No Excuses: Why You NEED to Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Vacation season is upon us and you’re probably planning your next trip to a sunny destination to get your vitamin D on. Before you lay out in the sun for hours with your new book, remember to slap on the sunscreen all over so you don’t have serious regrets later in life. I’m talking about major skin damage from the sun from your seemingly insignificant time in the sun.

Think it’s no big deal? Think again.

At this point, you’ve probably heard every excuse in the book for why people don’t wear sunscreen. From tanning-related reasons to a general notion of sunscreen being completely unnecessary apart from using it at the beach. Well, I’m here to tell you, sunscreen needs to be worn every. single. day. Yes, I mean every single day.

Effects of frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun over time:

  • Increased risk of skin cancer
  • Sunburn
  • Skin discoloration (age spots, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, freckles, etc.)
  • Wrinkles and other signs of aging
  • Leathery skin from reduced elasticity

As you can see, there can be dire consequences resulting from not wearing sunscreen, especially when you are in direct sunlight frequently (even if it’s for a few minutes a day). So think twice before you go out for your run, to work, or out on the weekend without sunscreen. It is also recommended to limit sun exposure between 10 am – 2 pm when the sun is at its peak.

How does sun damage occur?

The sun’s UV rays (UVA and UVB) penetrate the outer layers first, and with prolonged exposure or direct sun exposure, the rays will continue to penetrate the dermis (the middle layer of skin), killing the skin cells and thus damaging your skin. The sun’s ultraviolet rays damage the fibers in the skin called elastin which causes skins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to bounce back after stretching. The skin will also take longer to heal from bruises or tears over time. The results of sun damage won’t be obvious when you’re young, but its effects will show later in life.

TLDR; exposure to the sun speeds up the aging process and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Now that you know all the risks to sun exposure, let’s dispell some of the myths about sunscreen:

“Sunscreen is sunscreen.”

I hate to break it to you but not all sunscreen is created equal. There are actually two types–chemical and physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens have shown to pose health risks because they are absorbed into the skin and studies have shown that they may cause disruptions in hormones. The four chemicals in sunscreen you need to avoid are Oxybenzone, Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate), Avobenzone, and Retinyl Palmitate. Not only are these chemicals potentially harmful to your health, but they are also toxic to coral reefs (more on that later).

So what kind of sunscreen should you be looking for?

Seaside Mint LARQ Bottle with Vitamin A swimsuit and REN skincare mineral reef-safe sunscreen

Physical sunscreens use minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium oxide that form a barrier between the sun and your skin. The Environmental Working Group (EWR) rates mineral sunscreens the highest in terms of efficacy (since they don’t absorb into the skin).

When purchasing sunscreen, always look for broad spectrum SPF which means it should protect you from UVA and UVB rays.

Did you know that the chemicals used in sunscreens are killing the coral reef and organisms that depend on it? Good news is that mineral-based sunscreens are considered reef-safe. About 14,000 tons of sunscreen is believed to be deposited in oceans annually, resulting in the greatest damage found in reef areas such as Hawaii and the Caribbean. You can stop the damage by swapping out your usual chemical sunscreen for reef-safe sunscreens for face and for body.

“I want to tan.”

The notion that wearing sunscreen will prevent you from tanning is absolutely false. No, it does not prevent you from tanning but rather from burning; you’ll tan based on your skin’s melanin, not on how much sunscreen you have on.

“I am not going to be out in the sun for that long. I’m just going to the grocery store.” or “I work in an office all day.”

Even if you’re working from home, you need sunscreen. Windows from your home, car, on the train or even your office windows that let in sunlight, will filter out UVB rays but not UVA rays. Always, always wear your sunscreen.

“I never get sunburnt.”

Even if you don’t burn easily after spending time in the sun, you still need to put on sunscreen to protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays that can cause aging, skin discoloration, and skin cancer. The degree to which you get sunburnt is not a sign that you’re not going to get skin cancer.

“I don’t want flashback.”

Face sunscreens are notorious in the beauty community for leaving a white cast or having ‘flashback’ (when taking pictures with flash, SPF may make your skin look lighter), but there are a ton of sunscreens out there now that will appear nearly invisible–or that give you minimal flashback.

For people of color, it can be especially difficult to get sun protection without the white residue. Luckily, the beauty industry is taking note of this and there are great options for sunscreens that are virtually untraceable on the skin for people of color. Another great tip is to find tinted moisturizers or foundations that contain SPF 30-50 that match or blend into your skin tone.

“I have darker skin, therefore I don’t need sunscreen.”

It’s true that folks with lighter skin can burn more easily and have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than those with more melanin in their skin, but it is absolutely false that having darker skin will absolve you of needing to use sunscreen. Although skin cancer is less frequent in people of color, it is more fatal–as shown in a study conducted by The Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. The solution? Lather up no matter what.

“My SPF 100 sunscreen should last me all day.”

SPF 30-50 is considered an adequate amount to protect against UV rays. SPF higher than 50 is negligible because you’ll still need to reapply sunscreen every two hours. In fact, more SPF does not mean longer lasting sun-blocking power–it can actually mean that there are added chemicals in the sunscreen that can pose health risks. As a rule of thumb, always use between SPF 30-50 for sunscreen.

“I applied sunscreen on already and reapplying is too difficult.”

Realistically, people have a hard time reapplying because of the hassle of having to slather on more sunscreen, but if you’re in the sun for extended periods of time, this is an absolute must. Now, it’s more convenient than ever to reapply with powders, sticks, lotions, and sprays, so there really is no excuse.

“I went through my whole childhood without sunscreen and I don’t have skin cancer. My kids don’t need it either.”

Children should be taught to apply sunscreen whenever they are exposed in order to form a healthy habit and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Your child might be outdoors more often than you were growing up–you never know–don’t add to their risk of skin cancer. As parents, you should always pay attention to any birthmarks or moles your child has in order to distinguish a mole your child was born with between a new mole that may turn out to be malignant melanoma.

Doctors do not recommend applying sunscreen on infants under 6 months old. Instead, it’s recommended to limit sun exposure completely (stay inside), seek shade, or have your baby wear a hat. Consult a doctor if you are planning to be outdoors with your baby and are concerned about sun exposure.

“It’s cloudy outside.”

False. Sure, the clouds are covering the glorious sun, but it doesn’t mean that the sun’s UV rays are blocked too. UVA and UVB rays are able to penetrate through those wimpy clouds and cause skin damage and all of the above. And yes, you can get sunburnt on a cloudy day.

Please please please wear your sunscreen–and make it reef-safe at that. Share this post and be an advocate for sun safety among your family, friends, and beyond!


Why You Should Switch to Natural Deodorant

​You’ve probably heard the buzz all around the internet about natural deodorants, and you’re probably wondering–what’s the hype about? Natural deos have been on the scene longer than you think, but are gaining quite a bit of attention due to a couple of studies that may have found a correlation between chemicals used in conventional deodorants and diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

Although results are not quite conclusive, studies have shown a possible correlation between aluminum on diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer, leading to the rise of natural deodorant. Many wellness experts are urging people to put down the aluminum-laden antiperspirants and pick up natural deodorants.

Note the difference

To learn more about conventional deodorants/antiperspirants, we sat down with JP Mastey, CEO of Corpus Naturals, an all-natural deodorant company founded on creating artisanal scented deodorants that are effective and environmentally friendly. “Conventional skin products contain ingredients that are potentially harmful. Deodorants are a leave-on product meaning that you remain exposed to the ingredients for a lot longer than you would with a product you rinse off” Mastey explains. Antiperspirants–what we’ve used over the last few decades to ensure that our pits were dry even after stress or activity–use aluminum-based compounds to temporarily block your sweat ducts and stop the flow of sweat to the surface of the skin.

Deodorants, on the other hand, aim to neutralize body odor and do not control or block sweat from releasing. For this reason, some people are hesitant to try natural deodorants, but news flash–sweating is natural and we shouldn’t try to stop it from happening if it means potentially harming our health. In fact, by using antiperspirants, Mastey says “there’s a concern that [chemicals in conventional antiperspirants and deodorants] can bioaccumulate. And more concerning is that deodorant is applied near anatomy (lymph nodes, breast tissue, vital organs, etc.) that is particularly sensitive to endocrine disruptors. When you’re considering switching to natural products, deodorant is a very good place to start.”

Years of studies on the effects of aluminum-based compounds found in conventional antiperspirants have shown a potential risk for the development of Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. However, the studies do not provide solid evidence of causation, but many still prefer to err on the side of caution by using natural aluminum-free deodorants. I mean, why introduce more chemicals do your body if there are so many natural options out there?

Sensitive skin

In addition to being aluminum-free, natural deodorants are gentler on the skin so people with skin sensitivities may want to try a few natural options out if conventional deodorants aren’t working out.

Corpus Naturals, which launched in October 2018, has quickly become our favorite all-natural deodorant–even after trying out a ton on the market. It is a completely naturally-derived, effective vegan deodorant with refined, natural fragrances. It is a water-based, has a long-lasting formula using sustainable manufacturing practices, and it’s made in the USA. There are 5 scents available: No. Green, The Botanist, Santalum, Cedar Flora, and Third Rose. To make selecting the perfect scent easy, they even include a detailed description and video about each one including a chart of the notes in each scent.

Baking soda in deodorants

Baking soda is used in some natural deodorants because it is an effective natural remedy for combatting body odor but gets a bad rep for causing skin irritation and rashes. While some have exhibited such side effects, the cause is not the ingredient itself but the concentration of baking soda. It can cause rashes and irritation due to its alkaline pH if used in high concentrations. When a formula with baking soda is done right, the baking soda should not cause a reaction although a small number of people can’t use baking soda on the skin due to impaired skin function. There are natural deodorant companies who are aware of this subset that can’t tolerate baking soda though, like Corpus Naturals, that substitute baking soda with tapioca starch instead to mitigate the likelihood of irritation or rashes.

If you notice a rash forming on your underarms, discontinue use of any underarm products and seek medical attention.

Not all natural deodorants are created equal

If you’re new to natural deodorants, you’ll want to do a bit of research on the ingredients before you get started. It is quite easy for companies to get away with slapping the word “natural” on their products and this word is not regulated with household or personal hygiene products. Some natural deodorants contain fragrances (the term fragrances is typically used for artificial perfumes), or other additives that aren’t natural at all. Let’s face it, if you’re not getting the real thing, then what’s the point in shopping for “natural” in the first place?

The great thing is there are some brands out there that are all-natural and did the R&D to make their deodorant safe, effective, and environmentally friendly. Corpus Naturals’ CEO, JP Mastey (former CEO of Baxter of California), spent years developing their natural deodorants. “We have pushed the bounds of what people have come to expect from natural. Every detail is carefully considered. Even down to our green box which had to be custom made just for us to get that perfect tone of green. Our container and packaging are made in factories powered by hydroelectric energy and our fill is made with solar power”, Mastey explains, and the quality speaks for itself.

Right down to the scents, Mastey has set the bar for artisanal fragrances with scent complexities that mimic high-end perfumes without being overbearing. The result is a light scent with layers of aroma that feel like you, but without the B.O. No single-note essential oils here (because we don’t want to smell like a yoga studio). What’s more, the fragrances are created with resins, distillates, concretes, extracts, and more–nothing synthetic.


To find out more about the process of how natural deodorants are created, we took the liberty to ask JP Mastey, CEO of Corpus Naturals–why natural deodorants?

JP: My motivation was personal. In 2015 I was expecting my first child. In the process of preparing our home, I went from someone that read ingredient panels to obsessing about the idea of clean and safe ingredients. All of the “natural” product I found was either not really natural, or felt like you were making a sacrifice on aesthetics, scent, texture or performance. I was prepared to do it better.

I have a lot of experience in the industry (I was the owner of Baxter of California for over 10 years before it was acquired by L’Oreal in 2013) and in the mid-2000’s we made several futile attempts on creating natural formulations and gave up since we just could not get it right. Move ahead just one decade later and natural + effective has been established. The science has delivered on the promise. The major ingredient suppliers have put major effort into making safe and bio-based alternatives and that has made product formulation easier and effective. This is what made CORPUS possible and the time was right.

There’s a lot of love that went into creating the scents that are so unique to Corpus. We asked Mastey to walk us through the process of creating these signature scents:

JP: It is not synthetic, and it’s more than essential oils. How did I create natural fragrances that smell like fine fragrances?

Let’s start with the differences. Synthetic fragrances are made of a variety of substances many of which are derived from petroleum-based chemicals. Chances are you spent most of your life spritzing the compounds on your skin unknowingly exposing yourself to potential health risks (carcinogens, allergens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and more). The term “fragrance” can mask numerous ingredients that you might be trying to avoid, but end up consuming and wearing due to the cryptic nature of the term “Fragrance” on the ingredient you read.

Next, you have essential oils (oils extracted from plants). These are surely natural but are very limited in variety when it comes to perfume ingredients. They tend to lack complexity, longevity, and consistency (due to weather).

That brings us to natural fragrance and why we use it. Natural fragrance is also limited in variety, but greater options than essential oils. So while it is somewhere in the middle of synthetics and essential oils, it’s much closer to the limited range of essential oils.

Natural fragrances start with essential oils. In addition to essential oils, natural fragrances also use oleoresins, distillates, fractions, concretes, absolutes, and extracts. All of these materials are extracted directly from the plant source, but each plant releases its fragrance materials differently. So, for instance, Rosemary essential oil can be easily extracted from a plant through steam distillation, but true Vanilla comes only in an absolute.

The use of natural fragrances gives us a wider palette to work with, however, it is still very limited and challenging in comparison to the world of traditional perfumery and chemical compounds (synthetic).

Right now we are still not able to duplicate many synthetic notes with their natural equivalent. The typical Musk and Aldehyde notes that are used in perfumery are only available in synthetic form. Natural perfumery could be compared to the Vegan baker or the sugar-free confectioner. Possible, but only with a great amount of research, development, creativity, and experience can you compete with the expectations set by conventional chemistry.

Lastly, we wanted to know, what is Mastey’s favorite scent from his collection?

JP: You know it’s a little bit like asking a parent who their favorite child is. I love them all the same but in different ways. Cedar Flora was the first iteration and maybe the hardest to get right, so maybe the scent will always remind of how much effort went into the process.


Intrigued? Check out Corpus Naturals for more information about their all-natural deodorant line!


Benefits of Collagen with Sally Kim

Collagen is not a new discovery in the quest to find the fountain of youth by any means but has definitely grown in popularity over the recent wellness supplement boom. A spike in wellness and a sudden interest by all genders in anti-aging has led to a lot of research to be done on beauty supplements like collagen and its efficacy.

Though, I don’t think there is enough hype around collagen given its benefits–there are SO many. Sure, there are plenty of people hopping on the beauty train–men and women included–but do we know enough about collagen to be convinced to try it out?

Is collagen a miracle ingredient? Let’s unpack that a bit.

To get the lowdown on collagen, we sat down with collagen expert, Sally Kim, founder & CEO of Crushed Tonic, and author of The Collagen Glow. Crushed Tonic is an anti-aging collagen drink mix that’s carried in Earthbar/Equinox, Sephora, KITH, Free People, and Anthropologie–to name a few.

Photo by Crushed Tonic via Instagram

She says that topical collagen is not good enough to see improvements in the skin–nurturing the skin with collagen needs to happen from the inside out. That’s why she created Crushed Tonic, which is formulated with marine-sourced collagen, cultured probiotics, 100 mcg of biotin and other superfoods clinically-proven for health benefits for skin, hair and whole-body health. Sally explains that each tonic, AKA “crush” is flavored with amazing organic superfoods like matcha, turmeric, and lucuma. Best of all, you just add water or your favorite nut milk.

Meet Sally–the founder and CEO of Crushed Tonic and author of her book, The Collagen Glow.

Can you tell me about how the idea for Crushed Tonic began?

Sally: My obsession with collagen began when I got burned from a cooking accident.

The oil melted the skin off both of my arms instantly, and I had to turn to a ton of prescription ointment and silicone patches only to find out none of it really did much for me. Unimpressed by the options out there, I ended up turning to the internet to find ways to heal my skin.

After some research, I discovered that ingesting collagen was extremely beneficial for our skin (and hair, bones, joints, the list goes on). I was super fascinated, especially because I always thought collagen was something that was topically applied or injected–and started drinking it every day. After just a couple of weeks, I saw incredible changes not just on my burns, but all of my skin, head to toe, and also my hair.

Turns out, collagen is something that’s in our own bodies–actually, the most abundant substance in our bodies second to water–and our bodies stop producing it as much when we are in our mid 20’s. Drinking extra collagen, however, offsets that decline, restoring your skin and hair to its natural beauty.

I then tried to evangelize it to my aging parents and family, and this was where I saw the problem. No one wanted to take collagen as often as I did, for how it tasted (to be fair, most collagen powders do have an unpleasant taste–often gamey tasting, like any other protein powders are); and had I not been burned, I probably wouldn’t have drunk it either.

Knowing how beneficial collagen is, I HAD to have my parents take it. So I began to flavor each mix with specific superfoods that they liked so they would drink the collagen with the beverages they were already drinking every day anyway (matcha for my mother, coffee for my dad, and hot cocoa for my brother).

After tasting and testing for months, getting it so that the collagen flavor was undetectable, and hearing my friends and family rave about how amazing it tasted–that’s when Crushed Tonic was born.

My mission is to bring more focus and attention to supplements, specifically ingestible beauty (AKA beauty from within)–the concept that when it comes to healthy skin and hair, what you put in your body is just as important, if not more important than what you put on it.

It’s difficult for anyone to consume ALL the recommended nutrition needed daily, which is why vitamins and supplements are so great for filling in those gaps in your diet.

Photo by Crushed Tonic via Instagram

What is Collagen?

S: Collagen is a natural protein that our bodies produce. Fun fact: collagen is the most abundant substance in our bodies after water!

Collagen is a major structural component of the human body (different types of collagen make up our skin, bones, muscles, and joints) and we depend on collagen to keep our skin plump, hair strong, bones healthy, joints lubricated, and digestive system working smoothly.

Why do we need to take collagen?

S: Though our bodies are able to produce ample amounts of collagen when we are young, unfortunately, sometime after the age of 25, our bodily production of collagen begins to decline at a rate of 1.5% per year (in addition to the decline in the quality of the produced collagen). By our mid-40’s, our collagen levels may have fallen by as much as 30%.

Without collagen, our cells lose structure, increasingly becoming weaker, stretchier, and thinner–and essentially, this decline is the true cause of many of our skin woes like wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, dry skin, and cellulite.

What are the benefits of collagen?

S: Ingesting collagen helps us keep our skin supple, elastic, and hydrated. With more collagen to lock in the moisture within every cell, our skin will stay hydrated and taut.

Collagen is a miraculous superfood that is good for you, from head to toe, though the industry emphasizes collagen’s benefits on skin*. Because collagen is a complex protein that contains EIGHTEEN out of the twenty existing amino acids found in our bodies, these eighteen amino acids, when ingested, support all of the different various functions of our body in different ways: our skin, hair, brain, bones, teeth, nails, heart, digestion, muscles, weight, mood, virility and even sleep.

*After just 12 weeks of daily consumption (10g/day), surveyed respondents in our focus group noticed a decrease in wrinkles, increased skin hydration, increased skin firmness and decreased joint pain.

Here are some benefits to taking collagen I’ve listed in my book:

  • Skin benefits
    • Diminished dark circles and puffiness around the eyes
    • Minimized appearance of pores
    • Reduction in the visibility of cellulite
    • Diminished visibility of scars
    • Overall restored brightness of skin
    • Overall more hydrated skin
  • Detox & Improving Liver Health
  • Hair
  • Brain Health: Mood, Anxiety, and Sleep
  • Joints
  • Bones and teeth
  • Nails
  • Heart Health
  • Digestion
  • Muscle tissues, ligaments, and tendons
  • Metabolism and weight loss

What is your philosophy on beauty and wellness?

S: I’ve come to realize that I am the happiest when I am the healthiest–mentally and physically. I also look my best when I’m the happiest so for me, healthy is where I invest the most. When it comes to healthy food, supplements, fitness, and mental health, there is no such thing as too expensive or too often.

That’s why I love my LARQ bottle so much–it helps me drink so much water as it purifies tap water, and when I’m at the airport, I can use it at water fountains and not have to spend $10 on bottled water!

What are some of your favorite ways to take collagen?

I like to make lattes as soon as I wake up! I like to warm up oat milk and add the matcha crush (essentially 1 serving of organic matcha, 10g of collagen, 1 billion CFU of probiotics, and 1000 mcg of biotin). I’ll use an electric whisk to mix it so there are no clumps.

How do you ensure the absorption of collagen?

I recommend ingesting collagen in the morning, before having any other foods, when there’s nothing in your stomach so your body can digest the collagen before anything else. You want the collagen to be in your bloodstream in its present form, not digested by stomach acid and mixed in with other food during the digestion process. You’ll also see that this helps with other things as well–like keeping you full and feeling satiated until lunch!

I also like to eat fruits with vitamin C, like oranges or tangerines since vitamin C is known to boost collagen production! According to the Linus Pauling Institute researchers at Oregon State University, vitamin C has a distinct role in collagen synthesis; without vitamin C, our body is slower in healing wounds and producing collagen. Thus, it makes sense to have some vitamin C added to your collagen supplement.

What is the recommended potency or daily value of collagen to see benefits of collagen?

This varies per person, age, and his or her body type, the health of their kidneys (too much protein can lead to kidney stones), and also depending on what collagen they are drinking–or how bioavailable the collagen is.

Going overboard with anything can be harmful–even drinking too much water can be harmful to you! So I recommend that those starting to take collagen ease into the routine by taking 5g for a few days first, and then 10g, and then cap it at 30g.

Do results vary from taking collagen? If so, how does it vary? Does it depend on age, diet, or lifestyle?

Yes! It’s very important to note that not everyone will see the same results that I have seen given the differences in lifestyle and diet. Also, it took more than 2 years of drinking collagen DAILY for my skin and hair to get to where it is now!

Some people may take longer to see results, especially if they are smoking or drinking alcohol excessively. The benefits of collagen will definitely be harder to see (as those habits will erode your collagen levels).

When it comes to age, it is better to start taking collagen earlier than later, as you will be taking a more preventative approach; however, collagen doesn’t discriminate!

I keep a gluten-free and dairy-free rule and do not consume anything “white” very often. White is an unnatural color for food: sugar, flour, cheese, and milk. I also recommend staying away from processed foods as much as you can; long story short, they’re bad for you.


If you were considering taking collagen as a supplement to your diet–whether to prevent signs of aging, to reduce them, to encourage joint health, or even to reduce the visibility of scars–I hope you learned a thing or two about it to help you make the best decision for your lifestyle!

Results of taking collagen supplements may vary. Consult your doctor or physician before taking any supplements.

This post is not sponsored.