Category Archives: Natural Living

My Favorite Non-Toxic Mattress

After much research, learn how and why I picked my favorite non-toxic mattress that is not only natural and free of harmful chemicals, but also extremely comfortable!

Disclaimer: I was received a product to try in return for my honest review. I fully stand behind this product, and the opinions are 100% my own.

non-toxic mattress

As someone who doesn’t sleep well with even a little bit of stress, having a comfortable sleep space and mattress is essential for my health and well-being. After sleeping on a cheap mattress for 5 years with constant back pain, and moving to a new, bigger house, it was definitely time to look into upgrading our mattress.

Why Non-Toxic Mattress?

The first requirement I had when I started mattress shopping was that they had to be non-toxic. Most mattresses on the market are filled with harmful chemicals that can not only pollute the air in the bedroom, but also our bodies. With years of suffering for hormonal imbalance and health issues, this was a non-negotiable.

Some of the toxic chemicals and ingredients that I wanted to avoid are:

  • Polyurethane foam
  • Formaldehyde
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Flame-retardant chemicals
  • PVC covers
  • Vinyl

Many of these are linked to cancer and have adverse effects on our immune system, endocrine system, and our respiratory health. These compounds have also been linked to infertility, obesity, and even developmental brain disorders. They also pollute our environment as well.

We spend a third of our lives sleeping in our bed and it’s during this time that our body detoxes the most, and our bodies can’t properly do their jobs when we are loading our system with these chemicals. We also have 2 small dogs that sleep in the bed with us, and I don’t even want to imagine what those toxins could do to their tiny bodies.

Why We Chose Sleep on Latex Mattress

non-toxic mattress

After doing a ton of research on the safety and comfort of various non-toxic mattress companies, we finally landed on a brand called Sleep on Latex. Sleep on Latex mattresses are made of 100% natural latex foam without any synthetic materials that emit toxins.

Their mattresses also go through rigorous testing to make sure they are highest in quality and safety. Not only that, they are lined with certified organic New Zealand wool for a breathable cover that naturally provides an effective fire barrier without the use of fire retardant chemicals.

And most importantly, I loved that you can choose the thickness of the mattress, as well as the firmness of the mattress from soft, medium, to firm depending on your preference. I have scoliosis and soft mattresses really mess up my back and I wake up with shoulder and back pains if I sleep on one, so I had to make sure I could get a non-toxic mattress that was also firm and comfortable.

Synthetic vs. Natural Latex Mattresses

Synthetic Latex

Believe it or not, the quality of your latex MATTERS to our health and our environment. Synthetic latex is cheaper for a reason. It’s made with petroleum-based compounds, styrene and butadiene, which are both VOCs and pose serious health risks especially to our central nervous system.

And many companies will market their mattresses as “natural latex” when most of it is synthetic with a little bit of natural latex mixed in, so make sure the label says “100% natural latex.” You’ll also notice that synthetic latex will have strong chemical odor when you first open it, which also impacts our health and causes headache, fatigue, and depression long term.

Natural Latex

Natural latex, on the other hand, is made from milky white liquid extracted from rubber trees which is why it’s 100% natural. Sleep on Latex‘s mattresses, specifically, are made from latex harvested in Sri Lanka. Because of this, it is eco-friendly without any harmful chemicals, and natural latex is actually more durable than synthetic latex and it has a more springy feel.

From Sleep on Latex’s site:

Rubber trees must be grown for several years before they will yield latex. Each tree can be used for up to twenty years. The cuts in the tree are periodically changed to maximize yield. After the latex is collected from the rubber trees, it is thickened (by removing excess water) and shipped to factories for use.

Rubber tree plantations have far less of a negative impact on the land than other crops, and they encourage much more biological diversity than other monoculture crops. It takes about ten years of growth before the rubber tree starts producing sufficient amounts of latex. This waiting period ensures that new rubber trees are being planted continuously.

How cool is that? I never ever knew that natural latex came from a tree and how sustainable it is without causing harm to our health.

non-toxic mattress

Test and Certifications to Ensure Quality

On top of being made from 100% natural latex, Sleep on Latex put their non-toxic mattress through rigorous testing to make sure that they are high in quality and free of harmful chemicals, which I was extremely impressed with.

Their latex foam is certified by both OEKO-TEX and eco-INSTITUT, the world’s leading independent textile emissions testing bodies. These groups perform tests that measures any harmful emissions (such as VOCs). Products must comply with strict emissions standards to obtain certification. Sleep on Latex’s foam carries a Class 1 certification (safe for babies and toddlers) from OEKO-TEX, which is the most stringent class, and ensures that the product doesn’t contain several HUNDREDS of harmful substances, from heavy metals, carcinogenic dyes, and pesticides.

Sleep on Latex’s factory also carries an ISO 14001 certification, which is an environmental practices certification that shows that an organization has made an exceptional effort to reduce waste and use their resources efficiently to improve environmental performance.

Our Personal Experience With Sleep on Latex

Now that I explained how Sleep on Latex makes great non-toxic mattresses, I’ll go a bit into our personal experience with our new mattress!

Since we wanted to upgrade to a king-sized mattress from a queen, we decided to go with a king 9-inch thick mattress that’s firm. I was adamant about going with the firmest one because of my back issues that get worse when I sleep on a soft surface.

The mattress was delivered to our house rolled up tightly and compressed in a plastic wrap. There was no assembly needed, we just removed the plastic and the mattress sprung out into its full size. And the best part? It didn’t smell AT ALL. I always get such a headache when I order a new furniture and the smell is so strong and unpleasant, and I was so pleased that we didn’t have to air out the mattress at all before using it.

non-toxic mattress

After sleeping on it for several weeks now, I can’t say enough great things about this mattress. Not only is it so comfortable with just the right amount of firmness, I’ve been sleeping better and my back pains are significantly reduced!

I was actually nervous that it wouldn’t be comfortable at first, because it’s a natural, non-toxic mattress so they may have had to compromise on the support and texture to make it without all the synthetic materials and toxins. However, I can honestly say that it’s one of the best mattresses I’ve ever slept on and even my husband (who does NOT care about toxins or any kind of “safe” or “natural” labels) has said how comfortable and great it is!

If you are interested in switching out your mattress or are in the market for a new one, I highly recommend you check out Sleep on Latex. They also have mattress toppers and pillows, which I’m sure are great quality too.

We found that our 9-inch thick mattress doesn’t need a topper, but we may purchase their king-sized pillows now that we are in love with their mattress.

Check out Sleep on Latex here.

Other Ways to Detoxify Your Bedroom

Not only have we switched to a non-toxic mattress, we have taken several simple steps to detoxify our bedroom. The bedroom is my safe space and I want it to be peaceful and clear of any harmful substances that may lurk in various products or building materials. Here are some easy ways to detoxify your bedroom:

  • Himalayan salt lamp. Yes, not only are Himalayan salt lamps pretty to look at and create a zen space, they actually purify the air. Salt pulls in water molecules from the room, including bacteria and pollutants. When the lamp is on and heats up, it releases water molecules back into the air but holds in the pollutants, naturally purifying the air. It’s also known to increase your energy levels, reduce allergy symptoms, and help you sleep better. This is the one that I have.
  • Beeswax candles. Beeswax is  known as nature’s air purifier because it releases negative ions when burned. Any kind of air contaminants like dirt, pollen, and pollutants carry positive ions. When negative ions from the beeswax meet the positive ions in the air contaminants, they are neutralized and this purifies the air naturally. Such a cool process! Learn how to make your own beeswax candles here.
  • No shoes. We actually have a no-shoe policy in our entire house which my husband loosely follows (insert eye-roll here). Your shoes can carry pollen, toxins, and bacteria that can easily be transferred into the house, so I am especially strict about this rule in the bedroom.
  • Organic bedding. Just like how our mattresses can contain toxins and pesticides, so can our sheets and pillow covers! This one’s an easier and more economical way to reduce toxins in the bedroom if you are not ready to switch out your entire mattress yet, so I highly recommend you invest in some organic cotton sheets. We really like these sheets, and they are so soft and comfortable!
  • Plants. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love collecting plants for the house! Not only do they look pretty, they are actually really great for purifying the air. Some of the best air purifying plants are: spider plants, ficus, snake plant, ferns, aloe vera, and dracaena.
  • Air purifier. This is an obvious one, but I realized that not many people own one. Air purifiers clear the air of harmful pollutants, dust, pollen, smoke, and even mold. They range in size and price, but I really like this compact one for the bedroom that uses a 3-stage Air Filtration System that includes a pre-filter, true HEPA filter, & activated carbon filter.

I hope this post was helpful in educating yourself a bit about the importance of our mattress quality and choosing a non-toxic mattress for you and your family. Our bedroom is where we spend our time the most so I hope you’ll take some steps to detoxify your bedroom to make it a clean and safe space!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
 
Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

How to Detox Your Skin with Oil Cleansing

Learn the benefits of what oil cleansing can do for your skin (like acne, blackheads, oily skin, and dry skin), as well as step-by-step instructions and the best safe and effective oils you can use for it!

Oil Cleansing

Oil cleansing is one of my favorite non-toxic skin cleansing methods that have done wonders for my skin. Instead of using regular cleansing soap, I usually oil cleanse at night and it works so much better than a regular cleanser to remove makeup, clean my skin, and help it look fresh and smooth afterwards. I was skeptical and unsure about it when I first tried it out, but now it has become a regular routine after seeing how well it actually DOES work!

What is Oil Cleansing?

Oil cleansing is a method where you use oils to clean your skin instead of soap and water. It works well for ALL skin types and even with acne-prone skin! Some people are afraid to use oil on their skin, especially if their skin is oily, but with the right type of oil, you’ll find that it can be a safe and gentle method that detoxes your skin and cleans even better than soap.

Our skin’s physical barrier can weaken with an increased imbalance in pH with stress, diet, oxidative stress, and even conventional cleanser and moisturizers that may contain toxic or harmful ingredients. Oil cleansing can help your skin improve strength while rebalancing its pH and its natural oils.

How Does Oil Cleansing Work?

Similar to the concept of like dissolving like, massaging your skin with oil loosens up the oil on your skin, as well as the impurities stuck in your pores and whatever makeup you have on. You massage in a circular motion for a minute or 2, then use a wet warm cloth to steam your face.

Steaming with a clean cotton or muslin cloth is an important step, because this process allows your pores to open up so any dirt, impurities, and bacteria can be drawn out and rise to the surface of your skin. You then wipe your face with the cloth until your skin is clean and smooth.

When done with the right oils and method, oil cleansing can improve issues like dryness, blackheads and whiteheads, acne, and even oily skin!

Oil Cleansing

Expect a Detox Period

Keep in mind that your skin may experience a detox reaction for the first several days or up to 2 weeks of oil cleansing, and you may experience some breakouts or whiteheads. This happens because the dirt and impurities in your pores are finally able to loosen up and release, but this shouldn’t last last longer than 2 weeks. I promise, it’ll all be worth it when you see how great your skin looks afterwards.

When I first started oil cleansing, I went through a detox period in the first week when I broke out on my chin a lot. However, this went away after the adjustment period, and my skin is healthier than it’s ever been.

My skin is on the dry side, but after I started oil cleansing, the moisture level has increased and I rarely get acne anymore which I used to get quite frequently. I only wash my face once a day with the oil cleansing method and it’s enough to keep my skin healthy and radiant. I also love that I don’t have to use a makeup remover anymore, because oil cleansing removes it all effectively.

Best Products for Oil Cleansing

It’s incredibly important to use the right products and oils for oil cleansing. If not, it may actually worsen your skin. When you open up your pores through oil cleansing, not only do things come out of your pores, but the products and oils you use seep into them as well. Because of this, make sure to only use clean products with safe and toxin free ingredients.

Oil Cleansing

Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm

My favorite oil cleansing product hands down is Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm. Not only does it have clean and safe ingredients that are extremely effective, it also contains vitamin C to improve and brighten your complexion, as well as raspberry and cranberry seed oils to moisturize and nourish. It is by far the best product I’ve used and I even use it as a moisturizer at times because it’s so hydrating!

The Cleansing Balm also comes with a 100% muslin cloth so you don’t have to purchase it separately, and you can even use the balm as an overnight treatment and wash it off in the morning. It always feels so luxurious when I use it.

Primally Pure’s Cleansing Oil

Another great product that is a bit more budget friendly is Primally Pure’s Cleansing Oil. They also have separate oils for dry skin or oily/acne-prone skin. These oils smell amazing, work great, and scientifically formulated to keep your skin balanced without drying it out. The ingredients are also natural without any harmful chemicals, but effective as well.

You do have to purchase a cloth separate with this one and the homemade oil I’m about to talk about next, and I highly recommend these 100% organic cotton facial cloths.

Homemade Oil

I used to make my own oil for oil cleansing, and it can be a bit tricky to find the right ratio that works well for your skin type. However, if you decide to go this route, there are several oils that are great for oil cleansing, and you may want to experiment with which ones work best for you.

Some options are: coconut, castor, almond, sunflower, jojoba, avocado, and oilve oil. Castor oil is deeply cleansing, anti-inflammatory, and great as a base oil to start out with, but it can also be drying for your skin so it works well for combination to oily skin.

If your skin is on the dry side (like me), you may want to mix it with other oils like avocado or olive oil and find the right ratio, or just use another oil altogether. When I did make my own oils, I used to use 70% avocado and 30% castor oil, but switched to 100% olive oil during the drier winter months.

When you first start out, I suggest the ratio of 50% castor oil and 50% olive or avocado oil, then you can adjust it from there. Whatever oils you choose, make sure to use high quality, organic oils because it really does make a difference in the effectiveness of oil cleansing.

Again, if you aren’t seeing great results with homemade oil since it can be a bit tricky to get right, I highly recommend trying out one of the 2 products I recommend above!

Oil Cleansing Step-By-Step

WATCH A QUICK VIDEO OF HOW I USE THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD

And subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos and other fun tutorials!

If you want to learn the proper method for oil cleansing so you end up with smooth and radiant skin, follow this step-by-step tutorial:

Oil Cleansing

Step-By-Step Oil Cleansing Tutorial

Author: Jean Choi

If you want to learn the proper method for oil cleansing so you end up with smooth and radiant skin, follow this step-by-step tutorial.

Print

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Start out with a dry face. You don't need to remove makeup beforehand as oil cleansing will do that in the process.

  2. Take 1/2-1 tsp of your oil of choice (or an almond-sized amount for the Cleansing Balm) and massage on to your face for at least 1 minute. Concentrate on your problem areas.

  3. Soak the washcloth under running water that is warm to hot (not too hot - you'll be using it on your face), then wring it out.

  4. Place the washcloth on your face to let it steam and open up your pores, so it can draw out impurities.

  5. Gently wipe away the oils, makeup, and dirt.

  6. Rinse your washcloth and hang it to dry for the next time. I use the Charcoal Bar to clean the cloth every time and it works really well!

  7. There's no need to moisturize after oil cleansing, but you may choose to do so if you feel like your skin needs it. I have dry skin so I always finish with the Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream, which is so hydrating and nourishing.

Recipe Notes

*If this ratio is too drying, lower the ratio of castor oil. If it's too moisturizing, increase the ratio of castor oil. I recommend using olive or avocado oil as the 2nd oil when first starting out.

Want Even More Radiant Skin?

You can use the Overnight Resurfacing Peel after oil cleansing for even better results that’ll help your skin tone even out, remove blemishes, and achieve that radiant glow. You can read all about my experience with in this blog post, along with my before-and-after photos from using it for a month!

If you want to learn more about safe and toxin free skin care and prodcuts, make sure to join my Safer Skincare Facebook group, for deals, discounts, video tutorials, and more education around why I choose safer skincare. I also send out free samples occasionally so COME JOIN IN ON THE FUN!

Lastly, I’m also sending a free gift to my Safer Skincare mailing list subscribers the first time they shop Beatycounter with me so make sure to sign up. I send out occasional emails about updates and news worth sharing, so don’t miss out! SIGN UP FOR THE SAFER SKINCARE NEWSLETTER.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
 
Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

Learn how to dye Easter eggs naturally using real food ingredients, and without any chemical laden food dyes. It’s easy and the colors are so vibrant and fun!

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

Growing up, painting and decorating eggs was one of my favorite Easter activities. I’ve always loved coloring and colors, in general, and I still find dying eggs a very fun and relaxing activity that I look forward to.

These days, I don’t use artificial dyes which are filled with chemicals and toxins that are linked to hyperactivity, cancers, kidney failures, and various other health risks. Did you know that in Europe, most foods with artificial coloring come with a warning label?

Because of this, I dye Easter eggs naturally with dyes made with fruits, veggies, and other food items that you may easily have in your kitchen already. The result isn’t as strong and even as artificial food dyes, but I prefer the rustic and speckled look of these eggs more and I think they are far more beautiful.

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

I especially love how the blue turned out. I made the dye for it using red cabbage leaves and the result is such a gorgeous and vibrant shade of blue. My second favorite is the purple eggs made with grape juice, which turned out with a very cool, uneven design that makes them look almost galaxy-like.

The whole process is so easy and it’s something you can do as a family, even with little kids. And you won’t have to worry that they might put the dye in their mouths, as all the ingredients are 100% real food. But if you want to cut time and use prepackaged dyes, you can purchase these natural, plant based food dyes that are toxin free.

If you do decide to dye Easter eggs naturally, let me know how they turn out! I love getting comments from you guys of what you think of my recipes or tutorials, whether they are positive or negative (in a CONSTRUCTIVE way). It helps me improve my content and keep growing as a blogger!

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

How to Dye Easter Eggs Natually

Author: Jean Choi

Learn how to dye Easter eggs naturally using real food ingredients, and without any chemical laden food dyes. It's easy and the colors are so vibrant and fun!

Print

Ingredients

Hard boiled eggs

  • Brown shelled eggs for color green
  • White shelled eggs for all other colors
  • Water
  • Ice

Dye base

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar

For red/deep pink

  • 2 cups shredded beets

For orange

  • 2 cups yellow onion skin

For yellow

  • 1/4 cup turmeric powder

For green and blue (use brown eggs for green and white eggs for blue)

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage

For purple (omit water for this one)

  • 2 cups grape juice

For brown (omit water for this one)

  • 2 cups strong brewed coffee cooled

Instructions

Hard boiled eggs

  1. Bring water to a boil in a pot over medium high heat.  

  2. Gently lower the eggs into the water so they don't break, and let it come to a boil again. Once it does, lower the heat, and let the eggs simmer for 11 minutes.

  3. Prepare a large bowl with an ice bath.

  4. Once the eggs are done cooking, transfer them to the ice bath for at least 15 minutes. 

For red/deep pink, orange, yellow, green, and blue

  1. Place 2 cups of water and color ingredient in a saucepan. 

  2. Heat over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. 

  3. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  

  4. Let the dye liquid cool for one hour, then strain. 

  5. Place the liquid in a jar or a glass container, then add vinegar.

  6. Add the eggs into the dye then place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

  7. Once the eggs have dyed to your liking, carefully remove from the dye and place on a paper towel lined plate and let them air dry. Try not to wipe or smudge with your fingers until completely dry. 

For purple and brown

  1. Combine the color ingredient and vinegar in a jar. 

  2. Add eggs to the dye.

  3. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

  4. Once the eggs have dyed to your liking, carefully remove from the dye and place on a paper towel lined plate and let them air dry. Try not to wipe or smudge with your fingers until completely dry.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.