I am a lip gloss/lipstick junkie. I can’t get enough of the stuff. I have lipstick containers stashed everywhere-in the car, drawers, coat pockets, bathrooms.
What if I told you that lipstick on your lips could be making you sick?
Study after study have found lead in leading brands of lipstick. And that’s not all. Studies have also found Cadmium, a carcinogen that has been found in breast cancer biopsies and shown to cause cancer cells to multiply in lab experiments.
The big lipstick problem
Many of us work hard to keep toxic chemicals out of our bodies by buying organic food and reading labels.
Even if you’re a fabulous label reader you won’t find lead or cadmium listed on the lipstick label. Manufactures don’t actually use lead or Cadmium as an ingredient, they’re considered an impurity. That makes it next to impossible to avoid.
REMEMBER: Just because a lipstick is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it is lead-free. And just because a lipstick is lead-free doesn’t mean it’s free from other toxins. Read labels and do your homework before putting something on your lips.
Do you have a favorite lead-free lipstick?
Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your continued support!
A few weeks ago my 11 year old son woke up not feeling well. He stayed home from school that day and ended up missing part one of ‘The 5th Grade Video’. You know which video I’m talking about-most of us have seen it (or some variation of it) during our own childhood. The movie is a rite of passage for 5th graders and the kickoff into the world of puberty.
My son was pretty disappointed that he missed ‘The Video’. The disappointment quickly turned to horror when he realized the DVD would be sent home and we would watch it TOGETHER. For those of you who don’t have children, this is the WORST possible scenario for a 5th grade boy: mom, son, popcorn and the puberty video. No giggling allowed.
We sat down with my laptop and plugged in our headphones. I’m pretty much an open book when it comes to this stuff, so the video was no big deal to me. Not so for him. We were instructed only to watch the ‘boy’ segment. After 18 minutes of watching him squirm we turned it off and I asked if there was any new info. He proudly exclaimed “nope”.
Deodorant and antiperspirant for 5th graders
Then came the amazing part: we launched into a very interesting discussion about deodorant. The video stressed over and over that the boys should start wearing deodorant. There was also mention of antiperspirant.
My son walked away from that 18 minute video with one piece of new information. He needs to buy deodorant and he needs to wear it NOW.
I walked away from the video with very mixed feelings. Not every 5th grader needs deodorant. No 5th grader should be wearing antiperspirant. As we all know, kids develop at different rates. There might be some kids out there who have begun puberty and are offensively smelly. Yep-deodorant might help them out in the social scene. But it really comes down to personal choice, not a video mandating that they wear it.
We need to provide education about deodorant and antiperspirant
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain controversial aluminum and their ingredient list is long and filled with other suspicious chemicals that I don’t want on my body and I certainly don’t want on my 11 year old’s body. The video didn’t mention any of that.
We are a culture obsessed with smelling pretty. Take a stroll down the deodorant isle at any supermarket and the options are endless. A recent poll of over 500 parents revealed that approximately 50% of children ages 4 to 11 are using deodorant by age 11.
Say no to antiperspirants
Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredients in antiperspirants and they block the sweat glands to keep sweat from getting to the skin’s surface. Some scientists have claimed that using the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer and/or Alzheimer’s. If you are determined to use a product use deodorant (not antiperspirant).
Overall ‘The Video’ was filled with the perfect amount of information for a 5th grade mind. Thankfully, for the moment my son has forgotten about deodorant. I’m sure we’ll be revisiting this discussion soon.
How would you handle the 5th grade deodorant debate?
There has been a lot of talk recently about toxins found in our makeup. There’s a known carcinogen nitrosamine (banned in Canada and the European Union) in our mascara, concealer, sunless tanning lotion and baby shampoo. There’s lead in our lipstick. There’s arsenic in eyeliner. The reason why: the FDA isn’t regulating our cosmetics.
I wear makeup
There I said it. I do like makeup. Maybe it goes against the stereotypical ‘greenie’, but it’s who I am and I’m not going to change. Having said that, I do care what goes on my body just as much as I care what goes in my body. I have spent tireless hours researching make-up to make sure it’s safe.
When I find a company that’s dedicated to personal care products that are safe, eco-friendly and green I know I’m in the right place. My friend Amity from Green Gifts Guide introduced me to Lisa, the owner of Style Essentials. Style Essentials is a green, healthy, beauty marketplace featuring two full lines of mineral makeup, a selection of mostly organic skincare products and a bit of carefully selected BLING. Lisa has been in the cosmetic industry for 30+ years and let me tell you she knows her stuff.
Lisa is truly dedicated to safe, non-toxic personal care products. She gives each customer personal attention, helping them select the products that are just right. I’m not an easy sell. I have a lot of questions and Lisa was there to answer them all.
Lisa was kind enough to send me a few samples to test out. I tried out Dash Natural Minerals blush, Dash eyeliner, Eyeliner brush, Dash Frosted Peach lip gloss and Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Mascara.
If you haven’t used mineral makeup before it’s a bit different then your conventional makeup. The blush and eyeliner came in a powder form. The blush was easy to apply-I generally use a brush. The eyeliner was a little trickier. I have always used an eyeliner pencil and this was a brush and powder. I asked Lisa for some help and she was on it. My first few go rounds with the eyeliner made me look like someone had punched me in the eyes. Now I have it down and it goes on with ease. The mascara is great-not too clumpy and thickens without smearing.
The lip gloss is one of my favorites-it goes on so smoothly and my lips feel great.
Style Essentials products are non-toxic
Style Essentials products are non-toxic. None of the products on Lisa’s site contain:
10% of Style Essentials profits are donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.
Overall the products are wonderful. I’ve been looking for a new mineral makeup that’s reasonably priced and non-toxic. I took a look on EWG’s Skin Deep, as I do for all my personal care products, and found the Honeybee Gardens Mascara received a 2, which indicates that it’s a low hazard. Lisa let me know that Dash and her line, Style Minerals, aren’t rated since they are relatively small companies.
I think Style Essentials fits the bill-the company gets a green thumbs up.
The giveaway is closed and the winner is Hoa! Thanks to everyone who entered.
Lisa from Style Essentials has graciously offered to giveaway a few Style Essential products-now’s your chance to give them a try.
With the help of Healthy Child Healthy World, MomsRising and Women’s Voices for the Earth I put together a petition asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!
Please join me by signing the petition asking Procter & Gamble to take immediate action to remove 1,4-dioxane from Tide Free & Gentle® and any other Procter & Gamble products.
In 2007 the FDA began testing various lipsticks sold in the United States for lead. After testing over 400 brands, FDA scientists concluded that none of them contained unsafe levels of lead. In December 2011, the FDA updated its tests and posted the results on its website rather quietly. There are now two brands (Maybelline and L’Oreal) with lipsticks above California’s safe standard. These manufactures don’t actually use lead as an ingredient, the lead is considered an impurity. There are safe, non-toxic lipsticks out there. Make sure yours is one of them!
Too much Sodium
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 9 out of 10 Americans eat too much sodium. Surprisingly, they found that bread and rolls were the top culprits rather than salty snacks.
Have you ever cooked with dandelions? When the weather warms up there is usually a field of dandelions on my front lawn. Jeff over at Sustainablog shares 7 Recipes for Dandelions. I might have to try a few when the sea of yellow weeds reappears.
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of an activist mom fighting for climate change might be like? Harriet from Climate Mama shares a day in her life. I have to admit, I was exhausted just from reading her post.
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out my new addiction (maybe yours too?), Pinterest. Come on over and find me!
Earth Mama Angel Baby products have been a staple in our home since my kids were infants. Those infants are now in elementary school, but many of the products continue to make their way into our home. As an avid label reader and someone who pays close attention to what goes in and on our bodies, I continue to stand behind these green and clean products for a few reasons:
All Natural & Organic Ingredients: Their products are 100% toxin-free, cruelty-free, vegan, and free from all artificial preservatives, fragrances and dyes. Every product is rated a “0” (no toxicity) in EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
Green Packaging: They use eco-friendly recyclable or reused/reusable packaging and packing materials.
Lullaby Organics generously sent me a few Earth Mama Angel Baby products to test out. I was already familiar with the lotion and shampoo, but it had been a while for the baby oil and baby bottom balm (yes, we did test them out!).
Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash
This is one of my favorite Earth Mama Angel Baby products. The shampoo comes in an easy-to-use pump bottle. It smells fresh and clean with a slight hint of vanilla and orange. We have been using this for many years and have no plans to stop (I use it too).
Angel Baby Lotion
The lotion is NSF Certified (meaning it went through an extensive health safety assessment), contains organic ingredients, no toxins and no artificial preservatives, fragrances or dyes. It has an underlying scent of oranges and vanilla. It rubs in without feeling oily and greasy-something I am always searching for in a lotion.
Angel Baby Bottom Balm
When the Baby Bottom Balm arrived I was excited to learn that it not only soothes a baby’s bottom, it doubles as first-aid-in-a-jar for the whole family. It can be used for minor boo-boos, burns, itchy rashes and more! This one’s a keeper.
Angel Baby Oil
The oil is fragrance free and nut-free and can be used for infant massage, dry skin and cradle cap. It doesn’t contain any scary stuff-no artificial preservatives, dyes or fragrance. My youngest let me try it on him and he loved it.
Each day, for twelve days (11/25-12/6), Lullaby Organics has offered “Holi-Daily”
Each day for 12 days, starting Friday, 11/25, and running thru Tuesday, 12/6, a different eco-fabulous blogger (or sometimes two!) will post a review and giveaway from Lullaby Organics.
In each day’s post, the blogger of the day will “REVEAL THE DEAL” for that day.
Each deal might be on a single item or a collection of items, but when the deal of the day is sold out, that daily deal is over and there will be a different deal the next day!
REVEAL THE DEAL: Today’s Lullaby Organics Holi-Daily Deal
As part of the Lullaby Organics Holi-Daily Deals they are offering an amazing discount for TODAY ONLY:
50% off the Angel Baby Essentials Bundle by Earth Mama Angel Baby (value $49.80)
PLUS: 20-40% off all other skin care products (Earth Mama Angel Baby, My Mama’s Love, BienElla and Purple Prairie).
Also don’t forget to use the GROOVYLIVIN code offered to my readers for 10% off (coupon codes can’t be combined).
All toys are all still on sale for 20%+ off thru December 18th.
This is a much overdue part two to a post I wrote about whether or not to use toxic hair dye when gray hair kicks in. In the original post I shared various options for graying hair, ranging from going au natural to using permanent hair dye.
As a green living advocate, like many of you, I pay close attention to the chemicals that go in and on my body. However, my vanity began taking a stance and made it known that gray hair was not an option. I knew I had to do something to cover up those grays that were glimmering in the sunlight, but toxic chemicals weren’t an option.
Giving henna a try
I have spent the past few months experimenting with all sorts of henna products- trying to find a green, non-toxic option for graying locks that actually works.
I have tried 3 henna products multiple times-I wanted to give them each a fair shot. I only tried the color black for each product (my natural hair color is dark brown).
Received a very low hazard score (this product received a ONE with zero being the safest possible score and ten the most hazardous) on the Environmental Working Groups Cosmetic Safety Database Skin Deep site-my go to site for checking the safety of personal care products.
I could pick it up at Whole Foods and have instant gratification on those really gray days.
Cost: around $10.00 per box. Generally good for one coloring.
The ingredient list was short-just plain ol’ black henna.
Comes with a cap and gloves to use for application.
What I didn’t like:
It’s a 2-step system. First application is a paste that you leave on for 5 minutes and then rinse. Then a second step requires another application of a different paste. This process is more labor intensive and time consuming than the single application system.
After the first step the gray strands turned a slight red color. The second step brought them closer to brown/black.
Very messy application-I may have had something to do with that!
The color didn’t stay very long-it seemed to wash out after a few weeks.
I think we can all agree that this “going green journey” can at times be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider and remember when it comes to the safety of our families and the planet. At the top of my greenie “to do” list is avoidance of all toxic chemicals that could potentially make me and/or my family sick.
Sounds simple, yet it’s not. Especially when it comes to phthalates.
What are phthalates?
Phthalates are chemicals used as softeners or plasticizers in polyvinyl chloride (PVC, vinyl) products. They can be found in hundreds of products: pre-2009 toys, wallpaper, cling wrap, shower curtains, nail polish, perfume, blood bags, cosmetics, personal care products, shampoos, carpeting, wood finishes and insecticides (the list could go on and on). Phthalates have even been known to coat pharmaceutical pills and vitamins.
Manufacturers like to use phthalates because when added to plastic it increases the flexibility and durability of the plastic and allows products such as nail polish, skin products, perfumes, hair gels, wallpaper and paint to cling on and last longer. That new car smell that you either love or hate is partly caused by phthalates.
Should phthalates be avoided?
YES. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts and some preliminary studies show that they may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men. Other studies have linked phthalates to liver cancer and breast cancer.
How do I know if something has phthalates?
Good question: unfortunately, you can’t always tell.
According to the FDA ingredients have to be listed on personal care products, including cosmetics. So far so good. However, the regulations don’t require the listing of the individual fragrance ingredients; therefore, the consumer will not be able to determine from the ingredient list if phthalates are present in a fragrance. Also, the law doesn’t apply to products used solely by professionals. For example- there is no requirement that products used in a hair salon be labeled as containing phthalates. WHAT?? The FDA has some mighty big loopholes in their regulations.
How to avoid phthalates
Avoid fragrance. Fragrance mixtures are considered a trade secret or proprietary information and this enables companies to get away with not disclosing their “secret” ingredients. If a product lists “fragrance” steer clear.
DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) and DEP (diethyl phthalate) are often found in personal care products, including nail polishes, deodorants, perfumes and cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels and hand lotions. (BzBP, see below, is also in some personal care products.) DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) is used in PVC plastics, including some medical devices. BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) is used in some flooring, car products and personal care products. DMP (dimethyl phthalate) is used in insect repellent and some plastics (as well as rocket propellant)
Take action against phthalates
Help Congress pass The Safe Cosmetics Act 2011. This will require chemical manufacturers demonstrate that their products are safe before they’re on store shelves. Click HERE , enter your zip code and show your support.
Join Healthy Child Healthy World -stay informed and get involved.
I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I continue on my journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I just might stop to make some noise about issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I fight for a safer world for all of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes in your life can lead to a non-toxic, healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.