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February 5th, 2014

My Picks for Non-Toxic Shampoos

Groovy Green Livin Shampoos

I have struggled over the years trying to find non-toxic shampoos that actually work. It always a two step process. First the research, making sure the ingredients are safe and non-toxic. Second, the family stamp of approval. The shampoos have to smell nice and our hair needs to feel clean. We weren’t asking for much.

Keeping in mind that our skin, including our scalp, is part of 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 shampoo has been top priority. Using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as my guide I managed to find a few shampoos that passed the non-toxic test and then received the family stamp of approval.

My Picks for Non-Toxic Shampoos

(Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site.).

Earth Mama-Angel Baby Organic Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

Groovy Green Livin Shampoo

Our go-to shampoo this year is Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. This product isn’t only for babies! It has a slight citrus scent that isn’t overpowering. The shampoo comes in a self-foaming pump bottle. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

$9.00 for 5.3 oz

Hugo Naturals Balancing Shampoo

Groovy Green Livin ShampoosThis shampoo is new for me and I’m really liking it. I know that lather doesn’t mean that a shampoo is working well, however I do like a shampoo that lathers. Hugo Naturals Balancing Shampoos really do lather, which is rare for a non-toxic shampoo. The coconut scented variation has a slight vanilla coconut scent that is really nice. Although the data is listed as “limited”, the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk). 

$9.99 for 12 oz

Acure Organics Shampoo

Groovy Green Livin Shampoos
I recently spotted Acure Organics Shampoo on the shelf at my local Whole Foods Market and decided to give it a try. I visited the company website and liked what I saw. Their mission is to create high quality skin care products made from the purest, fair trade, natural and certified organic ingredients.  More good news- I could pronounce most of the ingredients! The smell is interesting (can’t quite place my finger on what it is) and mild. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a one (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk). 

$9.99 for 8 oz
Groovy Green Livin non-toxic shampoo

John Masters Organics Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair

Although this shampoo isn’t big on the lather, it makes up for it in other areas. The shampoo is made with 15 certified-organic ingredients and is gluten-free. John Masters Organics Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate. The lavender and rosemary scent is very pleasant. The shampoo is a bit pricey ($16.00 fr 8 fl oz). The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a two (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk).

$16.oo for 8 oz

What’s your favorite non-toxic shampoo?

If you’re looking for a non-toxic body lotion take a look at my pick for non-toxic body lotions HERE.

Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you. (Read all the fine print here.)
photo credit: stirwise via photopin cc

October 3rd, 2013

5 Simple Steps to a Greener Life – VIDEO

 

Groovy Green Livin Greener

Remember when I traveled to New York to film 5 short videos for Manilla covering the many ways we can all lead a greener life?

The first video is ready to share! I would love to hear what you think.

Simple Steps to a Greener Life

If you’re not a green king or queen, switching to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle can be daunting. Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce your environmental impact without drastically impacting your daily life.

1.     Phase out plastics from your home—especially those used for food storage:

Plastics can leak harmful toxic chemicals into our food, which can affect our long-term health. Switch to glass storage containers to ensure that your food stays fresh and you stay healthy.

2.     Switch to reusable bags:

The next time you visit the supermarket, bring along reusable bags. Leave them in the front seat of your car or in another visible spot so that you remember them. Not only will you be saving the environment, but you’ll also be reducing the clutter in your home.

3.     Start using non-toxic cleaning products:

Conventional cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals that don’t belong in your home. Instead, try to find brands that don’t contain harsh chemicals like. ammonia, synthetic fragrance, chlorine bleach, parabens and phosphates, or consider making your own cleaning supplies.

4.     Replace your personal care items with safe, non-toxic alternatives:

The most eco-friendly way to a greener life is to replace items with environmentally conscious alternatives as you run out of them. When your shampoos or other personal care items run low, replace them with non-toxic products like those found on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. If a product has a high hazard score, it shouldn’t be coming in contact with your body.

5.     Leave your shoes at the door:

While the Jones’ lawn might be green, it’s also full of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. All of those toxins march right into your living space when you wear your shoes from outdoors into your home. Create a space outside or in the garage where you can kick off your shoes until the next time you venture outside.

I would love to hear your steps for a greener life! 

The video is also airing on the Manilla blog and at Yahoo! Finance. More videos are coming so stay tuned! 

photo credit: epSos.de via photopin cc

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.

<
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.

 

April 26th, 2012

What is Baking Soda?

 

Baking Soda

Lately I’ve been receiving oodles of amazing green questions from Groovy Green Livin readers through Facebook, Twitter and email.  I love that so many of you are reaching out. While I try to answer each and every question individually, there are times when it’s impossible. There are also many times when your fabulous questions deserve to be shared. So in light of all of the above, I’ve decided to create a weekly post dedicated to your questions!

This weeks question comes from a longtime groovy green friend and was raised during our monthly book club.

Baking soda is touted as an all natural cleaner and we use it for so many things, but I have no idea what it is and where  it comes from. Can you help?

What is baking soda?

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. In its natural form, baking soda is called nahcolite, taking its name from its chemical formula.

Where does it come from?

It comes from Green River, Wyoming. What a claim to fame! The Green River area is known as the “Trona Capital of the World.” Trona is mined underground. So what is trona?

It is a naturally-occurring mineral that is chemically known as sodium sesquicarbonate. Trona is the raw material which is refined into soda ash. Soda ash, in turn, is used to make glass, paper products, laundry detergents, and many other products. It also is used in the manufacturing of other chemicals, such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium phosphates (detergents).

All of the baking soda used in the US, and 25% of baking soda used worldwide, comes from the vast trona mines of Green River, WY.

Is baking soda non-toxic?

Baking soda is considered very safe and non-toxic. So many foods contain baking soda. I use it to bake with constantly. It doesn’t taste very good straight up, but you technically could take a teaspoon of baking soda and eat it.

Any environmental issues with baking soda?

My friend Umbra over at Grist raises an interesting environmental issue with regard trona mining:

“…the wastewater is very salty, and when it is piped away to a holding pond, it can make the birds that visit said pond fall sick, and sometimes drown.”

What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder?

Baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate (the only ingredient in baking soda), but it includes the acidifying agent already (cream of tarter), and also a drying agent (usually starch). You can substitute baking powder for baking soda, but you can’t use baking soda in place of baking powder.

Baking soda uses

There are so many amazing uses for baking soda. I use it for everything from baking to cleaning. Think outside of the cookie box and the baking soda options are endless. Here are a few great resources to help find ways to use baking soda that may not have crossed your mind.

How do you use baking soda?

Now I need some help from you: I would like to name my weekly Q & A post with a catchy title-something like Dear Groovy Green Livin (but much more creative!). Let me know if you have any ideas! Also, send your groovy green questions to me and you could be featured as next weeks question of the week!

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Deb Nystrom/Flickr]

Linked up to Natural Mothers Network

March 19th, 2012

Green Moms Unite to Talk About Toxic Chemicals

Green moms unite

 

Everything from the food we eat to our cleaning products, furniture, personal care products and our yards can contain toxic chemicals. No one wants to be exposed to these harmful chemicals, but where do we begin? How do we sort through all the information? Sometimes it just makes sense to combine forces to find an answer. The astonishing and knowledgeable women of  the Green Moms Carnival have once again joined together to share their wisdom, tips and stories, helping to shed some light on a confusing and overwhelming issue: how to keep toxins out of our home.

green moms carnivalTIPS FOR KEEPING TOXIC CHEMICALS OUT OF YOUR HOME

Brenna of Almost All the Truth has written an in-depth  post about Keeping Our Homes Free of Unwanted Toxins. She talks about making changes and doing it one small step at a time.

Shane from Environmental Booty shares 3 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Family’s Exposure to Harmful Chemicals in Your Home. Shane had the opportunity to meet the Deputy Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, Lindsay Dahl!

Margie from Healthy Child Healthy World shares Eight Steps to Purging Toxic Chemicals From Your Home. Healthy Child Healthy World’s motto says it all: “No one can do everything but everyone can do something”.

Abbie aka Farmer’s Daughter has a few ideas to Keep Toxins Out of Our Home.

Amber from Strocel.com shares Eight Tips for Avoiding Toxins that she gathered from talking with other green minded folks.

Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green put together a great list of 5 ways to Help Create a Non-toxic Environment.

Kathy aka Safe Mama has a few good tips for Keeping Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home.

According to Erin from Green Kids Guide there are  three primary ways that toxins enter our bodies. She shows us how to Keep toxins out of your body with the 3 points of entry.

NON-TOXIC CLEANING

Diane from Big Green Purse shares Clean and Green Dry Cleaning Methods Reduce Your Exposure to Toxic Chemicals.

Lisa from Condo Blues makes her own green cleaners and adorable labels. She explains why her Homemade Green Cleaner Labeling Privileges Have Been Revoked.

Karen from Best Of Mother Earth shows us how we can have a Self Cleaning Bathroom when we avoid using toxic cleaners.

Wondering where to start once you decide to make your home green and healthy? Tiffany over at Nature Moms has a few suggestions in her post:  Green Housekeeping and Protecting Your Family from Hidden Household Dangers.

Micaela from Mindful Momma shares some info on the 3 Most Toxic Cleaning Products.

Charise from I Thought I Knew Mama has 5 Green Living, Spring Cleaning Tips to share.  You’ve got to stop by to check out the adorable baby photo.

Have you ever noticed that horrible smell when you self-clean your oven? Suzanne of Mommy Footprint shares a very interesting post on Self Cleaning Ovens – Toxic For Humans or Only Birds?

Being green and toxin free doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love shows us how to Decrease Toxins with 4 Frugal Cleaning Ingredients.

NON-TOXIC PRODUCTS

Beth at My Plastic Free Live sheds some light on how BPA-Free Does Not Mean Safe.

Did you know that many plastic food containers contain antibacterial chemicals like Triclosan? Beth from My Plastic Free Life talks about how to Get the Antibacterials Out of Your Plastic!

Have you been wondering if Toxic Chemicals are Lurking in Your Furniture and Building Products? Anna from Green Talk shares what to look for when you bring new products into your home.

Do you love or hate that new car smell? CelloMom let’s you in on what’s behind that smell in her post: New car smell: good, bad or ugly?

Have you heard of a Soda Stream? Mary from In Women We Trust talks about how you can create a Toxic-Free Home with a Soda Stream.

Micaela aka Mindful Momma has a few suggestions for Non-Toxic Healthy Art Supplies.

Katy from Non-Toxic Kids participated in a body burden study and discovered that she had a high rate of Deca, a flame retardant.  She explains what Deca is and how to Reduce Your Family’s Exposure to Deca (a flame retardant).

Betsy from Eco-Novice sheds some light on Avoiding Toxins in Baby Products. Betsy has a three month old and this is her third child. She has lot of tips to share about what she’s learned along the way.

Danika from Your Organic Life talks about the whys and hows of buying second hand furniture in her post: Buying 2nd-Hand Furniture that’s Off-Gassed from Model Homes.

INSPIRATION FOR NON-TOXIC LIVING

Carolyn of Women of Green shares a podcast with Liberty Phoenix, the sister of River and Joaquin Phoenix. Liberty’s story is heart-wrenching: she experienced the death of her baby due to toxic out-gassing in his nursery and started a green building store so no other parent would have to ever experience what she did.

I was and continue to be inspired by the untimely loss of a 5 year old boy in our community to cancer. His family’s strength and perseverance inspired me to find ways to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of My Home.

Harriet aka Climate Mama focuses on Keeping our Air Clean and Our Children Safe while shedding some light on the Clean Air Act.

Whew! That was a lot of good information. What are your tips for keeping toxins out of your home?

Photo © Alx – Fotolia.com

 

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.

GIVEAWAY

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 23rd, 2012

Softcup: Green and Reusable

ski poles

This past week was school vacation week for many families on the east coast. We are big alpine skiers and try to spend our vacations out on the slopes. Although there hasn’t been much snow this season, we still managed to get some skiing in. Most of the days were spent gearing up three children in snow pants, ski boots and helmets so we could spend the majority of the day outside on the mountain.

For those of you who are non-skiers, skiing generally entails being outside, in a remote area, for hours at a time. When you need a bathroom break there’s not always a bathroom in close range. Finding one can take a while and then using it can be a big production. The skis need to come off, the multiple layers of ski gear needs to be shed and somehow you need to get to the bathroom in those big, clunky ski boots. Not a small effort. Add changing a tampon or pad to the mix and there’s no question I would have been sitting in the lodge with a cup of hot cocoa (for those of you not interested in hearing about tampons, pads and reusable menstrual cups now’s your chance to opt out of the discussion).

As some of you know, I started using a reusable Softcup a few months ago. I’ve been reporting to you on my progress and it’s been slow and steady. This month I’m feeling a bit more comfortable with it and can finally say that I have successfully greened my period.

What does “greening” your period mean?

Fifty to 70 percent of American women use tampons. A typical woman can use anywhere between 8,000 to 17,000 tampons in her lifetime. The number varies quite a bit since every woman is unique and her cycle is different. The average woman throws away up to 300 pounds of feminine hygiene related products in a lifetime. That’s a tremendous amount of waste. Then there’s the plastic wrapper around the tampon box or pads and the paper or plastic packaging around every box and individual tampon or pad. I haven’t even mentioned the cardboard or plastic applicator. So much waste.

The process to make each and every tampon and pad also involves a lot of waste. The cotton alone is resource intensive as the farming of cotton requires large amounts of water, pesticides and fertilizer.

Using organic tampons and pads reduces the amount of waste on the production end, but doesn’t solve the actual waste of the product and packaging.

Reusable Softcup menstrual cupReusable Softcup

Reusable Softcup is a menstrual cup that can be worn for up to 12 hours and reused throughout one menstrual cycle. The cup is worn internally, around your cervix, and it collects rather than absorbs menstrual flow. It’s non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, latex-free and completely safe when used as directed.

Softcup is affordable and an eco-friendly alternative to conventional tampons and pads. Think of all the waste that’s avoided by using a resuable menstrual cup.

Back to skiing

I still have to make the occasional trip into the bathroom with one of my boys, but I don’t have to carry extra, bulky tampons or pads in my ski jacket. The best part-I can stay out for hours and there’s no worry about leaking.

Ready to give it a try? Let me know how you do.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have been hired by Evofem, the parent company for Softcup, in their Softcup Brand Ambassador Program.  This is a “sponsored post.”  Evofem sent me a sample of Softcup and compensated me via a cash payment for this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers and only share my honest opinion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Laffertyryan/Flickr]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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