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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 2nd, 2014

Steam Cleaning Without Toxic Chemicals: HAAN Review

Groovy Green Livin Steam Cleaning HAAN

Steam cleaning isn’t something that’s generally on my radar. I get a lot of pitches to review products and some of them are a good fit for this site and others are not. When a  cool and interesting product lands on my desk I sometimes just feel the need to share.

When I was offered the opportunity to review the HAAN MultiforcePro SS-25 I was intrigued.

I was drawn to this product because there are no chemicals needed for steam cleaning. As a matter of fact, all HAAN products are 100% chemical free.

The steam cleaning happens with some high-speed scrubbing and buffing motion that works in tandem with 20 evenly dispersed steam jets. If you push a special button on the front of the cleaner the CR Motion™ (counter-reciprocating) kicks in. It basically creates a scrubbing action while the steam cleans….without any toxic chemicals!

The most impressive feature of this steam cleaner- you can use it inside and outside. The HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaneris capable of cleaning almost any surface, including tile, vinyl, hardwood, laminate, carpet, wooden deck boards and stone patios. 

How to Use the MultiforcePro SS-25 for Steam Cleaning

I was a bit intimidated when I initially opened the box. There were quite a few pieces. After reading through the short instruction booklet I put the pieces together with little effort. I was ready for some steam cleaning.

Our home is mostly hard wood flooring with some tile and a bit of carpet mixed in.

There’s one area in our front foyer that is tiled. A small corner of the tile was where our dog’s bowl of water and food used to sit. Over time the grout has gradually turned a dark shade of dirty. I was resigned to the fact that this was the way it needed to stay until we ripped it out.

This was the area I was going to test out.

Groovy Green Livin Steam Cleaning HAAN

After the push of a button I was ready to go. The HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner makes a loud vibrating noise while the water is heating. It only takes about 44 seconds for the water to heat and then you’re good to go.

I went over the tiles a few times slowly. After letting it cool and dry off I think it made a difference. Some of the dirt was removed. I’m interested to see how it works on a carpet spill and on outdoor surfaces. According to HAAN, using their product kills 99.9% of common household germs, bacteria, and dust mites.

Groovy Green Livin Steam Cleaning

Next stop: Our outside deck.

The HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner took home a “Best in Category” honor at the 2014 Housewares Design Awards.  Before that, it was named one of This Old House magazine’s Top 100 Best New Home Products of 2012.

If you’re in the market for a chemical free steam cleaner take a peek at HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner.

Price: $229.95

Have you tried steam cleaning? 

Disclosure: Thank you to HAAN for providing me with a  HAAN Multiforce Pro SS-25 Steam Cleaner for this review. I did not receive any compensation for this post and the opinions expressed are my very own. 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 support!




March 1st, 2013

Ditch the Chemicals with Organic Bedding by Ettitude

Groovy Green Livin Organic bedding

Organic bedding in a child’s bedroom seems a bit extravagant. Well it did at first, but then I changed my mind. Here’s why.

Why chose organic bedding?

If you’re on a green journey you probably spend a lot of time searching for non-toxic personal care products and safe foods to eat. With almost 1/3 of our lives spent in bed, what we have in our bedrooms does affect us.

Many conventional bedding options contain formaldehyde and chemical dyes. Not good. Especially since most children spend a lot of time in their beds. My kids read in bed and they are just starting to sleep late. As teenagers I’m sure they’ll be in their beds a lot if they take after their mom or dad.

Organic bedding doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that regular bedding has.

Organically produced goods must be produced without the use of:

  • Antibiotics
  • Synthetic hormones
  • Genetic engineering
  • Other excluded practices
  • Sewage sludge
  • Irradiation


I recently tested out  organic bedding  from another company that ended up on my bed. As I mentioned, I’m slowly replacing old sheets with organic bedding. My next move was to find an organic sheet set for my kids. The timing was perfect when ettitude asked me to test out a sheet set.

Ettitude is an Australian based company founded by Phoebe Yu. She launched the shop in 2008 with the vision of making eco conscious living easy, affordable, and rewarding through a convenient online shopping environment.

The site isn’t limited to organic bedding. Ettitude sells bath towels, clothing and accessories, eco gifts and much more. I’ll be reviewing and giving away some of their bamboo socks in a few weeks!

Ettitude Organic Bamboo Sheets

Groovy green Livin Ettitude organic bedding

Ettitude’s organic bedding arrived in a cotton reusable bag that I’ve been using ever since as a produce bag.

The sheets are unbelievably soft. So soft that I have to admit that I want them on my bed! They are made from 100% bamboo and are true 300 thread count. According to their site: “Bamboo fabric can adjust to your body temperature, all of our bamboo bedding has very fast natural wicking abilities that allow it to be 3-4 times more absorbent than other fabrics”

Bamboo is a renewable resource, capable of regenerating without replanting.

If you like soft, luxurious sheets these are for you. My son comments every night on how soft his sheets are.

Be prepared to fork over a few bucks for these sheets. They’re not inexpensive. Depending upon the size of your bed the sheets can range from $152 for a single bed set up to $203 for a king bed sheet set.

Do you think organic bedding is worth the cost? 

Photo credit © Sue Scarfe #6508977

Disclosure: I received a set of organic bamboo sheets from Ettitude for review. The opinions are my very own.

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.

August 14th, 2012

{Review and Giveaway} Refuse Plastic with Stainless Steel Cups and Straws


Groovy Green Livin Live Essential Safe Products

The ESP family. Hannah, the company President, is in red.

Essential Safe Products(ESP) has been a long-time supporter of Groovy Green Livin and I’m honored to have them on board. The site was started by a Florida mother of six who has always been dedicated to providing a healthy and safe environment for her family. She created ESP as a one-stop, easy and friendly resource for those looking to learn about and lead a non-toxic lifestyle in the kitchen and on-the-go. The site is great-offering a large selection of kitchenware and many other products that are free from toxic chemicals.

Groovy Green Livn Essential Safe ProductsThe site is filled with many non-toxic and eco-friendly products. Slowly I’ve been replacing things in my home with safer alternatives and ESP’s been helping me through the process. I’ve been using the glass Lifefactory water bottle for quite a while and it’s wonderful. I also ordered a few stainless steel cookie sheets and finally ditched the last non-stick holdouts in my kitchen.

Replacing plastic cups

Groovy Green Livin Klean Kanteen Stainless CupOver the years I’ve replaced our plastic kiddie cups with glass. We have some nice glasses that we keep higher up on the shelves and then there are the ‘kid’ friendly glasses that are strategically placed within reach for the shorter (aka those under 12) people in our house. The glasses on the lower shelves generally have a life expectancy under 1 month.  They are dropped regularly and replaced frequently.

Stainless steel Klean Kanteen Pint Cup

When Hannah from Essential Safe Products offered to send me a Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Pint Cup I was so excited. Finally a solution to the frequent glass shattering on the kitchen floor. After using this cup for a few weeks I have fallen head-over-heels in love.  It’s durable, reusable, BPA-free, stackable and can be thrown in the dishwasher with the rest of our Klean Kanteen water bottles.  The cup is perfect for the beach -no paper or plastic cups needed-and it keeps our drinks nice and cold.

No more plastic straws. Try RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Straws – pack of 4

Groovy Green Livin Stainless Steel Straws

Stainless steel straws at Hannah's wedding!

Everyone knows that an organic smoothie tastes better with a straw-or at least my kids think so.

Groovy Green Livin The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - GRAMMY Gift Lounge - Day 3

Neil Patrick Harris

We’ve been trying to kick the plastic straw habit for quite some time, but to no avail. It’s hard to say no at a restaurant with three kids in tow. ESP to the rescue. I received 4 RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Straws to try out. They are fantastic. I can throw them in my bag and they are ready for the next drink or smoothie that comes my way. They are dishwasher safe, reusable, and help our family avoid single-use plastic straws. My only concern is that they will get dirty or grimy inside over time and they’ll be impossible to clean-but it hasn’t happened yet.


Thanks to the generosity of the folks at ESP- they are giving one Groovy Green Livin reader:

  • 1 Stainless Steel Pint Cup
  • 4 Stainless Steel Straws
  • 2 Reusable produce bags (the same bags given to celebrities at the GRAMMYs and Oscars!!)

By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My friend Stephanie is also hosting an Essential Safe Products(ESP) giveaway. Head on over to her site, Good Girl Gone Green, and enter to win a Rebel Green Organic Cotton lunch tote.

Disclosure: ESP generously sent me a Klean Kanteen Pint and 4 Stainless Steel Straws to test out. The opinions are my very own.

July 9th, 2012

How to Beat Insomnia Naturally

Groovy Green Livin Insomnia

After the birth of my third child I suffered from insomnia that lasted well beyond the newborn phase. For those of you who haven’t experienced insomnia it’s pretty awful. During that year (yes, 12 months) of sleepless nights there were times when I was able to fall right asleep, but would then wake up and stare at the ceiling for hours unable to fall back asleep. There were other times when I was unable to fall asleep from the get-go and would lie awake for hours listening to my husbands sleeping breath, feeling envious of  his uncanny ability to fall asleep the minute his head hits the pillow. I was desperate to find a way out of this horrible, sleep-deprived state.

Insomnia stats

  • More than 30% of the population suffers from insomnia.
  • Between 40% and 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia.
  • Women are up to twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men.
  • Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. use prescription sleep aids.

I turned to a combination of natural, non-toxic remedies for insomnia that ultimately did the trick-it took time and it wasn’t easy.  I’ve happily joined the ranks of  “those” people whose eyes close the minute their head hits the pillow.


Acupuncture has been a part of my life for many years. I have used it for everything from plantar fasciitis to the flu. I knew from past experience that acupuncture really worked, so it was worth a shot for insomnia.

Through the insertion of needles into pressure points around the body, acupuncture helps to activate the body’s qi (our bodies natural energy or life-force) throughout the body. Insomnia was letting me know that my body was out of balance.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can pave the way for a good night’s sleep.

  • Caffeine in moderation is OK, but there is such a thing as too much caffeine and it messes with your sleep.
  • Avoid processed sugar and processed foods-especially before bedtime.
  • Consume foods that are rich in magnesium: leafy green vegetables, pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds, salmon and halibut contain high levels of magnesium.
  • Drink chamomile tea which contains tryptophan (also found in turkey), an amino acid known for its tranquilizing effects. When taken as a tea infusion, these properties act as a relaxant in our bodies and help to promote sleep.

Relaxation techniques

During my stint with insomnia I turned immediately towards my yoga practice. Kripalu style yoga was a perfect fit at the time-a combination of relaxation, meditation and postures. There are so many different types of yoga so it’s important to find a practice that meets your needs. I also went regularly to my massage therapist.


When I’m desperate for relief  I often find myself buying out the entire Whole Body section at Whole Foods. I’m not big on taking anything, but I decided to try out a few natural sleep aides to see if anything would help. I was most interested in finding something that wasn’t addictive or would cause grogginess in the morning. Most of the products I purchased contained valarian. Valarian is a flowering plant that is native to both Europe and Asia and is now also grown in North America, has long been used medicinally particularly for sleep.

The combination of all of these things helped me put an end to sleepless nights. The trick is to find a combination of remedies that work for you.

Have you ever had insomnia? What do you do to  get a good night’s sleep?

© Dan Race –

Linked up with Farmer’s Daughter and Natural Mothers Network.

*I’m not a physician. If insomnia persists please seek medical attention.

June 21st, 2012

How to Have a Green Momma Party

Groovy Green Livin Green Momma Party

This is a guest post from Cassidy Randall. Cassidy is the Campaign and Outreach Manager at Women’s Voices for the Earth, a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that harm women’s health.

Green Momma Party

Of course you want to protect your baby from toxic chemicals lurking in your home – who doesn’t? But trying to figure out what groovy Green Livin Green Momma Party Guidethose harmful chemicals are, where they might be hiding, and finding the safe alternatives can get overwhelming, fast. And the thought of doing all that on your own? Forget it!

Detoxing your home shouldn’t be a chore. So make it a party instead! A Green Momma Party, that is.

What is a Green Momma Party?

Green Momma Parties make creating a non-toxic home fun with a room-by-room guide for eliminating harmful chemicals, do-it-yourself recipes, and how-to videos. And even better – this is a party with a purpose. By hosting or going to a Green Momma Party, you’re not just taking steps to detox your home – you’re raising your voice to demand safer products in the first place.

Women have some incredible power for making meaningful change when it comes to eliminating toxic chemicals that impact the health of our families. At a Green Momma Party, you’ll get the chance to use it.

Did you know that women make 85% of purchasing decisions? That’s a ton of consumer power that we can use to convince companies to make safe products. Or did you know that regardless of political party, women consistently rate chemicals in the environment as a top concern? That’s also a hefty amount of political power to influence legislators to protect your health. When you raise your voice, major corporations and national policy-makers listen.

So how does a party fit into this? The Green Momma Party Guide, free for download on Women’s Voices for the Earth’s website, has everything you need to host a fabulous party, including Five Take Action Tips for Busy Mommas. Taking action is actually built into the agenda, between the room-by-room guide to avoiding harmful chemicals and making your own DIY recipes for healthy products. After you and your party guests have learned about toxic chemicals to avoid and economical solutions from the room-by-room guide, you’ll be fired up to take action to ensure that toxic chemicals don’t end up in our products in the first place. With just the click of a button on a laptop or smartphone, you’re using your consumer power to tell companies you want safer products, and to tell legislators that you want them to protect your health.

And don’t underestimate the click of a button. Your voice matters, and when you raise it, major corporations and elected officials listen.

What’s in the Green Momma Party Guide:

  • Room-by-Room Guide of hidden hazards and practical solutions
  • Do-it-Yourself recipes & how-to videos for each recipe
  • Non-Toxic Shopping Guide
  • Five Take Action Tips for Green Mommas
  • How to Host a Green Momma Party
  • Suggested agenda
  • Discussion Guide for the host to keep the conversation flowing

So, are you ready to detox your home, make a difference, and have fun? Sign up to host a Green Momma Party today!

Photo © Jo Ingate #5111897


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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

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