I have struggled over the years trying to find non-toxic body lotions that actually work. During the winter months my skin gets incredibly dry so lotion is a must. I know that making my own lotion from scratch is the best choice, but that just isn’t an option for me on many levels (time, interest, patience). So store-bought lotion is the route I’ve chosen.
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)
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
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.
This 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 Moisturizer
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).
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).
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.
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.
Want to know which retailers are naughty and which are nice when it comes to their commitment to cosmetics safety? Who is leading the market trend toward safer products and who’s lagging behind? Which stores consumers should support with their dollars as they shop for non-toxic stocking stuffers this holiday season and which should get coal? The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics just released a report today, Retailer Therapy: Ranking retailers on their commitment to cosmetics safety, putting a spotlight on Walmart, Target, Macy’s, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, Kroger and Whole Foods Market.
Why rank retailers on cosmetics safety?
The $50 billion personal care product industry in the United States is largely unregulated, meaning products you buy at your local retailer—from baby shampoo to lipstick to moisturizers—can contain chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, infertility and other chronic diseases.
This report provides vital information to consumers, including which retailers screen the products they sell for harmful chemicals; which promote and expand the sale of safer alternatives; and which help customers understand their store’s commitment to health and safety.
Whole Foods Market (Whole Foods) is by far the leader, with proactive policies in place to screen out more than 400 chemicals of concern from its premium products. It offers an extensive range of safer alternatives and communicates its safety commitments and progress clearly to the public.
At the other end of the spectrum is Macy’s, which stated that government regulations are adequate to address cosmetics safety and that it trusted its vendors to ensure the products the company sells are safe. The company has a very limited selection of safer alternatives, with some of its stores not offering any alternatives at all.
CVS Caremark (CVS) leads the conventional retailers, having a publicly available policy on its cosmetics safety standards, a wide range of safer alternatives in many of its stores and a policy of phasing out chemicals of concern from its CVS brand baby products.
Walgreens does not have a publicly available policy that addresses personal care product safety, and safer alternatives are not consistently available in its stores. The company did recently launch its own line of safer products, which to date includes two baby bath products and a few adult shampoos and conditioners. These products are screened to ensure they do not contain certain chemicals of concern.
Walmart has invested considerably in setting up systems to identify chemicals of concern in products it sells, but has not made progress in translating that knowledge into not selling personal care products that contain potentially harmful chemicals. It also lacks a commitment to do so in the future. Additionally, shoppers found a limited selection of safer alternatives.
Target carries a range of safer alternatives, but lacks a policy to address chemicals of concern in the full range of personal care products it sells. Target is currently determining what criteria would go into a personal care product standard.
Costco Wholesale (Costco) has eliminated the use of several chemicals in its signature brand, but has done little else to screen the other cosmetics products it sells. It also does not have a policy to address chemicals of concern in its full range of personal care products and offers limited to no safer alternatives.
Kroger touts its commitment to selling safer products, but shoppers had mixed experiences with some not finding safer alternatives and one finding a wide range but indicating that this section was a new addition in her local store. Overall the company lacks a comprehensive policy to address personal care product safety.
Our system is broken
Unfortunately, toxins are basically unregulated in this country and can make their way into our homes and our cosmetics without our knowledge.
This needs to change. The law that was meant to protect us is now old and outdated and isn’t doing its job. We still have cans with BPA linings on our shelves. Laundry detergents continue to contain cancer causing chemicals. Nursing pillows and car seats are doused in toxic flame retardants. Toxic chemicals are found in children’s jewelry. Early puberty, childhood cancer, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities are rising at alarming rates. There is no legislation in place to protect us. Companies aren’t required to test the safety of the chemicals in their products. This needs to stop.
What we can do
Shoppers shouldn’t have to be chemists to figure out how to avoid toxic ingredients in cosmetics. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics shares a few ways we can take action:
Support smarter laws for safer products.
Use fewer products with simpler ingredients.
Read labels for information on product ingredients. Don’t rely on natural or organic claims.
Find out what’s in your products and find safer alternatives by using Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Shop at retailers that are committed to safer personal care products. In addition to the retailers featured in this report, many natural food stores and coops sell safer products. The Organic Consumers Association compiled a national list of these stores.
What else can we do to fix our broken system? Were you surprised by the findings in the study?
When I returned from vacation this week a box from Ecocentric Mom was waiting for me. As much as I love opening presents, my kids get beyond excited so this turned into a joint effort. We opened the box together and found an assortment of eco-friendly goodies -some perfect for me and some just right for my kids.
What is Ecocentric Mom?
I introduced you to Ecocentric Mom a few months ago. Ecocentric Mom is a monthly product subscription service. Each month a box is sent your way containing healthy, natural and organic products exclusively for moms, moms-to-be and babies. Finding safe, eco-friendly products can be overwhelming, costly and time consuming. Ecocentric Mom allows you to try out green, non-toxic products before heading to the store to invest in them. The monthly box is packed with natural and eco-friendly goodies from businesses that care for the planet and our health. The best part-I was introduced to new brands that I had never heard of!
Orgain Creamy Chocolate Fudge Nutritional Shake-This product holds itself out as a certified organic meal replacement. I’m not sure I would use it for that. It contains 10 servings of fruit and veggies including beets, kale, spinach,carrots and tomatoes. If your kids are begging for chocolate milk this would be a great alternative.
Natural Vitality Cherry Calm Plus Calcium- Natural CALM(R) is a gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO magnesium powder that you can mix easily for quick supplementation. Just add hot water and enjoy this anti-stress drink like hot tea. I received the organic cherry flavor which has no wheat, yeast, soy or dairy. There area no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. It’s also gluten free, vegan and non-GMO.
Greenbody Green Planet shampoo and conditioner-I’m always searching for new shampoos and conditioners that are free of toxins. When I’m testing out a new personal care product I always turn first to Skin Deep to see how the product rates. All Greenbody products scored very as very low (1-2) hazard. I’m sold!
Vaska Laundry Detergent- I had never heard of this brand before. This liquid laundry detergent uses real lavender and potent botanical cleaning agents to clean, but without harmful chemicals. It’s available in Light Lavender or Scent Free.
Naturally It’s Clean Floor Cleaner-I’m very excited about this product. It cleans hardwood, ceramic, stone, cork, bamboo, laminate linoleum and vinyl. The ingredients are completely non-toxic with a delicious orange scent.
Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Lip Glaze-The company’s motto is “Healthy enough to eat!” so I had to again turn to Skin Deep to check on the ingredients in this product. All Lauren Brooke’s products scored very low (1-2) on the hazard scale. I have a love of lipstick and lip gloss so it’s nice to find a product that’s non-toxic. I took a look at the site and the other products look fantastic. Might have to go shopping soon.
Eat Cleaner Fruit & Vegetable Wipes-I generally use water to wash my fruit and vegetables, but this wipe claims to remove pesticide residue and way that water can’t. The ingredient list was short and non-toxic.
The box was filled with coupons for all the product samples included along with a cotton Ecocentric Mom Sport Pack.
Ecocentric Mom has 3 membership boxes to choose from, the mom, mom-to-be or baby box. Your box will be delivered in chic eco-friendly packaging and the products inside will be a surprise until they arrive at your door.
A monthly subscription costs $17 and there are a few deals if you sign up for multiple months. If interested, you can sign up for your very own Ecocentric Mom subscription HERE.
Disclosure: Ecocentric Mom send me one box for review. The opinions expressed here are my very own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If the product gets a 0-2 hazard rating it is welcomed into my home.
Anything over a 2 it goes back to the store.
Labor intensive, right? But so worth it.
When 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:
Clinically Validated Results: efficacy achieved through cutting edge organic technology.
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.
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.
Support our USDA Certified Organic Farmers: Stay close to our suppliers.
Buy Local: Buy the majority of our ingredients locally from the West Coast.
Sustainable & Recycled: Use only sustainably sourced and/or recycled paper for all supplies, focus on recycled components & recycle again.
Solar Power & Gluten Free Labs: Manufacture the majority of our products using Solar Power and all manufacturing done in Gluten Free Labs.
No Animal Testing: Conduct no animal testing.
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.
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 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).
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?
Lori Popkewitz Alper, Founder and Editor of Groovy Green Livin, provides eco-wellness consulting for businesses, schools, homes and individuals; and inspiration for a greener lifestyle through her Groovy Green Livin blog and website. Read more….