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Archive for Personal Care Products

May 4th, 2012

Juice Beauty Review and Giveaway

Groovy Green Livin Juice Beauty

I spend a lot of time looking into the safety of personal care products before I ultimately use them. Here’s what happens when I buy a new personal care product:

  1. Look through the ingredient list If everything at first glance looks OK I buy the product.
  2. Take the product home in a reusable bag (would you expect anything else?).
  3. Once home look the product up on EWG’s Skin Deep website.
  4. If the product gets a 0-2 hazard rating it is welcomed into my home.
  5. Anything over a 2 it goes back to the store.

Labor intensive, right? But so worth it.

groovy green livin Juice Beauty logoWhen I was given the opportunity to review a few Juice Beauty products I was armed and ready to go through my 6 step process (a few less steps because the product was mailed to me).  I had been hearing about Juice Beauty for quite sometime from my friend Micaela over at Mindful Momma, so I was curious to see for myself what this brand was all about. I chose the Green Apple Age Defy Collection because how could I pass up products that claimed to “Brighten, Lighten, Tighten”?

I’ve been using the products for a few weeks now and here are my thoughts:

Green Apple Cleansing Gel

I generally use old fashioned soap and water in the morning and evening. The Cleansing Gel has a nice, light green apple scent. It textured like a hand soap and was easy to apply and rinse off. My skin felt great after each application. It received a 1 (very low hazard score) on the Skin Deep site. Sold!

Green Apple Peel Full Strength

I enjoyed trying the peel. Again my skin felt fresh and clean after use. I don’t think I would use a peel on a regular basis. It seems too labor intensive. Juice Beauty recommends using the peel once a week. I guess I could handle that-especially if it’s going to smooth and firm my skin!

Green Apple Age Defy Serum

This serum comes in a pump bottle and I absolutely loved it. It was easy to apply and soaked into my skin without being greasy.

Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer

This was by far my favorite product. I loved the scent and the texture. My skin felt smooth and it wasn’t greasy or oily.

Repair Eye Treatment

I’m always hesitant to apply creams around my eyes since the skin is so sensitive. I tried this cream a few times-there was a very small sample in the kit. It went on easily and smelled like green apples! I think I would probably stick to using the moisturizer for my entire face, including my eyes.

What I love about Juice Beauty-their EcoChic Values:

  1. Clinically Validated Results: efficacy achieved through cutting edge organic technology.
  2. Authentically Organic: target a standard for all Juice Beauty products to fall within 80 – 98% total organic content. Meet California Organic Products Act minimum of 70% total organic content (excluding water) by using a certified organic base & ingredients.
  3. Powerful Action Without: Stay on the cutting edge of purity by excluding Parabens, petroleum, butylene and propylene glycol, PEG, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. Continual preservative improvement.
  4. Quality Aromas: Achieved from organic & natural essential oils (not synthetic fragrance).
  5. Support our USDA Certified Organic Farmers: Stay close to our suppliers.
  6. Buy Local: Buy the majority of our ingredients locally from the West Coast.
  7. Sustainable & Recycled: Use only sustainably sourced and/or recycled paper for all supplies, focus on recycled components  & recycle again.
  8. Solar Power & Gluten Free Labs: Manufacture the majority of our products using Solar Power and all manufacturing done in Gluten Free Labs.
  9. No Animal Testing: Conduct no animal testing.
  10. Give Back. Juice Beauty currently donates a percentage of all profits to the following charities: San Francisco Breast Cancer Fund; The Organic Center, Teens Turning Green; Conservation International and the documentary-Miss Representation.

A few of my wishes for Juice Beauty products

  • I have been searching high and low for a moisturizer that contains sun protection. I would be completely sold if the Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer included some SPF. Just checked their site and they have a moisturizer with 15 SPF-I’m sold!
  • There’s a lot of plastic packaging. I’m guessing glass packaging would be cost prohibitive, but it would be nice.

GIVEAWAY

Now it’s your chance to try out Juice Beauty products! Juice Beauty has generously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a $50 gift certificate to be applied towards the products of your choice.

For another opportunity to win this kit, Karen at EcoKaren s is also giving a $50 gift certificate away. Check that out HERE.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Thank you to Juice Beauty for a complimentary Green Apple Age Defy Collection. I didn’t receive any compensation for this Giveaway. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

 

May 1st, 2012

How to Make Your Own Lip Balm

Groovy Green Livin tin lip balm container

I don’t know about you, but my lips get pretty chapped as the warmer weather kicks in.  Before bed and in the morning I tend to slather on lip balm to keep my lips from chapping. Many over the counter lip balms contain all sorts of toxins and long ingredient names that are impossible to pronounce, so I’m hesitant to put them on my lips.

I’m not by definition a DIYer , but there are times when the urge to use those creative juices is hard to resist. I was DIY lip balm inspired when I saw a recipe for How to Make Naturally Tinted Lip Balm over at Frugally Sustainable. Since my three boys are constantly grabbing my chap stick and using it on their own lips I decided to focus on a color free version.  I was looking for a recipe that was:

  • Vegan
  • Simple to make
  • Toxin free

After several disastrous attempts I finally came up with my own recipe for lip balm and now it’s become an obsession!

Groovy Green Livin organic beeswax

Recipe for Non-Toxic Lip Balm

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 teaspoons beeswax (I bought my Organic Beeswax through Amazon and they also carry it at some Whole Foods Markets and other health food stores)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic honey
  • 5 teaspoons organic olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vitamin E oil
  • 1 teaspoon essential oil of your choice
  • Containers -either reuse containers or purchase a few tins.

DIRECTIONS:

  • In small double boiler (you can use two pans on top of each other), melt beeswax over low heat. Once melted add olive oil, honey and vitamin E. Once completely melted remove mixture from heat and add your favorite essential oil. I like ylang ylang or peppermint. Mix well.
  • Pour into lip balm tins or tubes. I chose stainless steel containers to avoid using plastic. This recipe will yield between three to four one ounce containers.  For my first attempt I reused a few old lip balm containers that were empty.
  • Let stand on counter until lip balm hardens and cools. Could take a few hours so be patient!

ENJOY!

Have you made your own lip balm?

Photos: Beeswax © Olga Volodina #7630422 and Angela Mabray/Flickr

There is an affiliate link in this post. If you use it, it will place a few pennies in my pocket. Thank you!

 

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.

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October 20th, 2011

36 Hours in Minnesota with J.R. Watkins Naturals

J.R. Watkins Naturals Building

It was a whirlwind of a trip, but so worth the journey.  J.R. Watkins Naturals invited me, along with 4 other bloggers, to visit their breathtaking headquarters located in Winona, Minnesota. Midwesterners are often viewed as friendlier than your average American and the employees of J.R. Watkins proved this to be true with their endearing Midwestern accents and gracious hospitality.
J.R. Watkins Naturals Blogger Visit

J.R. Watkins has been America’s pioneer in natural living-they’ve been around since 1868! The company’s line of personal care products is one of very few lines to be certified by the Natural Products Association.

Our day kicked off  with a tour of the J.R. Watkins  factory led by John, an extremely knowledgeable archivist,  who works for J.R. Watkins Naturals. During the tour we were able to watch a few of the production lines in action. It was fascinating  to see how the products are packaged, sorted and sealed.

J.R. Watkins production line

After the tour we sat down with the company’s President, Mark Jacobs and J.R. Rigley the VP of Sales and Marketing, along with several other J.R. Watkins team members. This was one of the highlights of the trip. We were able to speak candidly with the company about ingredients in their products and what it really meant to be “all natural”. I walked out of the meeting feeling very impressed by their openness and dedication to creating a true standard for all natural products. They company is committed to their community and works hard to practice “green” manufacturing.

Another highlight was being invited into the company’s test kitchen for an introduction to some new product lines that are being launched. Their baby products should  be hitting the shelves just in time for the holidays.

J.R. Watkins All Natural Baby Products

We were treated a bit like royalty and stayed in the Alexander Mansion, run by the fantabulous Richard.

Alexander Mansion

My room was pretty spectacular. It belonged to Mary, the well-loved maid of the Alexander family. My kids would have loved jumping on the bed. I had to resist the urge.

Alexander Mansion roomThe trip wouldn’t have been what it was (fantastic) without the wonderful people along the way. The employees of J.R. Watkins didn’t make it into any of my photos (how did that happen???), but I can’t say enough good things about them. The five bloggers came together from an eclectic assortment of blogs, and what a great group of women.

Watkins bloggersFrom left to right: Kiersten from The Type A Housewife, yours truly, Jennifer from Savoring the Thyme, Micaela from Mindful Momma and Jodi from Mom’s Favorite Stuff.

J.R Watkins Natural’s products are sold in quite a few retail shops. I recently spotted them at my local Whole Foods Market.

Have you spotted J.R. Watkins Naturals products?

[Photo of Watkins building, sign and production line courtesy of JodiGrundig/Flickr]

Disclosure: I was provided travel, lodging and J.R. Watkins products as part of this Behind The Scenes Tour at J.R. Watkins Headquarters. The opinions are my very own.

September 29th, 2011

5 Ways to Green Your Toilet Paper

green toilet paper

Toilet paper is a staple in every home and yet it’s rarely discussed. It needs more recognition. It’s a necessity- right up there with food, water and shelter- and our toilet paper choices are impacting the environment in a big way.

One would think that having three boys would actually help conserve toilet paper (they’re not supposed to need it for every visit to the bathroom)-au contraire -we go through the stuff at a ridiculous pace.

I wanted to put taboo topic of toilet paper on the table so I decided to take a quick toilet paper survey among a few friends. Here’s what I found:

  • Most were into some green cleaning and personal care products.
  • All use conventional toilet paper.
  • Price was a big factor in toilet paper selection.
  • Some used the same brand from their childhood (do you remember what toilet paper you used as a kid? I have no recollection).
  • The feel of the toilet paper was of utmost importance–the softer the better. “Green” toilet paper has a reputation of being scratchy and thin.

I found it interesting that some were really into green cleaning and personal care products, but drew the line at toilet paper.  I get it: extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply IS nice. But I worry about the chemicals that make it so soft and plush and then come in contact with our body. And how about the huge ecological consequences toilet paper manufacturing  is having on trees?

Thankfully there are a few ways to green your toilet paper habit.

  1. Use recycled toilet paper. I know what you’re thinking, but no worries the recycled toilet paper is made from recycled paper NOT recycled toilet paper! The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) says that if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees. Not only will we save trees-we’ll also save water and cut back on paper waste that continues to fill our overflowing landfills.
  2. Don’t use toilet paper that’s been bleached with chlorine.  White doesn’t necessarily mean bleached-there are other ways to whiten toilet paper. Look for products that are chlorine free.
  3. Count your squares. Be aware of how much you are using.  According to TreeHugger there is actually a right and wrong way to load your toilet paper onto the holder. If you stick to the “right” way (with the sheets coming over the top of the roll) you will waste less paper. Who knew?? 
  4. Don’t buy toilet paper that’s individually wrapped. Those individually wrapped rolls produce a lot of extra waste. Try to buy your toilet paper in bulk-there is much less packaging waste.
  5. Make sure the toilet paper has no added dyes and fragrances.

My toilet paper of choice

I know this is getting a little personal. I’ve tried my fair share of green toilet paper. Some of them were scratchy and thin and some fell apart during use (ewww factor). There is one that I’ve stuck by for a few years: Green Forest 12 Double roll pack or the Green Forest 4 roll pack . I don’t think it’s as soft as some of the big conventional choices, but it does the trick.

Also remember, keep your eyes open because green toilet paper does go on sale.

Time for you to share. Do you draw the line at “green” toilet paper? What brand of toilet paper do you buy and are you loyal to it? Does price impact which tp you choose?

Big thank you to my impromptu “toilet paper focus group”. You guys rock!

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Sharon Mollerus/Flickr]

Disclosure: there are a few Amazon Affiliate links in this post. If you decide to buy anything by clicking on them you will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!

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!

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About Lori

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 embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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