January 6th, 2017
If I had to pick one type of makeup to use every day it would be mascara with lipstick coming in at a close second. When I was in my teens lipstick or lip gloss would have been the front-runner since at the time I had long, dark lashes and rarely used mascara (or any makeup!). Now, when I want a little extra lash length one of the four mascaras below are my go-to.
Before I was in the know I would head to CVS to grab an over the counter mascara that promised to lengthen my lashes. Over the years I’ve discovered that I have very sensitive eyes. Those conventional mascaras with all sorts of questionable ingredients were making my eyes irritated. I began investigating safer mascara options and found a few that work and don’t make my eyes inflamed. When investigating the safety of makeup I always start with the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database. The database rates the safety of over 64,000 products.
Beautycounter Lengthening Mascaras ($29)
I can’t say enough good things about Beautycounter as a company. Their mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. Not only are they selling safer products (without ingredients from their “Never List“) but they are also advocating for meaningful regulation in the beauty industry.
Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara rocks! Your lashes won’t clump together and the mascara stays on for hours without smearing and smudging. The ingredient list looks relatively clean and even includes a few organic ingredients. This mascara received a 2 (low hazard) from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Pacifica Dream Big Lash Extending 7 in 1 Mascara ($16)
Pacifica Dream Big Mascara is vegan and cruelty-free. The applicator is innovative with a twisting feature that allows you to adjust the length and the volume of your lashes. I took a look at the ingredient liked what I saw. This mascara doesn’t irritate my eyes even when I forget to remove it at night.
W3LL PEOPLE – Expressionist Bio-Extreme Black Mascara ($27)
I love my W3LL PEOPLE Black Mascara. I also have it in pro blue, which is a really fun color to use on my dark lashes. This mascara doesn’t have any harsh artificial chemicals or petroleum derivatives that can irritate the sensitive eye area. It’s also 100% cruelty-free, petroleum-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, coal tar-free, aluminum-free, fiber-free, and clump-free!
Zuzu Luxe Mascara ($18)
I’ve been using Zuzu Luxe Mascara for a few years and I’m really happy with the product. Zuzu cosmetics are lead-free and each product is tested during and after manufacturing for pH values, viscosity, microorganisms or any other contaminants. They also don’t use any parabens in their products. The mascara is gentle and non-irritating as well as clump proof and non-smudging. This mascara received a 2 (low hazard) from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Take a look HERE for a few more non-toxic beauty products that you’re going to LOVE!
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May 7th, 2015
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?
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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.
February 27th, 2013
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.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Lotion
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).
Juice Beauty SPF 30 Mineral Sheer Moisturizer
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
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.
December 11th, 2012
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.
How did retailers do?
Taken directly from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report:
- 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?
photo credit: Michael W. May via photopin cc
July 27th, 2012
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!
What was in this months box?
Tree Hugger Bubble Gum-This gum is gluten free, nut free and dairy free, kosher and doesn’t contain any artificial food dyes. I’m a bit skeptical of chewing gum in general, but if you or your kids are going to chew gum this is a good alternative. It does contain sugar and corn syrup.
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.
June 18th, 2012
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 Organics
- 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.
The 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.
- 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]