Archive for Green Cosmetics

May 7th, 2015

5 Safer Nail Polish Brands

5 Safer Nail Polish Brands Groovy Green Livin


Nail polish comes in and out of my life. Over the past decade it’s pretty much been out. Pre-kids it was a different story. Enjoying an occasional mani/pedi was something I truly looked forward to when I was practicing law. It was an escape from the office. There was a cute nail salon just a few short blocks away. On occasion I would treat myself  to a new color and a few moments of “me time”.

As much as I loved the pampering, I remember walking into the salon and being overwhelmed by the smell. As most of us know, nail polish has a very distinct smell that’s impossible to ignore. After a few years of regular nail salon visits I started to question what was causing that smell and the safety of the nail polish I was putting on my fingers and toes. A little bit of research caused me to go cold turkey. I decided that the chemicals in the polish didn’t belong on my body. No more nail polish for me.

Problem with conventional nail polish

Nail polish often includes this “toxic trio”:

  • Toulene– Toluene is added to gasoline,  and used as a solvent.  Inhaling toulene has been found to cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes, sore throat, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Formaldehyde– Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) -This chemical is banned in Europe. 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.
  • Other assorted toxic chemicals.

There are safer, toxin free nail polish options on the market.

Not only are these safer nail polishes made without the 3 common chemicals found in nail polishes (Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde), but they are also free from 2 other very dangerous chemicals (Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor).

Now I’m back. My fingers are for the most part still au natural, but an occasional pedicure is back in the mix .

Here are a few of the nail polish brands I feel comfortable using:

  1. Zoya Nail Polish –  My local nail salon uses Zoya Nail Polish and I really like this brand. The polish is easy to apply, comes in a wide variety of colors and stays on well.
  2. Acquarella Nail Polish – Acquarella Nail Polish received a 1 (low hazard) score on the Skin Deep website.  This polish is completely water based with virtually no odor.
  3. Piggy Paint Nail Polish – Piggy Paint Nail Polish scores a 2 over at Skin Deep. This polish is kid friendly and doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone.
  4. Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish – Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish and their kiddie line, Hopscotch Kids got it right with their polish.  Both water based polishes are safe polish that actually lasts.  They come in very cool, eco-chic colors and there is no chemical smell!
  5. Suncoat Non-Toxic Nail Polish Suncoat’s motto is “We believe beauty and toxic chemicals don’t belong in the same sentence.” Their polish is water-based and free of toluene, formaldehyde, phthalate plasticizers (BDP etc) and alcohol, and also free of acetates and toxic preservatives such as parabens and methylisothiazolinone (Neolone 950). It’s colored with mineral pigments and natural colorants. The coolest feature: it peels off! No remover needed

Don’t forget to find a safe nail polish remover

Many nail polish removers and artificial nail products contain a host of toxic chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, reproductive harm, asthma and other negative health effects. If you’re looking for a safe nail polish remover take a look HERE.

What’s your favorite nail polish brand?

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you), which in turn helps support this site. None of the companies I promote on this page have paid me, I just really like their products. Thank you in advance.

May 20th, 2014

My Picks for Non-Toxic Lipstick

Groovy Green Livin Lipstick

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.

That’s why we need to put the pressure on retailers and demand that their lipstick be lead free.

What really worries me is the number of times during the day that I lick my lips or eat something while wearing lipstick. There’s no question that I could be ingesting lead!

Unfortunately the FDA thinks that the average level of lead found in lipstick poses no health risk. I disagree.

There’s NO safe level of lead exposure.

Lead is a well-known and proven neurotoxin that has been linked to learning, language and behavioral problems. The recent science indicates there is no safe level of lead exposure.

Here are my top picks for non-toxic lipsticks (with affiliate links)

I’ve spoken with each of these companies and they’ve verified their lipsticks don’t contain lead.

NVEY ECO Organic Lipstick($21)

There are 16 different shades of this organic lipstick. The ingredients are certified organic and include jojoba oil, vitamin E and B and safflower oil. Good enough to eat!

Afterglow Cosmetics Organic Infused Lip Love Lipstick ($24)

After Glow Cosmetics are free of many of the synthetic preservatives, bismuth oxychloride, petro-chemicals, synthetic dyes and fillers found in traditional cosmetics. They are also lead-free.

Benecos Natural Lipstick and Natural Lip gloss (Lipstick $9.70 and Lipgloss $10.75)

I’ve been using this lipstick and lip gloss for quite sometime and I really like both. The lip gloss comes in fantastic colors and stays on well.

ILIA Lipstick  ($24)

Ilia is a great natural line without lead, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil or petrolatum. 

Gabriel Cosmetics ($17)

I’ve been using Gabriel Cosmetics for a few years and love their variety of colors. The stay power is also impressive-it stays on your lips a long time.

For a few more options take a look HERE.

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!

photo credit: p-duke via photopin cc>

April 3rd, 2012

5th Grade Puberty Video: Deodorant v. Antiperspirant


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).

Find a safe, non-toxic deodorant

Avoid toxic chemicals. Avoid all deodorants with aluminum, parabens, chlorohydrate, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, and Talc. Check the safety of all personal care products on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.

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?

March 1st, 2012

Style Essentials Mineral Makeup Review and Giveaway

non-toxic mineral makeup

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.

Lisa LigouriStyle Essentials

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:

  • bismuth oxychloride
  • parabens
  • petroleum derivatives
  • synthetic fragrances/phthalates
  • nano particles

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was sent samples of Style Essentials mineral makeup for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.

February 10th, 2012

Groovy Green Friday Round-Up

All you need is love

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week. Valentine’s Day is sneaking up on us and I’m predicting lots of sugary treats in my kid’s futures next week.

There have been a lot of good green happenings on the web this week. Here are a few headlines that caught my attention:

Petition asking Tide to remove a cancer causing chemical from its detergent

A report recently released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in the detergent.

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.

Lead in your lipstick

lead in lipstickIn 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.

dandelion greenDandelions

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.

A day in the life of an activist

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!

Have a groovy and green weekend! Any big plans?

[Photos used under creative commons from D. Sharon Pruitt and Vincent van der Heijden/Flickr]


December 5th, 2011

Giveaway and Holi-Daily Deal: Earth Mama Angel Baby from Lullaby Organics

EMAB gift set
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!).

EMAB ShampooAngel 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.

Lullaby Organics Holi-Daily DealsEach 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.

GIVEAWAY: Earth Mama Angel Baby a Little Something for BabyThanks to the kind people at Lullaby Organics one lucky Groovy Green Livin reader will win an Earth Mama Angel Baby a Little Something for Babyby Earth Mama Angel Baby (value $49.80). By entering your name and any comments below you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.

See the rest »

September 15th, 2011

Henna: a Healthy Hair Dye Alternative

Healthy Hair Dye

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).

Light Mountain Natural Color the Gray Hair Color and Conditioner-Black

What I liked:

  • There is no peroxide, ammonia or other additives.
  • 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.

green and black henna

Coastal Classic Creations-black henna

What I liked:

  • The packaging was responsible and no frills. It comes in a tin foil looking pouch with a sticker containing the company’s logo.
  • They are committed to sustainability and protecting the environment.
  • The ingredient list was short-just plain ol’ black henna. No chemicals at all.
  • 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  Skin Deep site.
  • Cost: $8.00 for 100 grams of Henna (good for one application on long hair).
  • It works. My hair holds the color for a few weeks.

What I didn’t like:

  • I had to order the product and have it delivered to my home. Not very green, but delivery was quick.
  • Very messy application-may have had something to do with me.

Green Henna

Surya Brasil Henna Cream

What I liked:

  • The mixture is pre-mixed. The consistency is easy to apply to hair.
  • No ammonia, PPD, peroxide, parabens, resorcinol, heavy metals or GMOs.
  • Cost: $14.00 for single application.

What I didn’t like:

  • The ingredient list was long-scored a FOUR on the Skin Deep site. It contains synthetic colors and other ingredients that made this far from all natural.
  • Didn’t hold the color for more than 2 weeks.

MY HENNA PICK: Coastal Classic Creations. The color seems to stay longer than the other two, it’s a one step process and I like supporting this eco friendly company.

Quick tips for henna application

  1. Henna, in its true form, looks like green powder and has a strong, distinct grass-like smell. Add an essential oil of your choice to help ease the scent.
  2. Apply henna in a place that easy to clean. It goes everywhere-even if you’re careful.
  3. Be prepared to not wash your hair for up to 48 hours. This is the hardest part for me-because the grass smell is so strong.
  4. Be prepared to have your significant other and/or children make fun of you for looking ridiculous in a plastic shower cap while waiting for the color to set.

Now it’s your turn…let me know if you’ve used henna and what you found.

[Top photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]

There are a few Amazon Affiliate links in this post. If you happen to order any of the products in this post through those links it will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!


About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

Grab Button

Want to add a link back to Groovy Green Livin? Just place the following html code on your website.
Groovy Green Livin