Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
Mother Earth Recommended . . .
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What's in your lip care products?

Your lip care products are just as important as your basic skin care needs and what you apply to your lips is even more important. Lip skin is very thin and does not have oil glands therefore, it needs deep moisture and added protection. Your lips can absorb harmful substances because of their thin nature so you must give them the beneficial nutrients they need to keep them healthy and safe.

We have all had our out bout with dry, cracked and chapped lips; cold and sun exposure can aggrivate this and can sometimes be the main cause. You should never lick your lips and this only irritates them and can cause further dryness and cracking. Water helps to moisturize the body from the inside out so be sure you are getting enough daily to also keep your lips hydrated. If you apply sunblock (natural based, see previous blog for more information on this topic) also apply a suncreen to your lips, preferably a natural balm that contains zinc oxide.

If your lips are dry and cracked all the time, whether you have been in or out of the sun, they your system may be low on B Vitamins. B Vitamins are essential for good skin and lip health. Ty eating B vitamin rich foods to give your system the extra boost or try a daily tea like Oatstraw with other added benefits.

Most lip care products you find in stores are loaded with things that you would never even think are in there like coal tar or synthetically products products made from petroleum or crude oil products! Yikes!! That's like slopping some oil from your car on your lips!!! Most of these products can cause sensitivities in some people and even allergic reactions in chemically sensitive people. Some symptoms of this are headaches, nausea, asthma attacks, sneezing, wheezing, lack of concentration, fatigue, lethargy, nervousness, irritability, confusion and on site swelling. Can't figure out why when you wear your favorite shade of rose that you get a littel edgy, you may possibly have a chemical sensitivity to the artifical colors and products used.

There are many natural brands of lip products out there that have all natural ingredients with no by-products or crude oil. Be careful too with your little ones, some toddlers love lip gloss and enjoy the flavor and may attempt to bite the tube or ingest the product itself - not good if you are using mass market products! It is still not good to let your little one eat the lip balm but if it is natural based you would feel a little better that they were not eating petroleum!!

Here's what your lip products SHOULD contain: Aloe Vera, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Natural Colors (beet powder, beta carotene, iron oxides, grape skin, turmeric, annatto), Peppermint, Shea Butter, Allantoin, Sweet Almond Oil (great for sensitive skin) and Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Vitamin A, Vitamin D.

Here's what your lip products SHOULD NOT contain: Alcohol, Cety, Cetearyl, Behentrimonium, Methosulfate, Lanolin (although naturall derived, this can cause allergic reactions, it is a powerful absorbing agent and can become contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides), Mineral Oil, Petroleum, Petrolatum, Preservatives . . basically anything you cannot pronounce or re-spell if you were asked to do so, these can lead to contact dermatitis.

I have more information on the specific ingredients listed above (good and bad), I just did not want a 5 page blog. If you would like more information, please email me and I will be happy to further educate on the chemcial hazards found in our products.

Hope you enjoyed this "mouthful" and happy puckering!!

Peaceful Blessings!


Label Reading body care products

Do you ever take the time to read labels on your body soaps, lotions, shampoos or really anything you are putting on your skin? Skin is the largest organ and what you are applying topically is being absorbed into your system and is being utilized by other organs.

Reading labels on skin care products is very important, if you read what was really in there you may put it back. If a tomato was labeled with "Formaldehyde", would you buy it? Probably not, so why then do most people disregard what is in their body lotions? Most don't realize or look at foods the same way they do other products when in reality they are one in the same  . . . body products are food for your skin!

I become especially concerned with skin care needs when young girls begin to learn about cosmetics and all those scented body glittler sprays. Did you know that teenage girls can use up to 17 personal care products per day and adult women can use up to 12! That's a lot of snacks for your skin! I stress skin care with young women because most of the ingredients in drug store brands could intefere with proper hormone production and function during an adolescence time of growth. This change in levels could damage the reproductive system, bone growth, immunity issues and the exposure to these toxins long term in young women who begin breast development could increase the risk of cancer as they age.

These ingredients should be avoided so be sure to check your labels - Ammonia, Formaldehyde, Parabens (just look for this work mixed in with any other words you may not be able to pronounce), Peroxide, Phtalates, Sodium Laurel (laureth) Sulfate, Triclosan and Triethenolamine. I state it like this, if you can't pronounce it or try spelling it again, then chances are it's not the best for you. Sometimes companies mask good ingredients with their scientific names but these companies will also put in parenthesis next to the scientific name, the layman name so you know what you are really buying. (i.e.: Avenna sativa - Oat)

The above ingredients could be found in anything from soap, acne washes, shampoo, conditioners, hair spray, facial and body lotions to nail polish!

Try to avoid synthetic preservatives, heavy frangrances and chemicals - look for products containing pure essential oils and natural based butters and ingredients. Also, be aware - just because the front label may read "natural" be sure to actually read the ingredient list! Some companies boast they are natural because they have a few plant based ingredients but read deeper and you may find sodium laurel sulfate in the blend. In addition, avoid harsh exfoliating and tight firming lotions as well as chemical based anti-aging serums - these are loaded with parabens and synthetics unless they are a natural based product.

Did you know that one of the best forms of exfoliating your feet is a walk on the beach? Instead of the heavy pumice based foot cremes, salves and scrubs; if you live near the sea, take a stroll and feel how soft your piggies will be after!

There are many great natural skin products on the Local Harvest site but if you want to explore more and learn about how natural based soaps and lotions are made check out or for info on natural based skin care and products for young adults go to

Any of the skin care remedies I offer like Grandmom's Queens of Hungary's Water, Astringent Herbs, Herbal Pimple Popper, Herbal Facial Steams or Herbal Hair Rinses are all 100% natural and the carriers I use are natural based and work with the body. I never use any chemicals or preservatives only mediums that are from the Earth to be used with gentle healing on various skin concerns. These are all topical and can be used in conjunction with my Liver Detox Tea or Skin Detox Tea for deeper skin conditions. Did you also know that may skin conditions stem from an overtaxed Liver? Read more about this if you view my Liver Detox Tea.

I hope this helps the next time you grab that watermelon scented lotion, it may smell wonderful but are the side effects worth it long term?

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Pampering!



20 Minute or less skin care routine for healthy skin

With the warmer weather upon us and as we grab for the sun block, I am frequently asked what is the best routine I do to keep my skin happy and healthy? There are lots of things especially in our diets to keep our glow about us but if you want to keep your skin looking great try starting a simple cleansing routine every day or night to topically help while you work on the internal side of skin.

I will blog more about "skin internals" at a later time but thought I would share a really quick skin care routine to get you going for the summer months.

20-Minute Skin Care Routine


1.       Cleanse face with gentle cleanser to suit skin type, using a cotton ball or a washcloth.


2.       Steam face with head over bowl of steaming hot water for 2 minutes.


3.       Apply a moisturizing, purifying face mask composed on French green clay.


4.       Bathe or shower with a few drops of relaxing essential oil or invigorating oil in the water. You may also put herbal tea bags like my Puffy Eye Tea, or cucumber or potato slices over your eyes to remove the bagginess around the eyes. I like to put the cucumbers in the freezer for a few minutes to really help with deep opening of the capillaries. Relax totally for 10 minutes.


5.       Pat body dry with thick warm towels. Apply a natural body lotion like cocoa butter all over while skin is still moist. Take special care of feet, knees, elbows, and neck. If you prefer using oils on your skin try coconut, jojoba or almond.


6.       Remove mask with warm water and spray or splash face with mineral water.


7.       Apply an eye-soothing gel or aloe vera (fresh if possible) if you are going out or night eye cream (if you are going to bed) around eyes and on lids.


8.       Apply moisturizer to face if going out, or your favorite night cream/oil if not. My favorite for either day or night use is Camocare light moisturizer.


9.       Apply a natural hand cream and a nail cream around cuticles. I use cocoa butter as a lotion and use Vitamin E oil or almond oil on my cuticles.

Breathe deep, relax and enjoy the aura of your skin, it is the largest organ and needs some forgotten pamerping too!

Peaceful Blessings!


Herbal Hair Rinses

-          Herbal hair rinses help to restore hairs natural luster and beauty. Depending on which variety you choose you can deep clean hair, lighten or darken your original hair color naturally, prevent dandruff or stimulate the scalp to increase growth.

-          Types of rinses:
Chamomile: This will bring our natural blonde highlights in light-colored hair. You can also add natural lemon juice to heighten lightening effects in the sunlight. This is a safe and effective alternative to products like "Sun-In" which can damage hair.
Calendula: This will bring out the auburn and red-highlights of medium colored hair.
Rosemary: This will bring out the warmth, richness and depth of dark colored and silvery hair. Rosemary is also been known to stimulate the scalp, prevent hair loss and help to regrow hair.
Nettle: This will help prevent and treat dandruff and stimulate circulation in the scalp. Excellent for use during winter.

-          Administration: Simply add a tea bag to large mouth glass jar and fill with boiling water and cover. Allow the herbs to steep for about 30 minutes. Apply the rinse after shampooing, rub into the scalp and leave the rinse on. Your hair will be smooth and soft, blow-dry and style as normal. Each tea bag is good for one use. You can find these herbal haor rinses at my store on Local Harvest.


-          Healthy Hair Tips


-          Good hygiene is important for healthy hair. This includes brushing the hair properly and washing it with a mild shampoo. Good nutrition (a well - balanced diet of fresh foods and lots of water) not only helps one to have beautiful - looking hair but also improves it's texture. Wash your hair daily or every other day. The extra circulation provided by the shampoo /message stimulates the oil glands to work more efficiently and brings natural oils into the hair. This applies to all types of hair. Use shampoo that is pH balanced and that is designed specially for you hair type (dry, oily, etc.). Ask your hair specialist to assist you in selecting the right shampoo for your hair type. Always rinse with cool (not hot) clean water for extra shine. Allow your hair to air dry naturally whenever possible. Never brush soaking - wet hair, as the hair is quite elastic at this time and can be pulled and stretched to the breaking point. A wide - toothed comb is best for wet hair. Give your hair a good brushing before bed. This should be done by bending forward from the waist, head down, brushing from the back to front. Brush at least fifty to one hundred strokes. This will help remove dirt, pollutants and damaging particles from the hair in addition to stimulate circulation which will increase natural oils for added sheen and oxygen to the hair and scalp. Once a week massage jojoba oil with one to two drops of rosemary oil for dry or oily hair and tea tree for hair that show signs of dandruff into the scalp. Leave on over night, wash out the next day.

-          Dull hair without hair damage in most cases can be the result of a build-up of shampoos, conditions, and hard-water particles. These build-ups can deprive your hair of the bounce and sheen for which you bought the shampoo and conditioner in the first place. Clean your hair thoroughly to rid it of hair - care products and residue. Try a shampoo specially designed to remove build-up, or you can use a solution of plain apple-cider vinegar and water. This procedure will restore the acid mantle, which is essential to a healthy scalp and clean, shiny hair. Rinsing your hair after shampooing with the apple-cider solution of apple-cider vinegar and water (half and half mixture), massage in well, then raise out. Now apply your conditioner. This should be done every two weeks. This is very important if you wash your hair consistently with hard water, which has more metal ions. When combined with soaps, these metal ions leave a residue that when left on your hair will make it dull and dry.

-          The problem with lack of body in your hair is that it leads to three other problems: less elasticity, less flexibility, and less strength. Look carefully at your hair. Does it look limp and flat shortly after you've washed and groomed it? Hairspray can weight it down and make it look flat and limp so use very little. If you use a commercial conditioner that contains a fabric softener such as stear-alkonium chloride or some other quaternary ammonium compound, it will make the hair look flat and limp. It will destroy the body your hair naturally has. Choose a shampoo and conditioner that has a pH of 4.5 to 5.5, that is natural and contains protein. Use a protein pack that contains horsetail and/or sage once a week, or you can add four to five drops of sage to a protein treatment pack.

-          Falling Out and Thinning Hair : Avoid using stiff nylon brushes, rollers, pony-tails, and other hairstyles that put great pressure on the hair. Avoid rough scalp massages and towel dying, perming and hot blow drying (these weaken the hair shaft even more). Let hair dry as naturally as possible or if you must blow dry, use low to medium heat only. Hold the blower at least 6 inches from your scalp. Use a de-tangle and a wide-tooth comb to untangle the hair. Minimize use of a brush on wet hair. Do not wear hats or wigs on a regular continued basis. Hats and wigs can cut off circulation and oxygen, causing possible further hair loss. Lightly massage your scalp with the tips of your fingers, always using a circular movement for five minutes when shampooing. This is good for blood nourishment to the scalp. After shampooing, rub a few drops of a blend of essential oils such as tea tree, jojoba oil, and rosemary into your hair and scalp and message in; do not rinse out unless your hair is oily.

-          Dry and Brittle Hair: A through brushing of the hair using a slow, gentle, even strokes to minimize pressure on the split ends every day keeps it free from unwanted particles and helps to bring the natural oils from the scalp to the hair split ends. This will make your hair less dry and brittle and will help it to look silky and lustrous. Avoid sun damages, chlorinated swimming pools by wearing hats and swimming caps. Avoid shampoos that are extremely alkaline or that contain alcohol. Keep split ends or dead hair cut. In most cases you cannot repair the damage by treating hair from the "outside-in." Hair has to be repaired from the "inside-out." Keeping the hair healthy and free of dead and/or split ends will help new hair grow faster.  Use the jojoba oil and rosemary mixture on your hair once a week. This can be applied overnight (wear a cap or use a old pillow case) or use as a hot oil treatment under the hair drier

-          Dandruff appears in many forms, such as common dandruff, psoriasis, neurodermatitis. Dandruff itches and when scratched falls away easily. Psoriasis is a more difficult disorder where the scales, silver-white in color, cling tenaciously to the scalp. Neurodermatitis is a condition confined to the area at the base of the scalp, characterized by extreme itchiness and common among menopausal and post-menopausal women. Avoid fry foods, animal fats, nuts, avocado and dairy products. Eliminate refined sugars from the diet. Use a gentle shampoo and dilute it before using Commercial anti-dandruff shampoos are too harsh can dry out the hair. Besides these shampoos will only take care of the symptoms not the problem. Use a natural shampoo with tea tree oil, nettle leaf extract and/or rosemary oil. Lightly massage your scalp with the tips of your finger, always using a circular movement for 5 minutes. This is good for blood nourishment to the scalp. Massage a blend of essential oils of jojoba oil, tea tree, nettle and rosemary oil into your scalp with your finger tips for 5 minutes at least once a week and leave in overnight (use a old pillow case) .

-         As with all medications, natural or conventional, please keep out of reach of children and pets. This information is not meant to treat, prevent, cure or diagnose illness and has not been evaluated by the FDA.




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