Toner vs. Astringent

If you’ve heard of the terms “toner” or “astringent”  you may be wondering, What is the difference?

Toners are typically lotions or washes that are designed to further cleanse the (facial) skin and reduce the appearance of pores.

Astringents are stronger than toners, and are typically alcohol-based. For this reason, they are suggested for use on oily skin to fully cleanse away the oils.

My recommendation, however, is to always avoid astringents – even if you have oily skin!


The more we harshly strip away our skin’s natural oils(sebum) with alcohol, the more our skin will want to compensate and in turn actually produce more oil! It’s a never ending cycle!

Alcohol-free toners are our better option, but the best option would be to make it yourself! That way, we know exactly what it is made with and can also customize it to our exact skin needs!

Better yet, you may(I hope) already have these three ingredients right there in your kitchen and/or bathroom!

Using Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) with the Mother in its organic, raw, unfiltered, and un-distilled state as the base for our facial toner will give us many amazing benefits. Make sure you are always diluting ACV with water when using on the skin or taking internally because of its potency!


  • Fights pimples, acne, and blemishes with its malic acid that creates a potent antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral shield to keep bacteria at bay
  • Balances your skin’s PH, cleansing and keeping skin from getting too oily or too dry
  • Draws out toxins when used regularly, and helps maintain a youthful glow
  • Helps reduce age spots with its alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin cells and reveal vibrant new skin
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles


DIY Facial Toner

1.5 oz Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother (raw, unfiltered, un-distilled)

1.5 oz Reverse Osmosis or Purified Water

6 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia, 100% pure, therapeutic-grade)

Optional to calm sensitive skin: 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia, 100% pure, therapeutic-grade)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a clean, spray top bottle.
  2. Mist on clean fingers or cloth and dab on face and neck. Alternatively, you can directly mist the face and neck from 8+” if you keep eyes, mouth, etc closed.
  3. Finish with a moisturizer.
  4. For spot treatment, hold on concentrated area for a few seconds and skip the moisturizer on those areas.
  5. That’s it!


Tip: I re-used an old 4oz toner bottle I already had, and generally use my fingers or mist my whole face and pat. Try to skip the one-time-use cotton items to be free of waste!


Are you conscious of your impact as a consumer?

Let’s face it; Now-a-days it is easy to get sucked right into our highly consuming, wasteful, and unhealthy ways of society. We are now purchasing most all of our daily needs and wants without having to put a hair of thought into how things truly work; let alone the entity at the top receiving our hard-earned dollars and what his/her true financial and moral intentions are with it, as well as the effects of these purchases and productions on the quality of our natural surroundings: the environment, natural resources, animals, the planet as a whole and life in general.

In addition, most of us may not bring enough attention to each ingredient in the cosmetics or food we put on and in our bodies on a daily basis; and these can have some of the most direct negative impacts on not only all aspects of our natural surroundings, but the very foundation of our own health, wellness and beauty!

Did you know: 

Cosmetics are capable of entering through the layers of our largest organ – the skin – which surpasses our digestive system with potential of going straight to our blood stream?

This bodily invasion can definitely throw things out of whack a lot quicker than offensive food consumption (which goes through numerous natural filters and detoxifiers in the body) and will create much harm with repeated offense. Our kidneys and liver that work to filter our blood can become overloaded by this repeated offense and end up contributing to more toxins in the bloodstream if unable to do its job properly.


eu vs us


The U.S. legislation is currently allowing the use of toxic, harmful chemicals in cosmetics, which we may apply every day, that have been linked to:

  • irritation and allergic reactions
  • mutagenic cells
  • immune system damage
  • hormone and thyroid disruptions
  • nerve, joint, and muscle disorders
  • fertility issues
  • heart, bone and kidney problems
  • reproductive and developmental harm
  • cancers
  • in some cases death

the list goes on.*


The U.S. legislation is also currently allowing the use of toxic, harmful chemicals in conventional food production, which we may consume every day, that have been linked to:

  • mitochondrial malfunction
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • excitotoxicity
  • inflammation
  • weight gain
  • obesity
  • neurotoxicity
  • learning and behavior disorders
  • hormone disruption
  • chronic and/or serious diseases
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • decreased immune function
  • reproductive harm
  • allergies
  • cancers
  • even death

the list goes on.*


So what do we do?

Ditch the harmful chemicals and those companies using them!!!

The worst thing we can do is rely on the large “self-regulated” corporations in the food and cosmetic industries for our safety and righteousness that produce on a mass scale with very little overhead. Will you let them continue to “self-regulate” these industries, or will YOU be in control of your own health and environment?


Let us help you find who to trust or guide you through the wonderful world of DIY – so you can know exactly what you’re allowing in and on your body!


It’s time to be mindful of where our money is going and how we are directly impacting the world around us – starting with our cosmetics and food!


Self-love never looked so good ;).




Have you heard the hype about hydrogen peroxide for health and beauty care? Maybe it’s been sitting under your sink for quite some time and you’ve forgotten about it perhaps? Well it’s definitely possible that you may get really excited to learn about some of the countless  amazing benefits and uses of hydrogen peroxide you didn’t know about!

What is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide(HP), or H2O2 , is a naturally occurring substance that is basically  water (H2O) with one extra oxygen atom, making it one of the most potent oxidizers known. It is colorless and odorless, but has a unique taste. It is an unstable compound that is highly reactive and breaks down easily back into water and oxygen. However, if stored properly away from light and contaminants, it is very stable and breaks down very slowly over time.

As you can see, this substance lives in duality; it can be extraordinary at improving many conditions for the better, but also extraordinary at eradicating those same conditions for the worse. Just as many plants can have medicinal benefits, too much of it and it turns toxic.

Like I always say, moderation and balance is key.

H2O2 exists naturally in different aspects of nature and is even created by our own bodies. Therefore, we know it is necessary to support life and must be treated with much care.


Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide & its Benefits

Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide is praised for being the safest and most natural antiseptic that fights infection, eliminates toxins, cures bacteria and viruses, and neutralizes germs through oxidation!

Look for Food Grade to ensure the quality and safety for at home or personal uses, such as in mouthwash or toothpaste, rinsing fruits and vegetables, helping your plants grow, and is used in at-home or larger food production. It is the ONLY grade recommended for internal use, such as to treat illnesses, cancers, and infections. You will not find the FDA recommending such uses though or claiming it cures.

This label also ensures that there are no additives or stabilizers in the product. It is sold at a 35% concentration, but may also be found more easily and already diluted in purified water at 3% for safer handling. The 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide MUST BE DILUTED.


Since H202 can technically be so highly reactive with its one extra atom of oxygen, we have to keep in mind the possibility of it also killing more than just the bad guys, which includes some of our good guys: eukaryotic cells (membrane bound nucleus cells; human cells/DNA). This may be sometimes translated into the stinging or burning sensations like I had felt as a kid after HP was poured over my scraped knees and elbows to fight infection. It killed any harmful bacteria and I definitely remember feeling it working.

Research has lead us to believe that the possible killing off of our eukaryotic cells(the good guys) doesn’t seem to be of serious concern though since these cells are far more compound/complex than the latter, prokaryotic cells (cells without membrane bound nucleus; bacteria); making the prokaryotics far easier to target and destroy and most eukaryotics to stay unharmed.

So therefore, if we decide to use this physical substance topically or intravenously, we can understand why it’s important to use it at precise proportions to help heal and even stimulate life. We understand if too much is used, it may pose a slight threat to living cells, like we talked about before, so we use this true natural remedy responsibly.

This is a good reason to obtain the 3% Food Grade H2O2 that is already far less concentrated. Many recipes require even further dilution on top of that. When in doubt, ALWAYS DILUTE.


Different Grades of H2O2

The grade of the hydrogen peroxide matters. The higher the percentage, the stronger the concentration and the more cautious you need to be with it. It is a very powerful substance that needs to be handled properly!

3.5% Pharmaceutical Grade: Found most commonly diluted at drugstores and food stores with purified water and stabilizers; disinfectant and mouthwash; should NOT be ingested

6% Beautician Grade:  Helps achieve lift or a “bleaching” effect in hair coloring for Professionals; 3%-10vol, 6%-20vol, 9%-30vol, 12%-40vol; not for internal use

30% Reagant Grade: Used in scientific experiments; contains stabilizers; not for internal use

30%-32% Electronic Grade: Cleans electronic parts; not for internal use

35% Technical Grade: More concentrated than Reagant Grade; contains phosphorous to neutralize chlorine usually in the water used to dilute it; not for internal use.

Food Grade 35%(but most commonly found at 3%): Used in food production; MUST be diluted if 35%; personal hygiene; plants; animals; cleaning; ONLY grade recommended for internal use

90%:  Used for oxygen in rocket fuel

How Can We Use Food Grade H2O2?

Now that we fully understand the cautions of HP, let’s celebrate this natural product responsibly! Here are some of the many beneficial and surprising daily uses!

Printable & shareable recipes in the links:



Here is a peroxide dilution chart if you do prefer to obtain the 35%:

h202 dilution chart

*    It is very important once again to be knowledgable, cautious, and conscious when you are using hydrogen peroxide in its versatility. We need to make sure we are using precise proportions and replacing and maintaining the beneficial cells/bacteria through supplementation and proper restorative health care habits.

Where to Find 3% Food Grade H2O2

Check with your local grocery or drug stores first! If you are in Colorado, places like Natural Grocers, Sprouts, and Whole Foods usually carry it. I use the brand Essential Oxygen – typically runs me about $14-17 for 32 fl oz. Lasts me quite a while! Store properly away from heat, sunlight, and contaminants.



Now that you see that H2O2 is naturally occurring in our bodies, boasts numerous uses for natural remedies, and is an affordable & safe replacement for harsh chemicals, can you see it fitting into your healthy lifestyle, or do you now just notice it’s already there…?


As time goes on, the cosmetic industry continues to grow towards the “hottest” and latest trends, but seems to be forgetting one very important thing: Are these cosmetics even safe??

In terms of safe cosmetics, we are referring to the external appearance of our skin as well as the effect on our internal processes as some ingredients are absorbed through the skin into our bloodstream. We love to refer to our EWG Skin Deep Database for some of our toughest research on specific ingredients and specific products. They basically let us know if certain things are safe for our bodies and our environment, which we love.

Some people are more sensitive than others in general, no matter if it is an organic plant-based product or not, so we believe in carrying out 24-48 hour patch tests prior to hair coloring services for those especially with known sensitivities.

Here in Sustain the Mane Salon, we are using some of the best professional products to our knowledge that are leading in the organic, sustainable, non-toxic and vegan beauty industry for hair color and products. We never use aerosols, ammonia, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils, or test on animals.

The quality of air in our space is one of our favorite changes to the salon environment since introducing safer, more gentle hair color and products in 2016. No more worrying about inhaling toxic fumes when mixing formulas or carrying out our artistic applications, and you as a guest also receive a much more relaxing and comfortable experience throughout the whole holistic pampering process.

It never stops there though; We are constantly continuing to further our knowledge on ingredients and products, and won’t stop until we are satisfied with what we believe is the best for ourselves and of course for you. We will recommend whatever we believe is best for each individual based upon his or her needs and desires.

Some of our products are homemade with organic ingredients and essential oils when we cannot find a trusted brand to carry what we need! This will eventually develop into a larger selection of homemade cosmetic products for you that we are extremely excited about to come!

True health, wellness, and beauty is our top priority for each and every one of you; whether we help you in person or online!

As there continues to be a growing number of people and life in general inhabiting this planet, it only makes sense to make sure that we are doing our own part in keeping our mother earth “clean”, happy, and beautiful.

The beauty and cosmetic industry as a whole over the years has sadly seemed to not have these morals in mind so much. There seems to be more incentive in the progression of “convenient” technology and performance of synthetic products than ever before in modern practices, which is keeping us in even further reach of being harmonious with nature/source.

There is a balance for everything in this life: We must give as much as we take; sustainability. But being regenerative in a way that is causing no harm is truly key.                                                                                                                                 

Thankfully, green-minded companies like Organic Colour Systems, My Hairprint, Green Circle Salons, Beauty Counter and Crunchi – to name a few in my radar – are shining bright to change this. Companies like these are proudly doing their best at sourcing sustainably and/or organically, reducing or neutralizing their carbon footprints, and diverting waste from landfills and waterways. It’s a no-brainer in this industry to look up to these guys! In my opinion, if we are going to indubitably have the cosmetic market, we better do it right and do it responsibly – don’t you agree?

Although half of these “green beauty” companies above were newly founded in the states, the other half and many, many more seem to have emerged outside of the U.S. for quite some years prior – with Europe in the lead. With the U.S. being a younger society and culture than Europe, why haven’t we been using their wise learnings for our own? Are we possibly that ignorant that we haven’t even paid much attention to information(especially the cosmetic safety & regulations in this case) of our country’s forerunners and global neighbors? And on top of not taking note from our predecessors, neither are we from our younger countries as well who seem to also get it . . .

safety compliance

In my opinion, it seems as though a lot of the time we like to remain out of the loop when dealing with the health and wellness of not only ourselves and our environment, but with the many other cultures and safety regulations outside of our bubble of a country as well – and seeing the repetitive tragedies on the news definitely doesn’t count!

To me, this is a call to take action and improve this situation then,

and it all starts with ourselves.


eu vs us

Many thanks to those that are already paving the way for us – especially the European Union & Health Canada for stricter cosmetic regulation and BeautyCounter for creating safe cosmetics & fighting legislation! 

Out with the Old, In with the New

To start with myself, I had to take action to do what I could to improve my current position, starting with my personal life and then with my career. I definitely can’t say it’s ever going to be an easy road to break old ties and form new habits, but it’s definitely a road you will find is worth every moment taking.

I decided to jump; instantly abandoning those habits and materials that were not truly doing good for my well-being or our environmental sustainability in my eyes, and learning along the way how to always keep improving. It’s an on-going process; you (or I) can’t become fully healthy, aware, and sustainable over night!

Due to the lack of awareness and education of potentially harmful and toxic beauty salons, Sustain the Mane Salon was then created to break the mold with alternative, healthy and sustainable beauty practices that we truly hope you always continue at home. This doesn’t mean being tied to a brand; this means being intentional with every purchase or product that you put on and in your body.

We aim to set the right examples through:

  • choosing eco-friendly companies that use biodegradable packing peanuts and recycled materials
  • recycling all product packaging, color bottles, foils from hair coloring techniques, and even our eco-friendly refreshments packaging
  • re-using items that can be sanitized instead of one-time use throw-aways; everything from our balayage meche strips for hair coloring techniques and shower caps for treatments, to our beverage cups we serve organic refreshments in and even our second hand furniture and decor
  • composting everything from some of our waxing materials, our food and paper scraps from snacks, to the natural hair clippings from your haircut
  • choosing an amazing (and hard to find) sensitive skin plant-based hard wax for ultimate comfort and to avoid the use of unnecessary materials: wax strips & more petroleum-based products
  • sticking with clean ingredients and sustainable farming practices for our products, colourants, treatments, and even cleaning products
  • making things in-house, such as our waxing cleansers, cleaning products, and our other soon to come hand-crafted items
  • growing things in-housesuch as our plants to keep the air clean and those that grow organic herbs
  • running this site as a referral database for your educational needs; to spread this sustainable and regenerative awareness.

We also focus on creating as little waste as possible, especially toxic waste! For those very few items that may come into the salon that don’t fit into the reuse or recycle category, we do have a small trash which takes quite some time to fill; as it should.

It’s never too late to start making the small changes! And remember:

Change comes from having the knowledge, and the right tools to help you take the action!



Watermarked Image


*Our Health Advisor and Coach, Matthew Zastrow, thrives on teaching additional sustainable healthy living tips to swap even good habits for great ones. Check him out here.

We 100% support organic farming practices, which we try and use for as many of our ingredients as possible with what we carry. Local organic ingredients are most desired, and we are continuing on working on ways to bring more of those into our salon. Organic farming not only returns love back to the earth by maintaining soil fertility, but also leaves out the very harmful and toxic pesticides and herbicides that do not deserve to be entering our bodies through our skin OR by our consumption either.

While there is no completely 100% organic professional hair color line currently possible, we carry brands that try and swap out as much of the junk as they can for organic plant-based alternatives; leaving your nose, skin, and hair a heck of a lot happier than traditional lines! We are also wanting to start experimenting with 100% Pure Organic Henna Powder as a plant-based colorant alternative as well. (Contact us for more info)

If you are looking for the greenest and cleanest of organic health and beauty products, refer to our DIY section in the blog for inspiration or our resource page.

We provide all organic teas for your enjoyment during your visit, as well as occasional fresh organic snacks. All dietary plans and suggestions made by our Health Advisor, Matthew, are also always based on organic whole foods and never contain GMOs or support conventional farming.