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Some simple ways to distinguish between what’s natural and what’s not

The transparency about what we put into our body is becoming more and more prevalent, but the confusion about how to distinguish what’s good for you and what’s not always seems too difficult to figure out! Between health buzzwords like “all natural” and “organic” and ingredients on labels a mile long, finding the best thing for you can be confusing and overwhelming. 

Our Jlounge co-founder, Jennifer Zrubek, is committed to providing natural products and treatments to her clients as an esthetician and business owner. As someone who has spent 20+ years professionally in natural and organic skincare, both as an esthetician and developer of the natural skincare line JL ESSENCIALS, she can help clear up the confusion.

She says overall, the best thing you can do is simplify. 

“Do you know what your largest organ is? Your skin” Jen says, “and if you’re putting it on your body it’s going in your body.” She’s talking about the products we use everyday — skincare, haircare, makeup, and fragrances. “If you’re walking into a drugstore and buying products with big names you recognize, it’s probably junk,” she says. “These products can contain dangerous ingredients like aluminum, found in most deodorants, and other toxic metals, as well as parabens which have been found to cause cancer. Many of these ingredients are clear, colorless, and odorless, and aren’t used for any benefit other than to preserve its shelf life.” 

Jen says the simpler the better. She believes in ayurvedics, which uses products from nature to help create balance. The products she uses and creates at her spa have been chosen because of the herbal, botanical plant extracts and properties that are extremely healing and beneficial to the skin, unlike a lot of other products that exist. 

Jen’s first tip for looking for the right products is easy and straightforward: 

“If you can’t read the ingredient list, don’t buy it.” 

To clear up the confusion, Jen recommends looking at a list of 12 ingredients called the dirty dozen, which you should avoid when buying new products. These include things like DEA, MEA, TEA, and DMDM Hydantoin which releases the toxic chemical formaldehyde. Other parabens like methyl and butyl are specifically linked to breast cancer. Fragrances with dangerous undisclosed synthetics are found in most lotions, perfumes, and shampoo and conditioners. Mineral oil, a byproduct of petroleum, can be found in acne products actually causing acne instead of solving it, requiring you to return to the drugstore for toxic makeup to cover it up! For the full list of names to avoid, you can read this article, or look online for “The Dirty Dozen Skincare”. Put simply, if the ingredient list is too complicated, stay away.

Her second tip, just because it says natural or organic, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. 

The FDA only requires a product to contain 10% natural ingredients to have the word natural on their product! Don’t let companies persuade you by using health buzzwords. Instead, Jen say’s to try simple products like pure grapeseed oil, almond oil, or coconut oil for moisturizer. Use a pure essential oil mix (check for synthetics) instead of perfumes. Rather than buying drug store products, she suggests making face masks out of things like cherry, yogurt, and oats. She suggests eating fruits and vegetables that are in season to heal from the inside out. She believes in using the things found in your kitchen, like coconut oil mixed with sugar as an exfoliating scrub, to make taking care of yourself easier. These are the ingredients and methods she has in mind when making her JL ESSENCIALS skincare products- using simple, REAL ingredients.

The third, and most important tip, just do your best. 

Jen says, “Do your best to research and know what you’re using and why, but we’re all just trying our best here.” Jen vets only the best products for Jlounge Natural Nail Bar & Spa under a strict natural criteria that aligns with her values, as well as only using the best ingredients in the JL ESSENCIALS skincare line, but even she says it’s almost impossible to be 100% natural, 100% of the time. She works to find and create the cleanest standard possible in the industry, but sometimes has to be flexible and make new discoveries. Her spa has switched natural nail polish brands due to chipping, discovering an even better brand. They implemented an inventive essential oil based, hospital grade cleaner, which has been essential throughout COVID. While this standard at Jlounge and for JL ESSENCIALS products can end up costing more due to the high quality of pure ingredients, they are truthfully better for you. There is a night and day difference between what’s natural and what isn’t, and an incredible difference between a natural spa like Jlounge and other spas who don’t take these things into consideration. 

If you’re interested in living more naturally and you don’t know where to start- diet, exercise, way of life – it can sometimes feel impossible to accomplish, but with helpful tips from Jen, places like JLounge, and brands like JL ESSENCIALS, it only gets easier and more simple in your day to day life.

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A little bit more about Jen. Jen Zrubek is the co-owner and co-founder of Jlounge Natural Nail Bar & Spa and JL ESSENCIALS skincare. Jen has 20+ years of experience as an esthetician and business owner. She has always had a passion for natural and organic skin care products. She prides herself on quality services, and dedication to her clients through her commitment to natural products and treatments. Jennifer has raised two boys. In her free time, she enjoys travel, hiking with her dog Skyler, biking, yoga, and spending quality time with friends and family.

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