Natural Living

By Jill Dudones


You put on moisturizer every night (or morning) thinking it will give you a radiantly healthy glow that will cast some kind of special close-up spotlight on your flawless face as you walk down the street (perhaps a few choice songs play in the background, too). Sigh, I love that dream sequence.

Sure, moisturizers can do wonders - if they aren't loaded with chemicals that can not only damage your skin, but your internal health as well. Run to your beauty bag (yes, now) and look for products containing butylene glycol. This chemical is a preservative used to keep skincare and beauty products from spoiling. It's sometimes used to create a "whipped" appearance to existing products as a marketing ploy or to create more volume in a jar, while reducing the actual amount of product. (In other words, you spend more for less!). Pay close attention to hairsprays, mascaras, concealers, firming lotions"”the list is long. What do you do with these products? Toss them in the trash.

Take a deep breath and stay calm. It's understandable to be upset about throwing away a $75 jar of luxuriously frothy, creamy goo, but you just saved yourself from depression, vomiting, drowsiness, coma and respiratory failure. Yes-- really!! All these symptoms have been linked to butylene glycol. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has known that there's something fishy about this chemical for more than a decade. Restrictions have been placed on how much of this chemical can be used in skincare products and cosmetics. According to some experts, it's not enough. Many mainstream brands at Macy's, Bloomies, Neiman's etc., have even found ways to circumvent the restrictions; using just enough of this chemical to be sold legally. If you're concerned about your health-- and you should be - take butylene glycol out of your beauty regimen.

Vincene Parrinello, Founder and CEO of Hope Aesthetics, knows all too well about "danger-list" chemicals used in beauty products. She's been studying them for more than a decade after surviving breast cancer.

"I took a very close look around me, trying to find any guilty suspects for contributing to my cancer because I not only wanted to be safe, but wanted to protect my family and friends, as well," says Parrinello.

She discovered that she was surrounded by toxins: in her food and in her makeup - moisturizers, and perfumes. She vowed to find healthy replacements for every toxic ingredient. Successfully finding healthier alternative ingredients, Vincene formed Hope Aesthetics, a cosmeceutical skincare company dedicated to natural and holistic beauty products.

One of the first toxins she replaced was butylene glycol.

"I really examined what this chemical is used for"”to preserve products and keep them from going rancid. I spent countless days in my lab (which back then was my kitchen stove), and came up with a few alternatives for keeping products fresh," she says. Vegetable glycerin and grape seed oil proved the perfect replacements as healthier alternatives, albeit more expensive, but definitely safer. The Hope Aesthetics line now boasts more than 30 skincare products and a complete line of cosmetics"”all created with safe and natural materials. Here are some of customers' raving favorites:

Hope Aesthetics BHW Antioxidant Hydrating Moisturizer
What's BHW? Well, there's nothing quite like it. Know that all skincare products consist of water - sometimes just tap water. Hope Aesthetics took a different approach: "Why would you use ordinary water? This is your skin we're talking about!" So, Parrinello created a different kind of water "” Hydrating Water Complex. It's pure spring water "steeped" with teas (Green, White Tip and Oolong), fruits (such as tomatoes, berries, grapes), flowers (such as lavender, helichrysum, rose petals, lotus, linden, evening primrose, borage), sea botanicals (sea parsley and rare algae), vegetables (spinach, peas, chard) and about fifty of nature's finest ingredients from the garden and sea.

Infused with BHW Complex water, this hydrating moisturizer replenishes and repairs even the most damaged skin. It gives a burst of hydration potent with antioxidants, polyphenols, tocotienols, bioflavonoids and amino acid-driven collagen-producing peptides. Perfect for all skin types.

Check out for more info.

Hope Aesthetics Bellissima Regenerating Night Cream
Discoloration, sun spots, wrinkles - be gone! This intensive regenerating formulation contains the famous BHW Complex water, sugar cane extract, laic acid and retinol. It was specifically designed for sensitive skin, and also emits a garden of aromatherapeutic benefits infused with French Lavender and Orange that help uplift and unwind the mind after a busy day. Hope customers have declared this the ultimate "eraser."

Check out for more info.

C Me Nowâ„¢ Facial Firming Serum
The perfect firmer-upper for those with over forty or menopausal skin, also great if the skin is oily. Let's face it, it's hard to find serums that won't react in odd ways with oilier skin or more sensitive menopausal skin. The exclusive firming active in C Me Now Facial Firming Serum is the unique delivery system plus the vitamin C. The time-released formula diminishes sagging, uncushioned, untoned skin.

Check out for more info.

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Hope Aesthetics Eye Dew
Do your eyes say "I'm exhausted"--but you aren't? Are you always looking for the "illuminating, perfect concealer"? This "trade secret" formulation of peptides (amino acids), the BHW Complex and their Hyalurase (botanical hyaluronic acid) help this delicate area retain more moisture than ever before. Gone are the days of "hiding" or "concealing" this area if Eye Dew becomes a part of your simple skin care fitness regimen.

Check out their Facebook page for more info.

Originally published February 2006
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