.

13. Mushroom Growing Kit

If you have avid mushroom hunters in your life, keep the fun going well past the fall season by getting them a mushroom growing kit. These kits come in all the top varieties, including shiitake, golden oyster, and lion’s mane, making it easy to have decadent mushrooms on demand.

14. Cocktail Smoker

With a cocktail smoker on hand, infusing boozy beverages with more than a hint of smoke is a cinch. The smoker sits right on top of the glass, adding plenty of flair to the drink-making experience. As far as gifting goes, it works great as a part of a whole cocktail kit or just on its own.

15. Oversized Blanket Sweatshirt

An oversized blanket sweatshirt takes the coziness of a hoodie to the next level, giving your giftees a way to cuddle up whenever the mood strikes. You can get them in nearly any color and pattern imaginable, including in the image of their favorite characters.

16. Shower Drink Holder

Shower drink holders elevate the showering experience, allowing users to fully wash the day away with ease. Whether tasked with holding a cold brew, orange juice, or something altogether different, the holder keeps the drink out of the splash zone and plenty cold sip after sip.

17. Adopt an Animal Plushie

For the animal lovers in your life, look to zoos and animal conservation programs in your area for a chance to adopt an animal plushie. Just give the donation in your giftee’s name, and then hand over the plushie and donation certificate to complete the gift.

Before you start handing out your Secret Santa gifts, ready yourself to keep mum as the whoops of glee ring out across the room. Your friends and coworkers simply won’t believe their good luck, leaving them reveling in their Secret Santa’s uncanny ability to select the absolute best gifts around.


Be Kind! It’s easy And Rewarding

Simple acts of kindness are almost effortless to accomplish and, yet, can make such an impact. It’s been said (and attributed to Plato) that we should be kind, for “Everyone is fighting a hard battle.” The world is filled with so much uncertainty and cruelty that to extend a hand, flash a sweet smile, or simply ask “How are you?” are truly important actions. What can we do, as ordinary people, to help each other? 

  • Smile: Don’t forget to spread warmth with a smile instead of a grimace. Of course, mask-wearing makes this tricky (for the time being), but smiling eyes are usually noticeable.
  • Open the door for someone.
  • Don’t forget your manners: “Please” and “Thank you” really do go a long way. 
  • When you ask someone how they are doing, take the time to listen. 
  • End a conversation with good wishes.
  • Inquire about those around you and their families; it’s always kind and appreciated when one actually takes the time to ask.

 Affection is something that we, as human beings, all need and crave. Since the pandemic, we’ve all probably felt starved for hugs, but hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to embrace our friends and neighbors again. Also, what about handshakes? A good, firm handshake is something that we all do: whether one is simply saying hello or closing a business deal, “Let’s shake on it” is a time-tested gesture.

  • Greeting with a kiss is, of course, popular in France but is also common in many other European as well as Latin countries. It’s a kind of custom that makes us feel welcomed and accepted.

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” –Mark Twain

  • A kind word or compliment can turn a bad day into a delightful one. Everyone appreciates being told that they look lovely and are enjoyable to be around. It’s been said that women dress not for men, but for other women, so empower your fellow sister and let her know she’s beautiful and that extra five minutes spent primping in front of the mirror will have been worth it.
  • Try to be patient (especially with the elderly and children). We’re all busy but, when shopping, taking a train, or simply walking down the street, make an effort not to rush those doing their best. 
  • Practice proper phone etiquette. Try to minimize public phone use! While in a public space, try to take a call outside as not to bother other people and never use the speaker option. Trust me: no one wants to hear all the details of your private life while waiting in a queue. Don’t forget—while in public—to silence your updates (especially while texting): making everyone endure every ding and chirp your device makes is incredibly gauche. 
  • One of the kindest things we can do is to be aware of our surroundings. If someone is lost, help with directions. If someone is struggling to carry their load (literally), lend a helping hand.


Fall Décor Ideas for Your Home and Office

Warmly Welcome the Fall Season with Stunning Décor  

As the weather takes a turn, there’s perhaps nothing better than enjoying truly cozy digs decorated with all the best fall décor. By infusing the beauty of autumn into your home and office, you can enjoy all the best parts of fall but without the chill factor. Better yet, the fall décor will leave all your guests wholly impressed and feeling cozier than ever at each visit. Ready to get started? Here’s a look at the top autumn décor ideas for 2021 and beyond.

Embrace the Beauty of All the Fall Colors

Fall colors are in full swing, so invite them into your home to create an autumn scene.  Brilliant red, deep orange, rich gold, and bright yellow all set the stage for a beautiful interior design. Don’t forget the dark green and brown hues that complement the brighter tones and help bring everything together. When it comes to color, less is more, so pick your theme and add touches of color where your home needs it most.

Add Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

As your fall colors delight the visual senses, diffusers and candles can add to the warmth with pleasant scents.   Although pumpkin spice is a must, you’ll definitely want to go beyond heavenly cinnamon and nutmeg to keep it fresh all season long. Go with rosemary, vanilla, or cranberry for a nod toward a delicious Thanksgiving feast. Or lean toward pine, spruce, and other tree-derived scents to bring the beautiful forest inside. Whatever you choose, aim to change it up on a daily basis to keep the scents at the forefront of your fall décor.

Roll Out All Your Favorite Gourds

Through all the fall holidays, gourds take center stage and help liven up the festivities. They’re never more colorful and plentiful than in the fall, so embrace their appearance by using gourds in your interior design.

You cannot go wrong with whatever gourds speak to you most. So, pick your favorites and put them on a platter, arrange them around the fireplace, or simply place them right outside your front door. Can’t choose between them all? Go with a pumpkin and gourd wreath (or two!).

Go Big on Dried Flowers and Colorful Leaves

Dried flowers and colorful leaves look absolutely phenomenal together, allowing you to save money on flower arrangements without compromising on your home aesthetics. You can buy the dried flowers outright or head out into the garden to see what’s awaiting your arrival. Hydrangea flowers, for example, dry right on the branch and deepen in color as their leaves start to change as well. Don’t hesitate to add a few bare sticks to the mix to add height and interest to your bouquets.

Highlight It All with Copper and Brass Accents

Copper and brass look simply amazing alongside bright fall colors. To help the metallic tones make a perfect impression, go light on their use. Use a copper tray for your gourd display, for example, or pick a bronze vase for your dried flower arrangements.

If you love pumpkins, then definitely try to find a handblown glass pumpkin donning a bronze-dipped stem. If nothing else, you can use a can of copper spray paint to spice up a real pumpkin for your table centerpiece.

Boost the Cozy Factor with Fuzzy Throws and Pillows

Fall definitely brings the sweater weather, so play that up with plenty of fuzzy throws and pillows. Even when they’re not being used, these soft accents up the cozy factor considerably.

Plus, they’re great to have on hand as you settle down to chat with your friends and family. By helping everyone get comfy, you can keep the conversation going well into the evening and make memories to last a lifetime.

Renew the Focus on the Fireplace

When temperatures start to fall, you’ll undoubtedly wind up in front of the fireplace more often than not. So, take advantage of the natural focus on its warmth by elevating its design.

Add a big statement piece just above the mantle, like a pinecone and leaf wreath, and then put a copper pumpkin right beneath it. You can also go with real sugar pumpkins if you wish. Just be sure to surround it all with your favorite candles and figurines, plus drape an attractive garland along the edges.

With all these fall décor ideas on your side, you’re sure to have a blast decorating your home and office for the season. As you pick between the many decor options, infuse your own personality into the mix to make the space all your own. Once you’re done, invite your friends and family over for a fun game night or simply lounge by the fire solo in total peace and quiet.


Tips For Enjoying A Healthy Halloween

How to Have a Healthy Halloween  

Halloween is typically thought of as a time to fill up with candy and other goodies. While this might seem fun, those sugary foods can increase your risk of health problems, including tooth decay, diabetes, and heart problems. Instead of making this holiday all about sweets, turn it into a healthy one for you and your family. The following tips can help you enjoy a happy and healthy Halloween this year. 

Stay Active

Being physically active is easy to do on Halloween if you’re taking your kids trick or treating. You can make it even more active by walking everywhere rather than driving to different streets or neighborhoods. For a fun challenge, see how many houses you can visit. Just make sure you have good walking shoes on, as well as flashlights for when it gets dark out. Being on your feet on Halloween as much as possible is a great way to get exercise.

Eat Before Halloween Festivities

Whether you’re taking the kids trick or treating or heading to a party for Halloween, eating beforehand can help curb your craving for sweets. Instead of having Halloween candy or other festive goodies, fill up on a healthy meal. Enjoying Halloween festivities with a full stomach means you’ll be less likely to reach for some chocolate or other sugary treats when you’re out.

Make Healthy Holiday Snacks

Having bags of candy or other sweets around can make it tempting to eat them as quick snacks. Consider making fun and healthy holiday snacks to keep around instead. Use carrot sticks, bananas, and other fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible to make these goodies. When you have these nutritious holiday snacks around, you can easily enjoy them as a snack.

Pass Out Healthier Items

If you are giving out treats to kids on Halloween, you don’t have to pass out sugary candy. Healthier options for trick or treaters are available, such as snack-sized bags of popcorn or pretzels, sugar-free gum, and even sugar-free or low-sugar juice boxes. You can also hand out non-food items, such as friendship bracelets, stickers, crayons, or glow sticks. Kids will mostly be getting candy when they go trick or treating, so handing out healthier items at your door helps cut down on the number of sugary treats they end up with.

Watch What You Drink

Having a healthy Halloween doesn’t only mean avoiding sugary foods. You should also make sure you avoid sugary drinks, such as soda. If you’re staying home passing out candy or going to a Halloween festivity, choose a non-sweetened beverage to drink. If you’ll be taking your kids trick or treating, bring bottled water with you for when you get thirsty.

Give Away Leftover Candy

If you have leftover candy from Halloween, you don’t have to make sure you eat it all.  You might be able to give your leftover candy to a dentist in your area. Some dentists will buy back leftover candy from people or do a trade-in program. This helps lower the risk of children getting cavities from eating too many sweets. You can also look online for food banks that accept donations of unopened candy, or for charities that accept them for deployed troops. 

 With these tips, you can have a healthy Halloween without feeling like you’re missing out on the spirit of the holiday.


It’s Always Alright To Say No

You Don’t Have to Do It All: How to Say No and Still Feel Great

If you’re stressed out right now, I hear you. Most of us are feeling overwhelmed these days. The odds are strong that you take on too much at work, either because you want to get ahead or help out your coworkers, or you just feel uncomfortable telling a supervisor that yet another project is more than you can—or should be expected to—handle. 

And then there’s your personal life. I mean, we love our friends and our family, but they ask a lot of our time—not to mention our emotional bandwidth. Relationships take work, and we never want to let anyone down. It’s hard to say no when someone asks for help, or even just wants a piece of your (precious, limited) time to catch up over coffee.

It’s hard to say no, but it’s actually a crucial skill for your mental health. Learning to say no—without feeling bad about it—will give you room to breathe and focus on yourself once in a while. You’ll be able to establish healthy boundaries and provide clarity about what people can expect from you. Best of all, you can say no to others while still maintaining strong relationships. Here’s how.

Take Your Time Answering

One reason it’s hard to say no is because we hate to disappoint people. Saying no directly to someone’s face is difficult. You might be afraid to hurt their feelings or even fear offending them, making you more inclined to consent to their request even when you really don’t want to.

Here’s how I’ve learned to deal with such situations: Starting today, make it your policy not to answer any request for your time in the moment. Instead, say, “I have to check my calendar, but I’ll get back to you.” Then give yourself at least 24 hours to think about your true answer. Calling back or shooting an email with your decision after a day or two will take the sting out of a “no” response, and taking your time will teach people that your time is valuable and that they can’t expect you to drop everything on the spot to help them.

Gauge Your Genuine Interest

Now that you’ve made it a habit to buy some time before answering, you want to use it wisely. So you really should check your calendar to see if you have time to take on a new project or activity. You should also use the time to consider whether saying yes to the request will bring you any joy, or if it’s only likely to be a headache.

Traditional pros and cons list can be helpful, but one magic question can bring a lot of clarity. Ask yourself: “Would I be willing to drop everything and do this if it were happening later today or tomorrow?” We often say yes to things we don’t really want to do because they are farther in the future, and we think there’s a possibility we may be more receptive to them later. But in reality, if you don’t want to do it today or tomorrow, you don’t really want to do it next week or next month, either.

Offer an Alternative

When you’ve decided to decline someone’s request for your time, you can avoid hurting their feelings—or worse, creating tension in your relationship—by suggesting something you can do instead. For example, if your sister asks you for last-minute babysitting for your nephews tonight, you could say something like, “I can’t watch the boys tonight, but I can take them out for ice cream on Saturday.” Your offer may or may not be accepted, but most people will appreciate your helpfulness and realize that you care about them and their needs.

Alternatives don’t have to be similar to the original request, either. If you’re asked to donate money to a cause, you could offer to volunteer your time instead—or vice versa. This is also a useful strategy at work because it helps you be honest about what you can handle and can help you suggest ways your boss can support you in getting the work done. For example, saying something like, “It will be hard for me to get that extra report done by Thursday, but if you could assign your secretary to help, I’m sure I could get it done by Friday morning.”

Stop Feeling Guilty

Saying no takes practice, and you may feel guilty for doing it at first. Fortunately, you can learn to change your thought patterns to stop guilt in its tracks. One trick is to simply say “Stop!” out loud every time you feel guilty about saying no. This is technique used by cognitive-behavioral therapists to interrupt negative thoughts. Once you say no, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s always okay to say no. Eventually, you’ll become more mindful and catch yourself before guilt can take hold.

Remember, it’s always okay to say no to something you can’t or don’t want to do. The more you practice these tips, the more empowered and confident you will feel.


Discover The Value Of Positive Thinking

Staying Positive in a Negative Environment 

The world can be a negative place sometimes. Whether we are stressing over catching a virus, quarantining, homeschooling, financial insecurities, relationships, or just regular day-to-day issues, there’s one commonly perceived thread: that one bad thing will almost certainly lead to another, and what can go wrong will go wrong. This is known as Murphy’s Law, and it’s a misconception.

The truth is, one bad thing does not necessarily lead to another. However, a negative attitude or outlook on life can lead to the creation of all sorts of unnecessary problems. It can cause minor negative situations to appear far worse than they are and could potentially escalate to even further negative situations.  It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Negativity can also impact our general health, how we interact with people around us, and our ongoing well-being. Here are some ways we can try to stay positive, regardless of what life throws at us.


Recognizing and Immediately Addressing Self Negativity

A negative attitude can manifest itself in many ways. We can complain about a person or a situation, for instance. On the other hand, it is also possible to direct negativity at ourselves. Self-negativity is particularly poisonous because it can make us feel inferior or inadequate. Ways to combat self-negativity vary based on the reason for it, but they might include:

  • Coming up with positive mantras
  • Writing down lists of positive attributes.
  • Finding ways to be as productive as possible. (My personal go-to)
  • Working actively to alter traits we want to improve.


Taking Refuge in a Hobby

Taking up a hobby is a great way to relieve stress. It is also an excellent method for passing the time, which is particularly helpful in areas where social distancing and self-isolating are currently considered normal. There are many hobbies to pick from. Some are even productive, such as:

  • Sewing
  • Writing 
  • Woodworking/Carpentry
  • Knitting

Even if a hobby has no practical use, it can help erase negativity. For example, doing a jigsaw puzzle does not necessarily have a point. Yet, it’s a distraction and can be a lot of fun. The more hobbies like that we find to relieve stress in our downtime, the better equipped we are mentally to deal with stressful situations when they pop up.



Exercising is essential for a positive mindset. Multiple studies have proven exercising releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals in our bodies that make us feel better. Exercising is especially great because it also improves our general health. A post-exercise sense of accomplishment can also help drown out feelings of negativity.


Looking Ahead

When we set goals for the future, we have things to look forward to. Therefore, a big part of maintaining positive attitudes is constantly looking ahead for things that motivate and inspire us. It might be a loved one’s wedding, graduation, a birth, lunch with a friend, or even the end of a quarantine situation. Whatever the end goals are, thinking of the pleasure that will ensue when those milestones are reached encourages positive thinking in the present.


The Ultimate Way to Stay Positive

It’s challenging to stay positive 100 percent of the time on our own, especially in a negative environment or in the face of unexpected adversity. The ultimate way to stay positive, or to regain positivity, is to recognize when life is getting us down and to reach out to others for support when we need to. Today’s technology makes this possible, even in times of physical self-isolation. Family members, friends, and mentors are valuable resource who can give us a tremendous boost, no matter what is going on in our personal lives or the world as a whole, and they are just a text or a video call away.


Life Hacks: Getting Motivated And Inspired

Sometimes the best thing we can do to get our ass in gear is to change our attitude. Of course, this is much easier said than done and does not happen overnight; it’s a lifelong journey, but it’s worth it. So, how do we get motivated when lassitude sets in? How do we turn a pessimistic attitude into an optimistic one? If the outlook is bleak, do we simply put on rose-colored glasses and pretend, or can we actually alter our state of mind with positive thinking?

Get Motivated with Positive Thinking

“The Pessimist Sees Difficulty In Every Opportunity. The Optimist Sees Opportunity In Every Difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

  • A positive attitude is much healthier than a negative one. 
  • In order to improve your outlook, think of everything that’s going right in your life, rather than what’s not working out.
  • Make a list of affirmations. 
  • Try to surround yourself with feel-good, intelligent people. The right friends can be the most wonderful sort of inspiration. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Reward yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back when you accomplish a goal!
  • Start the day off right with a healthy breakfast. Make your bed in the morning. These routines will get you moving on a positive path.  


Put in the Work and Reap the Benefits

  • If you work towards your goals, there will be a payoff (maybe not immediately but don’t lose heart). 
  • Try to make progress every day, even if you’re only taking baby steps. Start small.


It’s a Trick Sometimes…

Sometimes you have to trick yourself into feeling optimistic when things get stressful. In order to de-stress and get motivated, try these helpful tips:

  • Treat yourself to something you want but do not necessarily need.
  • Have a drink (or two).
  • CBD oils: tinctures or topical creams are wonderful for soothing minor aches and pains.
  • Exercise, stretching, breathing: start the day with a good stretch; limber up your body and mind.
  • Talk therapy: phone a friend. 
  • A big cup of coffee: what would we do without caffeine in the morning?
  • Go to your happy place…(and this means doing whatever you have to do to feel good). Practice self-care: Listen to your favorite music, shampoo your hair, mist on some perfume, accept affection from those near and dear…do something that brings about a simulacrum of happiness, and then think about the things you want and need to do. Then make a list. Realize that you live your life one day at a time and, every day, attempt something on your list. Keep track of your progress. Take things as they come and try not to sweat the small, insignificant stuff. I know it’s a cliché, but it can be a lifesaver, too. 


Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare

12 Cosmetic Ingredients You Should Avoid  

If you’re like most cosmetics and skincare consumers, you appreciate products crafted using naturally derived ingredients. In addition, you search for products created by companies with no animal testing policies and an overall eco-friendly narrative. However, it is sometimes tough to wade through the hype concerning what’s healthy and what isn’t. So we’ve compiled a reference list that we’re calling The Dirty Dozen. This list includes the 12 ingredients used in cosmetics most likely to produce toxic reactions. At Nabila K, we only use products that don’t contain any of these ingredients.

Top Toxic Ingredients in Skincare Products

1. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

Primarily used as preservatives in cosmetics such as lipsticks and moisturizing creams and lotions as well as certain types of food, BHA and BHT are both known to cause contact dermatitis. BHA has been listed as a possible carcinogen, and studies performed on lab mice and rats show that high doses cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and thyroid. 

2. Coal Tar Dyes (p-phenylenediamine and colors listed as “CI” followed by a five-digit number)

Coal tar dyes provide artificial coloring for a variety of cosmetic products. Lab tests performed by the U.S. National Cancer Institute indicate that coal tar dyes may cause tumors. They also may be contaminated with heavy metals and aluminum compounds.

Top Toxic Ingredients in Bath and Body Products

3. DEA-Related Ingredients

DEA is used in cosmetics such as soaps, lotions, shampoos, and conditions to create structure and texture, such as making products sudsy or creamy. Along with causing skin and eye irritation, DEA and its compounds have been shown to cause precancerous conditions in the skin as well as cause liver cancer.

4. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)

Primarily used in nail color products as a solvent in dyes, DBP is also used in many fragrance products. However, consumers won’t see it listed as an ingredient on the labels of these products because fragrance ingredients are considered trade secrets, and as such, they don’t require disclosure. DBP is absorbed through the skin and has been shown to interfere with hormone function and lead to developmental defects. The European Union classifies DBPs as toxic to aquatic organisms.

5. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

Utilized in a wide range of cosmetic products, formaldehyde-releasing agents cause off-gassing that is then inhaled, to the possible detriment of the health of those in the vicinity. Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Top Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics

6. Parabens

As the most widely used preservative in cosmetics, it’s been estimated that as much as 90% of grooming products contain parabens. Although most products only contain very low levels, parabens are also used in fragrances, and like DBPs, they aren’t listed on labels because fragrance ingredients are considered trade secrets. It is very easy for parabens to penetrate the skin, and evidence indicates that they may interfere with hormonal functioning.

7. Parfum (aka fragrance)

Fragrance or perfume is used in nearly all cosmetics and involves thousands of different chemicals. Many of the commonly found ingredients are known to cause allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis, sneezing, itchy eyes, and an itchy and/or runny nose. In some people, various fragrance ingredients can trigger migraines. In some cases, even products that are supposed to be fragrance-free may contain some scent-masking ingredients.

8. PEG Compounds

Commonly used in cosmetics as texturizers, solvents, thickeners, and softeners, PEG compounds have been found to cause irritation, especially when applied directly to broken or damaged skin. These compounds also increase the general permeability of the skin’s upper layers, making it easier for tissues to absorb harmful ingredients.

Top Toxic Ingredients in Hair Care

9. Petrolatum

Otherwise known as petroleum jelly, petrolatum is typically added to products such as moisturizers and hair conditioners. Petroleum can become contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which have been known to cause cancer. Petroleum is classifieds as a carcinogen by the European Union.

10. Siloxanes

Silicone-based compounds have a range of cosmetic uses. For instance, they’re used in hair care products to smooth and soften, in moisturizers to help the skin tissues retain water, and in deodorants to help the product glide onto the skin easily. However, Canadian research reveals that these compounds may be toxic to aquatic life and that they have the potential to interfere with the functioning of human hormones.

Toxic Ingredients in Bathing Products

11. Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Used to create foaming and bubbling in soaps, body washes, shampoos, and facial cleansers, these compounds contain known the human carcinogen ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide has the potential to harm the nervous system and irritate the eyes and skin.

12. Triclosan

Used primarily in hand sanitizers, deodorants, and skin cleansers as an antibacterial agent and preservative, triclosan has been associated with hormonal dysfunction in humans and has been found to be very toxic to marine life. There is also evidence that the extensive use of triclosan in cosmetics contributes to the increase in antibiotic-resistant organisms.

So, what can you do if you want a non-toxic product? Simply do some research, read the labels, and then curate companies whose products you trust. We have always made it our goal to only produce products we’d be happy recommending to our own family and friends. You deserve the same treatment, and it is time we all demanded it from our manufacturers.


Find Go-To Skincare Products

Five Products I Always Repurchase

Skin is amazing. It is the only organ on the outside of the body. Every day it is exposed to everything the world can throw at it. Some of the things my skin has had to endure over the years have included weather, chemicals, dirt, and internal issues like illnesses. It’s no wonder my skin hasn’t always looked its best. I have had to rely on skincare products to help me keep it healthy, but that is sometimes easier said than done.

Finding and maintaining a good skincare regimen is something we all struggle with. I certainly have. That’s why I always repurchase the products that consistently work for me once I find them. My go-to staples of skincare help me lay a foundation for skin health all year long, no matter what situations I subject my skin to. Here are five products I always repurchase because I know they’ll help me keep my skin clean, bright, and healthy.


Glycerin Soaps

Everyone buys soap, but the specific type of soap I buy makes all the difference for my skin. Most regular soaps only serve to dry my skin, especially during cooler months. Even in the summer, my skin can use all the added moisture and soothing action it can get. For that, I always turn to glycerin soap. Glycerin soap has many benefits, such as:

  • Soothing Inflamed Skin
  • Healing Cracks and Rough Areas
  • Healing Wounds, Such as Those Caused by Acne
  • Providing Antibacterial Protection

I always recommend glycerin soap due to the versatility it offers as well. It can treat many different skin types from dry to oily. When my skin condition changes with the seasons, my favorite glycerin soaps still keep nourishing and protecting it. Even with sensitive skin, I am never disappointed by a glycerin-based soap.



Moisturizers are not the only products I like. I actually rely on them. A good moisturizer is the foundation of any successful skincare routine. The tough part was finding moisturizers that work for me. Most experts agree that a moisturizer is only as good as the skin type to which it is applied. For example, experts at the Mayo Clinic say dry skin responds best to an oil-based moisturizer. Water-based moisturizer is better at moisturizing normal skin. 


Another feature of moisturizer that caused me to experiment with it a lot is it is everywhere. It is built into so many different beauty products that choosing one is impossible. For example, I love using day cream with moisturizing properties, but I also regularly purchase moisturizing night cream. I finally realized using multiple moisturizing products consistently was the key. In fact, I now pack my skincare routine with them.


Facial Cleansers

I absolutely must have a facial cleanser in my skincare arsenal at all times. Like day and night creams, facial cleanser is a moisturizing product, but a well-formulated cleanser also

provides many other benefits. The best cleansers help maintain my skin by:

  • Removing Pollutants and Dirt
  • Hydrating My Skin
  • Removing Dead Skin Cells
  • Giving My Skin a Revitalized Glow

The trick is not every facial cleanser is the same. I always look for all-natural facial cleansers. They must contain the ingredients I need, such as collagen to restore my skin cells. My top facial cleansers also contain healing and protective vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and vitamin A. I also gravitate toward facial cleansers with soothing, light scents that can relax me on stressful days.


Facial Masks 

I am constantly purchasing facial masks because applying them is soothing and relaxing at the time, and their long-term benefits are excellent. A regular face mask regimen can treat anything from fine lines to acne, according to the Cleveland Clinic and other experts. However, I discovered that choosing the right types of masks was essential for my skincare success. I learned to avoid masks that contain any of the following:

  • Parabens.
  • Excessive Dyes.
  • Harsh Chemicals.
  • Allergens.

All-natural masks are always the most soothing, and they offer the best long-term results. Activated charcoal masks are great for skin detoxification. I have also found organic matcha masks work wonders for my skin. They even reduce eye puffiness and under-eye circles.


Lip Balms

I have discovered one of the biggest secrets to skincare success is remembering to care for all of my skin. It is fine to use hand lotion or face masks consistently, but neglecting other areas can lead to irreversible damage. One of the areas that tend to get neglected the most is the mouth. There is nothing more mismatched than a glowing complexion paired with dry, cracked, damaged lips. That is why I never go anywhere without lip balm in my purse. 

Organic herbal lip balm is one of my go-to choices. Lip balm with a beeswax base is smooth, soothing, and locks in moisture. I always look for organic lip balms that contain other ingredients known for their healing properties as well, such as Shea butter. 


Fortifying My Favorite Skincare Products

Purchasing the products above and using them all the time has helped me obtain and maintain healthy skin. However, I also go out of my way to set my favorite products up for success by protecting my skin from the sun. In fact, I seek out products like lip balm that has sunscreen in them. That way I can never forget to apply sunscreen, even on the busiest day. And, of course, the best way to boost your beauty product bottom line is to live a healthy lifestyle. 


Best Skincare Practices for Autumn

Fall Skincare 101

You might have been using the same skincare routine all summer long in order to deal with the effects of hot temperatures and humid air. The changing season means it’s time to switch up your skincare routine to protect your skin from the effects of autumn weather. Cooler temperatures and less outdoor humidity during fall can affect your skin. The following tips can help you adjust your skincare routine as needed. 


Choose a Gentle Cleanser

Summer skincare products are often made to prevent oily skin from causing breakouts and other skin problems. However, skin tends to be less oily as outdoor temperatures and humidity become lower. If you’ve been using deep-cleaning foaming or gel cleansers for oily skin, switch to one that is gentler on your skin. Cream-based cleansers or cleansers that don’t contain sulfates are usually gentle enough to use on less oily skin during fall.


Switch to a Stronger Moisturizer

During summer, lighter moisturizers often work well enough to keep skin hydrated, especially for those with oily skin. As the air becomes dryer and less humid in autumn, though, you might need a stronger moisturizer to make sure your skin stays hydrated. Without enough moisturizer, your skin can easily become dry and irritated during fall. Lotion moisturizers rather than gel moisturizers, for example, should provide better hydration in cooler weather. Apply your moisturizer once in the morning and again in the evening or more often if needed.


Increase Hydration

With autumn bringing lower humidity and dryer air, it’s important to make sure you keep your skin hydrated. Applying toner as part of your daily skincare routine in the fall can help increase hydration. When choosing a toner for autumn, look for one that does not contain alcohol, since this can dry out your skin. Apply toner to your skin after you cleanse it, then add moisturizer to maintain hydration throughout the day. Keeping your skin hydrated during fall helps reduce your risk of dry, flaky skin and other skin problems.


Use SPF Products

Don’t put away your skincare products that contain SPF yet. Your skin still needs protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays during autumn just as it did in summer. When you’re going to be outside this season, apply sunscreen and skincare products with SPF, such as lip balm, before heading out the door. Keep in mind that you should apply sunscreen and other SPF products every couple of hours as long as you’re outside. This helps protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, which can cause sunburns, skin cancer, and other kinds of skin damage.


Exfoliate Your Skin

If you cut back on exfoliating during summer due to higher sensitivity in summer, it’s time to add it into your skincare routine again. During autumn, you should exfoliate to remove damaged or dead skin cells and keep your skin looking healthy rather than dull. Exfoliating also helps lower your risk of breakouts by preventing oil from clogging your pores. You should avoid exfoliating too much, though, since this can irritate your skin. If you’ve been exfoliating a couple of times a week in summer, try exfoliating once a week or less often during autumn.


Use a Different Face Mask

If you use a face mask as part of your skincare routine during summer, consider changing the kind you use in autumn. Instead of using gel masks, for example, switch to cream masks to relieve and prevent dryness. Gel masks and other water-based face masks typically work better in summer for those with oily skin. Cream face masks provide plenty of hydration in fall for healthier skin.


Protect Your Lips and Eyes

Your lips and the skin around your eyes might have a harder time adjusting to the change in humidity levels, so it’s important to protect these areas. Use to keep your lips hydrated as the weather gets cooler. You should also use eye creams to boost hydration in these sensitive areas as the air becomes dryer. Apply these lip and eye products on a regular basis during autumn as part of your skincare regimen.

These autumn skincare tips can help your skin look radiant all season long. Making changes to your skincare routine during fall also helps prepare your skin for the upcoming winter months, when the air is even colder and dryer.

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