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Posted by 10.18.14

The Erno Laszlo Institute‘s Pure Pulsation and Pure Oxygen are two oxygen-rich treatments developed by Pure Flow founder and owner Andrew Barile, and each one accomplishes different things. Pure Pulsation offers synchronized compression of your blood vessels through an intense 40-minute treatment to increase circulation and pump oxygen into your body for detoxification, creation of new blood cells, and to strengthen the cardiovascular system. Pure Oxygen involves a hyperbaric oxygen tank.

“Pure Flow is a compression therapy,” says Barile. “What we’re doing is to monitor your heart rate, similar to a Polaris heart monitor. So we know when your heart is resting. It is mechanical and super precise, and massaging doesn’t give you that same increased pressure as this does,” he adds. Bottom line: you want the blood flow to go back to your heart. The idea here is to reduce your heart rate to promote efficiency. For example, many athletes, after years of conditioning their body, have a heart rate of 40 or 50 beats per minute. However, most people’s efficiencies are far lower, which is why this treatment would be most beneficial to them.

I received the Pure Pulsation treatment and it involved my slipping into a quilted garment and having cuffs around my arms and legs. My aesthetician hooked up a machine to the garment to enable it to pump oxygen into my legs. I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t a bed of roses: you feel the pressure. But after the 40-minute treatment, I felt noticeably more rested, as though I had taken some Concorde trip to St. Barths and back.

Now, what does this all have to do with beauty? Plenty. If we start at the source, good skin starts with a good heartbeat, since healthy heart function helps with practically everything — from cell turnover to stem-cell creation. These treatments also help with improving sleep, lessen jet lag, draining the lymphatic system, which helps remove waste and toxins from the body.

For a limited time, Pure Oxygen and Pure Pulsation are available as a single session for $100, or a pack of six for $480.


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Posted by 05.05.14

“Formaldehyde-free” hair straightening treatments remain popular among many frizzy-haired folk who want the benefits of the “Brazilian Blowout” and other straightening treatments—without the harmful risks associate with formaldehyde. But these treatments aren’t necessarily any safer than their formaldehyde-based counterparts, cautions Nicole E. Rogers, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She spoke during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in Denver in March 2014.

Formaldehyde-free is a clever marketing term, not necessarily a chemical one, she says. These treatments often contain chemicals that convert to formaldehyde with heat. “The formaldehyde is what binds with the hair’s keratin to makes it stick straight,” she says. “Any product that has a dramatic straightening effect must contain some kind of formaldehyde derivative.” The FDA classifies formaldehyde as a chemical known to cause cancer. It also may cause nosebleeds and nose and eye irritation, especially among those who are frequently exposed to it or who have underlying respiratory conditions.

It’s not clear who is most at risk from these chemicals, Rogers adds. “There is a chance that consumers and hair dressers or even people who live or work in buildings that share ventilation with hair salons may be at risk.”

Questions about Ingredients remain and there is no way of knowing for sure if formaldehyde-free hair straighteners provide a safer alternative than previous products, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at New York City’s Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

“Despite their name, formaldehyde-free straighteners may contain trace amounts of formaldehyde [and] there is little regulation over these treatments, so it is up to the manufacturer to ensure that the levels are low,” he says. In some cases, chemicals similar to formaldehyde, such as biformyl, also known as ethandia, and glyoxal are used as a substitute. “While these are not classified as a carcinogen, they can be very irritating or cause allergies,” he says. “The only way to avoid formaldehyde altogether is not to get the treatment at all.”

Another possible ingredient in some “formaldehyde-free” treatments is methylene glycol. The Independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review looked at its use for hair straightening several years ago and concluded that it was unsafe. There are many straighteners on the market, and it’s difficult to know what is used in each of them, says Halyna Breslawec, PhD, Chief Scientist at the Personal Care Products Council, a Washington, DC-based trade group representing the cosmetic industry.

“Consumers looking at long term straightening treatments should ask the salon what is in the product and whether or not the chemical produces formaldehyde,“ she says. “Be very cautious.” Rogers adds that the safest way to straighten hair is to use blow dryers or straightening irons on the lowest possible temperature as little as possible. That means keeping temperatures 300 degrees Fahrenheit or below, she says.

Special shampoos, styling products, and flat irons can all give you smoother, straighter locks, but the effects are usually temporary. According to Teresa Probst at Varin Salon in New York City, “If you want straight, frizz-free hair that lasts from three to six months or even longer, chemical straightening is the only way to go. A keratin straightening system applied by a professional can make hair more manageable and add shine. If used incorrectly, or if the wrong product is used on the wrong hair type or texture, the result can be damage and breakage.” She also recommends against having color and straightening done at the same time.

A flat iron will help keep hair straight, but as Probst said, “Be sure to protect your cuticle with a heat protectant before you pick up a flat iron.”

We love Kerastase Fibre Architecte to seal in shine.


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Posted by 04.24.14

April is Earth month. To acknowledge the emerging importance of green beauty, Cosmetic Executive Women recently announced the CEW Eco Beauty Awards Finalists.

Six amazing green beauty brands have been recognized as leading examples of products that are moving toward a goal of total sustainability. The brands are judged by CEW members on four core principles: less use of materials extracted from the earth’s crust; less accumulation of man-made substances; less physical degradation of nature; and more consideration for peoples’ needs and rights.

CEW has taken some of the guesswork out of choosing organic brands that are committed to saving the planet. Not all eco-friendly brands are the same. BEWARE of fake so-called ‘organic’ or ‘all natural’ products that abound at beauty counters and drugstore shelves.

This year’s Eco finalists are:

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Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on May 16, along with the winners in all Beauty Award categories. For more info about the CEW Beauty Awards, visit

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