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February 27th, 2013

My Picks for Non-Toxic Body Lotions

Groovy Green Livin Body Lotions

Keeping in mind that our skin is our largest organ and happily soaks up toxic chemicals from all those products we are placing on our bodies, my quest to find a safe lotion was top priority. Using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as my guide I managed to find a few body lotions that passed the non-toxic test and have helped to keep my skin happy all winter.

My Picks for Non-Toxic Body Lotions

Emily Baby & Adult Skin Soother (Unscented) Groovy Green Livin Emily body lotion
This lotion is the absolute best for eczema. It was originally formulated for the company owner’s infant, Emily. There are are 5 natural, high quality ingredients. Nothing Else. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk)! After rubbing it on my son’s dry skin I use it on my hands. There is virtually no scent. Love this stuff.

Dolphin Organics Hypoallergenic Simply Citrus Body Lotion
Groovy Green Livin Dolphin Organics body lotion
Dolphin Organics line of products is marketed as ‘kids body care’ products, but our entire family uses them. The lotion is fantastic-wonderful scent and really does the job with no sticky leftovers. The lotion is somewhat thick so not a lot is needed for each application. This lotion was rated a one (zero being the least toxic) by Skin Deep.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Lotion

Groovy Green Livin Earth Mama Angel Baby body lotionThis is another great non-toxic body lotion option that’s not just for babies. I actually use this on my face. It’s a tiny bit greasy, but at night it works well. It has a light vanilla orange scent that isn’t overpowering. The lotion is NSF certified for containing organic ingredients. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

Tata Harper Reparative MoisturizerGroovy Green Livin Tata Harper body lotion
If you are prepared to fork over a few bucks Tata Harper is well worth the investment. I use this lotion only on my face since I’m trying to conserve the lotion and the container is relatively small. My kids don’t get to touch this one! The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a two (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Mineral Sheer MoisturizerGroovy Green Livin Juice Beauty body lotion

I reviewed Juice Beauty products a while back and was excited to discover that their moisturizer contained sun protection. This moisturizer blends chemical-free broad specturm SPF 30, and antioxidant rich grape, aloe and pomegranate juices for all skin types. It’s best used on your face and neck. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a three (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

What body lotions do you use?

photo credit: kicki22 via photopin cc

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made using the links will put a few pennies in my pockets. Thank you! All opinions are my very own.

January 10th, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Green Things

Groovy Green Livin Green Things

Many of us have those few tried and true green products that make their way into our lives on a daily basis. We’ve tried other green products, but they just don’t compare. Once we find a green product that works it becomes ingrained in our routine and we become somewhat dependent, knowing they are safe, non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

We learn from each other

Most of the green products I use come from recommendations from others and brands I trust. Here are a few of my favorite green products that somehow work their way into my daily routine.

Klean Kanteen. This stainless steel reusable water bottle comes with me to the gym, meetings and sits by me in my office while I’m working.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash . Yes, I still use ‘baby shampoo’. I love this stuff and it scores a big, fat ZERO on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic database. No toxins!

ECOnapkin Reusable Napkins. Reusable napkins make their way into my kids lunch boxes and onto our dinner table every night.

Better Life No Regrets Hand Soap. You’ll find this hand soap throughout our house. It smells delicious and is sulfate-free.

All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Fry Pan. We use this pan so much that I never put it away. My kids love to cook eggs, french toast and pancakes. Cleaning stainless steel is a breeze if you follow these simple instructions.

Reusable Shopping Tote by ChicoBag . These are fantastic! They hold up to 25 lbs and easily stuff into a small pouch for storage. I carry a few in my purse so I have no excuse for forgetting my reusable bags.

I’m sure there are more, but these are things I’ve already used today.

What are your favorite green products?

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

There are a few affiliate links in this post which if used will put a few pennies in my pocket and help support this blog. All opinions are my very own.

June 18th, 2012

4 Natural Sunscreens {Review}

Groovy Green Livin Summer Natural Sunscreen

Summer is upon us and there’s no question, the best form of sun protection is to stay out of the sun. But that’s just not realistic.  The next best form of natural sunscreen is to cover up your delicate skin with sun protective clothing, sunglasses and a cute floppy hat. Most of us know that it’s not realistic to stay out of the sun or cover-up 24/7, so we need to turn to sunscreen for some additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays.  If you’ve taken a walk down the sunscreen aisle you know that there  are literally hundreds to choose from.

I’m always on the quest for the safest sunscreen. Using a combination of EWG’s Skin Deep Sunscreen Guide and my friend Kathy the SafeMama’s 2012 SafeMama Safer Sunscreen Cheat Sheet, I’m generally able to find a great selection of sunscreens that are both safe and effective.

This season I had the chance to try out 4 natural sunscreens-a few were new to the market this season and the others were new to me. Here’s what I found:

DO Naturals SPF 32 by Dolphin OrganicsDolphin Organics sunscreen

  • Price: $19.99 for 3 oz.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: 2 out of 10 (low hazard) on their hazard scale.
  • Texture: I really like the ease in application of this sunscreen. It isn’t thick and soupy, but rather light and creamy. This allows for a smooth application. My kids were able to apply it themselves and actually rub it in. After application there is a slight while film.
  • Scent: This mineral sunscreen is fragrance free and hypoallergenic.
  • Other Ingredients: The list is relatively long, but nothing jumped out as a red flag. For those with a nut allergy, this sunscreen does contain almond oil.
  • Verdict: Thumbs up Dolphin Organics!

Marie Veronique Kid Safe Screen, SPF 25+

  • Price: $24.00 for 2.7 oz.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Non-nano zinc oxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: 1 out of 10 (low hazard) on hazard scale.
  • Texture: My kids have been begging me for a spray on sunscreen and we were excited to see that this comes in a spray bottle.  The sunscreen doesn’t really ‘spray’ out as you would expect. It comes out in a stream of lotion. The lotion is very transparent and doesn’t leave a white film at all.
  • Scent: There is a slight scent that I didn’t mind-smells a bit like tea (the first ingredient on the label).
  • Other Ingredients: The list is short compared to other sunscreens and I didn’t see anything that was unpronounceable or concerning.
  • Verdict: The sunscreen is wonderful-easy to apply, no white film and no questionable ingredients. My only concern is the price. With a family of five and knowing how much sunscreen we go through each summer, it would cost us a fortune to keep covered up all season. Thumbs up on the screen. Thumbs down on the price.

Groovy Green Livin Honest SunscreenThe Honest Company Honest Sunscreen, SPF 20

  • Price: $13.95 for 3 oz.
  • Active Ingredient(s): Non-nano zinc oxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: 1 out of 10 (low hazard) on hazard scale.
  • Texture: As I found out quickly, you must shake this before use. The lotion is quite thick and spreads easily. Various types of oil (olive and jojoba) are ingredients, making the lotion a bit greasy. There is a slight white/off white tint to the skin after application. I happen to like the white tint-I can tell if my kids did a good job applying their own lotion.
  • Scent: This lotion is fragrance-free.
  • Other Ingredients: There are only 8 ingredients on the list and most are organic. Nothing jumped out as a potential hazard.
  • Verdict: I really like the small number of ingredients used to make this sunscreen-most of them being organic. The cost is reasonable. My only complaint is that the lotion is somewhat thick and greasy. Possibly good for the body, but you might want to use something different on your face. I tried it on my face and looked quite ghostly.  Thumbs up on the ingredient list. Thumbs down on the greasiness and white residue after application.

J.R. Watkins SPF 30 Sun Screen 4oz

     

  • Price: $8.99 for 4 oz.Groovy Green Livin J.R. Watkins Naturals sunscreen
  • Active Ingredient(s): Titanium Dioxide
  • EWG’s Skin Deep Rating: Not rated
  • Texture: The lotion spreads very well. Squeezes out easily and application is a breeze. The lotion is an off white and leaves a slight white film after application.
  • Scent: Like most J.R. Watkins products, their sunscreen smells incredible-a combination of aloe and green tea. For those with sensitivities to strong scents this might not be the right sun protection for you.
  • Other Ingredients: The list is fairly long and contained quite a few ingredients that had long, unfamiliar names.  I searched on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Data Base and on SafeMama.com for a rating and as far as I can tell it hasn’t received a rating as of yet.  Being unfamiliar with most of the ingredients, I went on EWG’s site and researched each ingredient. Most were listed as “low hazard” with a few falling into the “moderate hazard” category.  Overall, there weren’t any that elicited any major concerns.
  • Verdict: I really like the smell of this sunscreen, but my kids did not. The scent was too strong for them.Overall, the lotion was easy to apply and a small amount went a long way. The ingredient list was quite lengthy and some of the ingredients were unknown to me.  Thumbs up on ease of application and the reasonable price. Thumbs sideways on the scent and ingredient list.

What’s your favorite sunscreen?

Disclosure: I was sent samples of all the sunscreens to test out. I didn’t receive any compensation for writing the reviews and the opinions contained in this article are my very own.

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

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 3rd, 2012

Green Questions Groovy Answers-How to Recycle Teflon

Groovy Green Livin Recycle Teflon pans

Welcome to week two of Green Questions, Groovy Answers. A big thank you to everyone who submitted their excellent name suggestions for this new weekly column. Rebecca from Natural Mothers Network came up with the winner: Green Questions Groovy Answers. Thank you Rebecca! If you have a question you would like answered please submit it through the comment section, Facebook, Twitter or shoot me an email.

This weeks question came from @twituva on Twitter.

What should I do with my old Teflon non-stick pans? Is there a preferable way to recycle/discard them?

Despite the ease and con­ve­nience of non-stick pots and pans such as Teflon, many health conscious people are tossing their non-stick and replacing them with healthier options.

What’s wrong with Teflon?

Non-stick pots and pans are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. Teflon is toxic. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures have lead to many pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year.

Thankfully, there are many green and non-toxic alternatives on the market.

Now the 20 million dollar question: What do we do with all of our old Teflon and non-stick pans?

This is a challenging question. Do we really want to donate something that could potentially harm someone else?  If we throw them in the trash they’ll end up lying around in an overflowing landfill, leaching toxins into the soil. So what’s the answer?

I decided to turn this tough question over to some of my favorite green gurus in the blogosphere to see what they had to say.

Nancy from Surviving and Thriving on Pennies says ” I donated mine to Goodwill a few years back. What I think is bad might be a perfectly good pan to others. In a way helping others get stuff for cheaper. Still bothers me though.”

Suzanne from Mommy Footprint has a fantastic suggestion and Karen from EcoKaren agrees : “tough one…many play-based preschools have sand boxes with pretend kitchens. This is the perfect spot for discarded Teflon…it won’t be heated back up!”

Deanna Duke from Crunchy Chicken suggested “As much as I hate passing the toxic buck to someone else, giving it to Goodwill is a decent option. If someone else buys it, then that’s one less new pan being purchased and, in the end, produced.” Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green agrees that donating the pans is a good option.

Anna from Green Talk came up with a few creative uses for those non-stick pans: “I wonder if you could put a picture in the middle of the pan and create kitchen art. Lots of people have those hanging pot racks. Or maybe you could take the handle off and use the pot for plant drainage.”

Diane from Big Green Purse came up with an interesting thought “Why not send them back to the manufacturer?”

Beth from My Plastic Free Life agreed with Diane “I love Diane’s idea of sending them back to the manufacturer with a letter explaining why. I donated mine to Goodwill. I don’t like ‘passing the buck’ either, but I figure if someone wants Teflon pans, better they use my old ones than buy new ones and encourage the market for Teflon.”

What do you do with your old Teflon pans?

[Photo used under creative commons from Jerry Pank/Flickr]

Linked up to Natural Mothers Network

April 3rd, 2012

5th Grade Puberty Video: Deodorant v. Antiperspirant

Deodorant-©-mangostock-Fotolia.com

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?

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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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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