At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be. Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story, featuring Flaxseed Oil, is part of an ongoing series featuring the natural, plant-based ingredients behind our high performance beauty products.
Flaxseed oil (Linum Usitatissmum) is as versatile as it is healing. It is used for a multitude of purposes and has a long history as a health and wellness supplement. The flax plant has been cultivated for nearly 30,000 years, with its more widespread cultivation recognized about 5,000 years ago. Though it has achieved fame as a superfood to add to your daily meals, flaxseed oil also boasts many benefits as a skincare ingredient. Look for it as a pure oil, which is perfect for a soothing massage, or in personal products like shampoo and body wash.
The Science and Extraction of Flaxseed
Flaxseed oil is rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which is important for your physical health, as well as for your skin and hair. The main reason why flaxseed oil is so extensively used is its potent level of powerful omega-3 fatty acids. The primary omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseeds is alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which has metabolic benefits. Another component of flaxseeds is fiber-like compounds called lignans. Lignans are polyphenols, which are micronutrients with antioxidant properties.
The flax plant itself is tall and leafy with pale blue flowers and is grown in temperate climates in cool weather. One of the oldest cultivated crops, it’s grown for both its fiber and its seed, though the seed is where the rich oil is extracted from. From the flaxseeds, flaxseed oil is extracted through a cold press process. This is important to note, because very high temperatures can cause the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds to deteriorate.
Flaxseed Oil's Benefits for Skin and Hair Care
Because of flaxseed oil’s high omega-3 fatty acid levels, the oil is an ideal ingredient in hair and skincare products. The omega-3 fatty acids nourish hair follicles, contributing to hair growth and strength. It doesn’t hurt that another benefit of omega-3 fatty acids is the sleek, shiny quality they give to hair. Flaxseed oil also seals in and maintains moisture levels in the hair and in the skin, combating dryness and brittleness. It’s a soothing, nourishing oil, which is always important, but becomes crucial as the physical changes of pregnancy and nursing can lead to stressed skin and hair.
The Many Other Uses of Flax
Flax is a surprisingly multi-purpose crop, and the oil from flaxseed is used for many purposes, beyond hair and skincare. Flaxseed oil is used to treat a spectrum of ailments, and in preventative care. The oil can be ingested on its own, found in capsules, used in recipes, and of course, blended into topical care items. Flaxseed oil is commonly taken to maintain heart health and support brain health. Additionally, the fiber in flaxseed oil makes it helpful for digestion. The ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and lignans are useful in combating inflammation. However, flaxseed oil, unlike other seed oils like sunflower or sesame seed oil, should not be used in high-heat cooking. Fortunately, there are more than enough other uses for the hearty oil.
Why Nine Naturals Loves Flaxseed Oil
With the myriad benefits of flaxseed oil, we can’t help but make it a staple component in our product lineup. Most importantly to us, flaxseed oil is safe and gentle, and we’re proud to use it as a Nine Naturals ingredient. Additionally, its therapeutic effects on skin and hair is transformative. Find flaxseed oil in all of our shampoos and conditioners for pregnancy and nursing-safe hair care that will leave your hair nourished and revitalized. We also blend flaxseed oil into our Citrus & Geranium Soothing Body Wash.
At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be. Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story, featuring Aloe Leaf Extract, is part of an ongoing series featuring the natural, plant-based ingredients behind our high performance beauty products.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Aloe), is best known for its use as a topical treatment, but its healing powers go far beyond its popular role as a medicinal ointment. With its cactus-like spikes, the aloe plant may look fierce, but the gel found on the inside is gentle and revitalizing. Aloe extract boasts a long history as a multipurpose remedy, as far back as 2000 BC Mesopotamia. Aloe is commonly used worldwide and across cultures, with roots that trace back to ancient times. Legend has it that Cleopatra fondly used aloe leaf extract to keep her skin smooth and soft.
The Aloe Plant
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract comes from the green leaves of the aloe plant. The genus of aloe contains approximately 500 plants, and “true aloe,” or aloe vera, is the most well-known and cultivated. The succulent plant is often grown ornamentally, but many keep aloe plants for their verdant beauty as well as their at-home healing properties. Aloe leaf extract is a breeze to remove from the plant. Simply clip one of its leaves and gently squeeze out the gel. Aloe leaves grow from the inside, creating a layered effect. When clipping, choose the leaves on the very outside of the plant to harvest, as these are the most mature. The gel can be applied to the skin, straight from the frond. If your hectic mother-to-be schedule keeps you up and running, you can also save gel from an aloe plant for future use in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature, or slightly cooler.
The Science of Aloe Leaf Extract
Aloe Leaf Extract consists primary of water - in fact, 99% water. But the other 1% is where the powerhouse healing properties reside. The transparent gel is made up of many active components, including necessary vitamins, minerals, sugars, enzymes, lignins, amino acids, anthraquinones, saponins, fatty acids, and salicylic acid. All of these components work to make aloe a highly restorative extract, with each ingredient performing different functions. For example, glycoproteins speed the healing process by stopping pain. Polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair. Amino acids and uronic acids detox cells. Fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Aloe leaf extract has many uses for personal care.
Aloe Leaf Extract’s Benefits for Skin and Hair Care
For mild burns and abrasions, aloe leaf extract is one the most-used natural remedies. But, the gel has so many other benefits beyond the healing variety. Aloe contains aloin, which can help protect skin from UV damage. It’s extensive array of vitamins - including A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, E, choline and folic acid - rejuvenates aged tissue, purifies pores, and promotes healthy skin. Aloe gel also acts as a moisturizing agent, restoring suppleness to the skin. With an ever-changing pregnant body, retaining moisture and elasticity is key, and aloe leaf extract will help your skin feeling soft and smooth. Aloe leaf extract can also be used directly on the skin as a shave gel or a makeup remover.
Why Nine Naturals Loves Aloe Leaf Extract
Pregnancy is a time when we moms-to-be need all the self-care we can get, which is why we love using the ultra-soothing aloe leaf extract in our products. What better way to find calm than a peaceful bump massage with our Vanilla & Geranium Replenishing Belly Butter, with aloe leaf extract? While these luxurious moments of tranquility are imperative while you’re expecting, aloe’s comforting properties can relax and restore us in our every-day routines too, with our Citrus & Mint Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner, and Citrus & Geranium Body Wash.
At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be. Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story, featuring Grapeseed Oil, is part of an ongoing series featuring the natural, plant-based ingredients behind our high performance beauty products.
Vitis Vinifera, also known as the common grape vine, is successfully grown in various climates around the world, including the U.S., France, and South Africa. Grapes, which are the largest fruit crop on the planet, have a powerhouse oil within their seeds that is revealed as a byproduct in the wine-making process. While it can be used in food preparation (as a cooking oil or salad dressing base), grapeseed oil can be directly applied to the skin to treat acne, scars, and wrinkles.
The Science and Extraction of Grapeseed Oil
Extracting oil from the diminutive seed is both a time consuming and time sensitive process. To ensure the highest quality (and taste, if being consumed), grapeseed oil must be produced within 48 hours of the grapes removal from the vine, so as to avoid the commencement of the fermentation process. To yield grapeseed oil, the grape seeds are separated from the stems and skins of the grapes and then mechanically processed through a machine (expeller press) where high pressure is applied to release the liquid treasure. Grapeseed oil, which has risen in popularity since the 1990s, contains four fatty acids—linoleic (70.6%), oleic (16.2%), palmitic (7.2%), and stearic (4.4%)—in addition to vitamins C, E, and D.
Grapeseed Oil’s Benefits for Skin and Hair Care
Grape seed oil is non-comedogenic, non-greasy, and easily absorbed, making it a suitable moisturizer for all skin types and ages. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and astringent properties, grapeseed oil attacks acne and residual scarring to leave your skin brightened and more balanced. Additionally, because it contains more linoleic acid than any other carrier oil, continued usage of grape seed oil will result in the restoration of firmness to your skin, thus reducing the look of fine lines.
When massaged into the scalp, or applied as a hot oil treatment (either on its own or combined with other oils), grape seed oil can strengthen your locks and encourage new hair growth.
Why Nine Naturals Loves Grape Seed Oil
- Benefits of Plant-Based Oils
- 5 Beauty Ingredients to Use During Pregnanc
- 9 Tips For A Naturally Beautiful Pregnancy: Tips From Our Founder
Why to indulge (or steer clear) of this wellness trend during pregnancy.
We’ve been hearing the buzz about activated charcoal for a little while now, but what about activated charcoal for pregnancy? While we’re excited about the prospects of this cutting-edge wellness trend — cleansing, toxin-removing, complexion-improving and more — when it comes to pregnancy, it’s not always best to be on the cutting edge.
“There are very few studies investigating the safety of charcoal use in pregnancy, and it hasn’t been assigned a FDA pregnancy category for safety,” says Cara Dolin, MD, OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow at NYU Langone Medical Center. (Activated charcoal is basically common charcoal that’s been heated to help develop internal spaces to trap chemicals.)
But she continues, “Since charcoal isn’t systemically absorbed it probably doesn’t result in any significant exposure or harm to your baby if you eat or drink it. There is even less potential exposure if you use it in cosmetics or toothpaste.”
Below, we dig into the safety and effectiveness of activated charcoal for pregnancy, both on and in your body. And as with any health or wellness trend, talk to your doctor or midwife before giving it a try.
Product to Try: Dirty Lemon Raw Detox, which is made from a mixture of activated charcoal, pure, cold-pressed lemon juice, dandelion extract, ginger root extract, and filtered water. $65/1 weeks’ worth of juice.
What it does: Absorb and soak up toxins and other materials and pull them out through the digestive tract. The ginger and dandelion root can help with morning sickness or nausea, too.
What the experts say: “The source of the activated charcoal (in Dirty Lemon) is organic coconut shell, so you can feel safe and comfortable with its sourcing; along with the raw, cold pressed organic lemon juice,” says Dr. Laurie Brodsky, Naturopathic Doctor and expert for Dirty Lemon. “As with any cold pressed, unpasteurized juice, it is wise to be aware of the theoretical risks while pregnant, considering a weakened immune system against all kinds of foreign invaders. That being said, the dosage of charcoal is very low, yet highly therapeutic in the sense that in small, spread out dosages, you will still greatly benefit from its powerfully absorbing and cleansing mode of action.”
How to use it: “If pregnant and planning to use it as a simple, cleansing part of your routine, then it is best to drink it in small dosages (through a straw!) throughout the day to see how you feel. I usually recommend sipping the juice away from food, medications and supplements by at least a couple of hours, but depending on your diet and how often you eat/snack, that may vary,” says Brodsky. “As with all pregnancies, I suggest that you tune into your body to see how you feel physically upon sipping.”
Verdict: Sure, but with caution. Since charcoal binds to other substances in your stomach, it will decrease the absorption of your prenatal vitamin (or anything you eat around the time you take it), notes our OBGYN friend Dolin. Also, look out for unpleasant side effects, she says, such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation and even possible bowel obstruction.
Product to Try: Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal Capsules, $6.99
What it does: While activated charcoal won’t change the natural color of your teeth, it is said to help remove surface stains from coffee, tea, wine and even plaque. The fine powder is odorless, tasteless and safe to ingest.
How to use it: Pick up some activated charcoal tablets, then break them into a cup. Mix with a tiny bit of water to form a paste-like consistency. Dab it on your teeth then wait a few minutes and rinse. But don’t scrub!
What the experts say: “People don’t know how abrasive this stuff is and that it causes damage to the enamel if you brush with it. And there’s not enough information out there that convinces me that this really works. I haven’t seen anyone with major staining try it. I personally wouldn’t use it,” says Melissa Labbe, a registered dental hygienist at the Dr. Louis Spiegelman dental practice in New York. When it comes to pregnancy, she continues, “activated charcoal can have side effects when not used properly if ingested. Why take that chance of having problems during your pregnancy?”
Verdict: Probably not. The American Dental Association has not approved it as an official tooth whitener, and the effects are still iffy. Why bother?
Product to Try: SoapBox Elements Black Body Wash, which is made from activated charcoal, coconut oil, olive oil, aloe, and essential oils $8.99
What it does: In this body wash, activated charcoal serves as a super-porous element that attracts toxins and purifies skin. Activated charcoal has been known to improve complexion and clear up acne, issues that can plague pregnancy skin.
What the experts say: “Activated Charcoal absorbs toxins and draws it out of your skin,” Ildi Pekar, facialist to lovely ladies like Miranda Kerr and supermodel Irina Shayk. “This, in turn, helps it to heal.”
How to use it: Scrub yourself down in the shower. Go ahead, give your belly a little extra massage. You deserve it.
This article is by Jessica Pallay, courtesy of Well Rounded NY. Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.
RELATED POSTSNine Ways To Reduce Your Chemical Exposure During Pregnancy
Minimizing Toxins While Breastfeeding
Top Places Lurking With Unexpected Toxins
At Nine Naturals, we’re on a mission to make beauty simple, smart and safe for moms and moms-to-be. Integral to that is understanding our ingredients’ science and benefits. Today’s Nine Naturals Ingredient Story, featuring Tamanu Oil, is part of an ongoing series featuring the natural, plant-based ingredients behind our high-performance beauty products.
Extracted from the nut of the Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) tree—deemed sacred by Polynesian natives—tamanu oil helps to heal wounds and promote the generation of new tissue—a process known as cicatrization. Predominantly used to naturally combat skincare issues, including acne, anti-aging and scaring, tamanu oil is also considered a powerful first aid remedy for use on burns, cuts, insect bites, and blisters.
The Science and Extraction of Tamanu Oil
Cold pressed from the sun-dried nut of the yellow-skinned fruit of the Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) tree, which is indigenous to Southeast Asia—but profuse in East Africa, South India, Sri Lanka, and the Melanesian and Polynesian islands—this dark green, fragrant oil is unrefined and rich. Tamanu oil has been researched since the early 1900s for its many skin benefits. It contains many lipids and fatty acids, that are also found in the protective cell membrane and the intercellular matrix that holds layers of skin cells together. The three most abundant fatty acids in tamanu oil have unique, beneficial properties. Linoleic acid is quick-drying and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Oleic acid is rich, locking in extra moisture. Stearic acid helps water and oil mix to prevent all the many fatty acids in Tamanu oil from separating, create a smoother application without the need to shake.
Tamanu Oil’s Benefits for Skin and Hair Care
Tamanu oil has a high capacity for absorption, making it an ideal skin and hair conditioner. Cold weather, indoor forced heat, and an ever-growing bump can leave your skin itchy and flaky, so rub pure tamanu oil—or a natural product that features the oil—into your epidermis to calm the irritation. To remedy damaged hair and promote healthy hair growth, apply tamanu oil to your roots before bedtime to allow the fatty-acid laden natural elixir to deeply penetrate each follicle down to the hair bulb, and then simply cleanse in the morning with a gentle shampoo.
Why Nine Naturals Loves Tamanu Seed Oil
Tamanu oil’s moisturizing and healing properties make it a star ingredient in our skincare line. Reap its full range of benefits in our luxurious Natural Belly Oil. Its fast-absorbing formula, which also includes coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and vitamin E, moisturizes and calms irritation without leaving skin feeling greasy.
- Fight the Itch! 8 Ways To Save Your Skin
- Pregnancy Beauty Problems No One Talks About
- A Routine To Combat Stretch Marks During Pregnancy
According to Nine Naturals founder, Grace Lee, the average woman uses 12 beauty products a day, exposing herself to around 168 different ingredients–not a small number!
It is important to know what you put in and on your body, that’s why Nine Naturals’ mission has always been about educating moms-to-be on how to achieve a non-toxic pregnancy, avoiding lurking toxins in showers or opting for all-natural aluminum-free deodorant. We not only guarantee that our ingredients are purely derived from plants but also especially catered for a safe pregnancy. Just check out of ingredient glossary, which boasts pronounceable, high-quality ingredients from plant-based oils to exotic fruit butters.
YouBeauty agrees. This week’s Daily Aha! said, “There’s no single, agreed-upon definition of “natural” in the beauty industry – so how do you know if your natural products are legit? When checking out labels, it may be helpful to refer to Nine Naturals’ ingredients list, which was developed to explain each of their natural ingredients, what it does, and what it’s made of.” It also warned us to be smart. According to YouBeauty, not all natural products are good for you–“Soy is natural, but there have also been studies showing soy may also have an impact on hormones”–and not all natural beauty companies can afford a certification seal. Read more…
- 5 Ingredients To Loathe And 5 To Love: An Interview With Nine Naturals Founder, Grace Lee
- Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in the Shower
- 7 Natural Beauty Ingredients Straight From Your Pantry