Sun Protection in Skincare Products: A More Natural Alternative

This is a follow-up post to my previous skincare one on Meadow Muffin Gardens products, a fantastic line of consciously made, natural, and independently owned body products, and I feel it’s an important topic to briefly discuss: Sun protection. We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the rays of the sun in order prevent melanoma and damage to our body’s largest organ. However, did you know there are two types of rays? UVA and UVB, which both are ultraviolet radiation rays from the sun. UVA rays, although less intense, are actually more potent and damaging to the skin when absorbed over long periods of time. These rays are present all year round and are the ones that can come through glass and clouds. They penetrate the deeper layers of the skin for longer lasting and damaging effects, such as faster aging and wrinkles.  UVA rays are also distributed from the lights in tanning beds, so be wary of going in those often. On the other hand, UVB rays primarily affect the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, which is where sunburn is obvious. These particular rays vary from time of day and season, as well as location. Do you remember as kid being told to stay indoors from 10-2 when the sun is the most visible? There’s truth in that statement. That is when UVB rays are most visible, even though UVA rays are present at all time.

What I wrote here barely skims the surface of the sun and the intensity and differences between UVA and UVB rays; I do not want to claim to be an expert when in reality, I only know very little and will continue to do research as time goes on. One thing I do know, however, is that sun protection is extremely important and should be incorporated into our daily routine. Ever notice you may be getting more freckles on your left arm and left side of your face? I sure am! That’s because our left side gets more exposure to the sun when we drive and needs greater protection from the rays coming through the windows. If you want protection without piling on sunscreen on top of your already made up face, then consider purchasing a product with sun protection in it. This blog post by Meadow Muffin Gardens describes in detail some of the products that can be used daily and provide natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Check them out!

*For more information about ways to protect your skin, check out If you want specific details on UVA and UVB rays, check out this page.



Meadow Muffin Gardens Skincare

When it comes to our skincare, most of us think about the pharmacy brands we see advertised most often on television. You know. Those cheap brands sold on pharmacy shelves making claims to firm your skin, reduce wrinkles, and provide a deep clean like no other. What those brands are not telling you, however, is that you’re likely using a product tested on animals and filled with chemicals that cause hormone disruption. Do I have your attention yet? I sure hope so.

Let me start with some basic information about animal testing and skincare/beauty products. It is a widely common practice done by a large number of brands, and you’ll be shocked when you learn just how many practice this horrific act of torture. If you purchase Aveeno, you’re supporting Johnson & Johnson, a company largely known for its animal testing practices. Dove is owned by Unilever, another brand that tests on animals. Olay products are owned by Proctor & Gamble, another popular company sold at drugstores. Think animal testing is only limited to drugstores? Think again. Estee Lauder, Clinique, SK II, Bobbi Brown, Algenist, Avon, Axe, Bioderma, Biore, and the famous Bath and Body Works all test on animals, and those are just a few! Imagine having a product poured into your eyes to test its effectiveness. Your hair is singed off by an imbalance of a product. You’re tortured, tormented, and eventually put to sleep once you’re no longer of use. Imagine you’ve just been a victim of animal testing, a cruel practice that truly doesn’t need to be done to ensure a product is safe. This link by Lush is a visual portrayal of what animal testing would look like on a human, and it’s quite disturbing. If you want a comprehensive list of brands to use and brands to avoid, I encourage you to check out this blog by Logical Harmony, a vegan blogger and YouTuber with a passion for animals and a cruelty free lifestyle. Her site is one of, if not the best, for up-to-date information on products and brands.

If you ever look at an ingredient list on a product, you should be able to identify each and every product. If you can’t, don’t buy it. I learned a great deal from a book called “No More Dirty Looks” and was astounded at the chemicals I was putting on my face and body every day. Sulfates (surfactants, detergents, and emulsifiers in beauty products), parabens (preservatives), and fragrance (any combination of chemicals to provide a particular scent) are likely in your beauty products and are very capable of disrupting your body’s natural balance. Did you know there are no federal regulations on beauty products? Anything can be labeled “natural” and get away with it? That’s why it is so important to read labels and know what you’re putting on your body. Manufacturers, by law, do not even have to release what chemicals have been used to make the rose, orange, or woodsy scent you love so much. There are so many things I could say, but I’ve already written enough about something that wasn’t the point of this post. I will put some links below where you can learn more information.

I want to tell you about Meadow Muffin Gardens, a small Pennsylvania business created by my mother about seven years ago. She was diagnosed with Lupus at age 21 and has worked on finding natural beauty solutions ever since. Out of that search came Meadow Muffin Gardens, a product line encompassing nature, essential oils, and a love of beauty within. I am biased because she’s my mother, but I can truly say she makes incredible products right in our kitchen at home. She has links on Facebook, Etsy, Zibbet, and Shopify, all under the name Meadow Muffin Gardens, as well as Pinterest and Instagram pages where you can follow her. Her username is chezstace on Instagram, and if you want to see photos of cute doggies, silly kitties, and some of her products, go check it out. She also has a blog ( where she blogs a few times a week about everything ranging from her garden to health to her family. She’s a lovely writer, for sure. Her products are all natural, free of animal testing, and consist of ingredients that are wholesome and good for your skin. I will put photos of a few of my favorite products below.


I have been using this face wash since I was in high school. It’s gentle enough for daily use and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture.


My favorite toner of all time.


A beautiful night lotion that provides long-term moisture and smells divine.


The perfect face mask for those days you need a treatment, but don’t want to do a full clay mask that can be too drying on your skin.

I do use other brands on my face and body, but these four staples are always in my rotation. I swear by them for helping me continue to look young (being only 5’1″ helps too ;)). Plus, isn’t my mother beautiful? Go check out her wonderful business today! 🙂




Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Smoothies. They are the perfect quick breakfast, easy lunch, or lazy dinner. I firmly believe there is never a wrong time (or wrong way!) to make a smoothie, but it helps when you have a mix to add to whatever ingredients you were going to use. Now, I am a longtime lover of the Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal in chocolate and my husband swears by it for energy and daily nutrition. Add in some extra chia and flax seeds, some peanut butter, a banana, and ice, and you have a crazy healthy meal in minutes. Lately however, I have been on the hunt for a different flavor to mix into my routine and came across one that may tie with the Garden of Life for a new favorite. Meet Plant Fusion Phood, a plant based whole food meal replacement shake. I haven’t tried it on its own yet with just water or almond milk, but in a smoothie, the stuff is freaking fantastic.


I start off by adding about a cup of the almond milk (gauge it based on how much liquid you want), followed by the frozen banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, one scoop of the powder, and 3-4 ice cubes. Those amounts will make one large smoothie or two smaller ones. A great thing about smoothies is that they can be modified to your liking. Next time, I may add some kale or spinach for some green nutrients or a tablespoon of hemp seeds for added omegas. It is a filling “meal” that tastes like a dessert! I bought mine here, but I know our local Healthsmart sells it too.

Are there any smoothie recipes you’d like to share? I’m always up for making new ones! Enjoy!!


*Vitacost referral link for $10 off your first order (not affiliate):