Like a lot of people, the thought of applying cosmetics that were once slathered into rabbits’ eyes or forced down rats’ throats makes me want to make a mad dash for the makeup remover. But navigating the sea of cosmetics and decoding their labels to figure out which were and which were not tested on animals can seem tougher than getting “Call Me Maybe” out of your head. So I looked into some of the most common labels found on cosmetics, and here’s what I found…Read Full Article
Soap: Laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap, body soap, shampoo. Until I thought about it, I never realized how much soap I bought and used on a regular basis.
What if I started making all these different types of soap at home? With The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Natural Soaps by Sally W. Trew and Zonella B. Gould, I not only learned how to make the household product, but how to do it in an environmentally conscious way.
Homemade natural soaps have tons of benefits compared to commercial soaps….Read Full Article
When you work at a busy Mexican restaurant with a broken air conditioning system in the middle of summer, you worry about sweat and body odor.
So I was really nervous when I tested Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal in Tropical Breeze before a hectic weekend shift. I normally return from work covered in my own blood, sweat, and tears, and other people’s chili con queso. I need a deodorant that works.
I had my doubts about the product because, though I’ve eco-tized most of my toiletries, I haven’t been able to give up my tough Sure brand deodorant/antiperspirant that I buy from the drugstore. I’m so paranoid about sweat and bad odor that I ignore the warnings about aluminum, the active ingredient in traditional deodorant/antiperspirant.
But I was really surprised by Naturally Fresh….Read Full Article
In our house over the past two years or so, we’ve been carefully examining every personal care product we buy. If you’re a long-time reader of Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL), you already know that we are huge fans of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and their Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database. Today, we received [...]Read Full Article
Cleaning products that are artificially scented with smells like lilac, lemon, pine, and tropical rainforest may be popular with consumers, but the fragrances themselves shouldn’t be. Each fragrance is potentially made up of hundreds of chemicals — many of them toxic, according to Erin Switalski, executive director of Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE).
“It’s basically chemical soup in a lot of these products,” Switalski says.
WVE is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women’s health. The group compiled What’s That Smell?, a landmark report that examines the health effects of hidden fragrance chemicals.
Women are disproportionately affected by the chemicals in fragrances since they use them more frequently than men. They also experience more health effects from the fragrances, such as skin rashes, headaches, and breathing problems. Plus, they can pass chemicals on to their children during pregnancy and breastfeeding….Read Full Article
Go on, admit it. You’ve had bad breath — and on more than one occasion. If you were lucky, you figured it out yourself and quickly brushed or rinsed or even chewed some gum. Or maybe a family member had the kindness to tell you before you went out in public. Worst-case scenario, you didn’t figure it out until people started backing away or covering their noses.
It’s an embarrassing situation, and I’m pretty confident when I say we’ve all been there. (If you think you haven’t, be really brave and ask someone who loves you enough to tell the truth.)
Tom’s of Maine is known for making quality natural products, and their toothpaste is no exception. Their new Wicked Fresh! fluoride toothpaste is specially designed to fight bad breath caused by VSCs — volatile sulfur compounds — created by bacteria in your mouth.Read Full Article
How many times a day do you brush your teeth? If you follow the advice of WebMD, you’ll brush twice a day – morning and night. (You’ll also floss once a day.) So, in a given year, you’re brushing at least 730 times. But when you count the strokes of the toothbrush in your mouth, you’re talking about a number in the thousands. Doesn’t it just make sense that you’d use high-quality tools for something you do so often to protect your oral health?
For years I’ve used whatever toothbrush my dentist gave me at my semi-annual checkups and with replacements from my local drugstore in between visits. They’re fine toothbrushes. Soft bristles. An relatively comfortable handle. Colorful and sometime even fancy, but certainly serviceable. And until recently, I thought of them all as disposable.
When I received a free sample of the Radius Source toothbrush, I got a whole new experience with dental hygiene. Once out of the package, its unique, molded shape fit my right hand perfectly….Read Full Article
When the public relations rep for De Odor Works contacted me to try their new deodorant bar made of stainless steel, I was skeptical, but willing. After all, I’ve seen concerns in the media about the connection between deodorants/antiperspirants and everything from Alzheimer’s disease to breast cancer to kidney disease. So, trying a deodorant that doesn’t have chemicals in it seemed like a good idea.
But let’s talk about the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant. Sweat itself doesn’t smell. So sweat is not the enemy. Your body — and mine — has several kinds of bacteria that live on the skin, and some of those cause odors. It’s not the bacteria themselves that smell, either, but the waste products they produce after eating those sweat-laden, dead skin cells then “breaking down protein into certain acids,” according to Medical News Today.
So, the upshot is that we don’t really need to prevent sweating, we need to prevent the bacteria from excreting their foul-smelling waste products on our skin. That’s what De Odor Works, manufactured by Abbott Research Group, Inc., is supposed to do. “Its secret,” Abbott Research Group says, “is the unique reaction that occurs when ordinary running tap water and stainless steel combine to neutralize odor. Using stainless steel with running water is a recognized method of eliminating the volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) that cause odor. Stainless steel is biocompatible to human tissue, so you can use De Odor Works anywhere on your body without any adverse effects.”…Read Full Article
When you want a burst of color on your eyes, you normally have to wear heavy, cakey, powdery eye shadow.
Not anymore. I reviewed Christopher Drummond Beauty’s eye shadow in petal-pink and sky-blue, and fell in love with the iridescent, jewel-toned colors.
My favorite was the sky-blue. Sometimes people shy away from this bold color, fearing they’ll look like Mimi from old episodes of The Drew Carey Show. With this loose-powder eye shadow, users get a beautiful burst of blue that isn’t overpowering. I wore the shadow both to work and out to dinner, and got so many compliments on how pretty it was. It’s appropriate for all occasions, whether fancy or casual.
Plus, it’s made from all natural ingredients, and it’s vegan. All Christopher Drummond’s products comply with the EU Cosmetics Directive and have no known potential carcinogens. Scarily, many companies in the cosmetics industry sell products that contain ingredients banned from food. The company is affiliated with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, PETA, and Green People. At the time of this writing, Christopher Drummond Beauty products have not yet been evaluated by Environmental Working Group on their Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database….Read Full Article
Get “the wild spirit of the rainforest,” says Wembé about their handmade soaps. Each soap is crafted using plants native to Paraguay. The company sells 15 varieties of the Wembé soaps, ranging in price from $7.00 for the Coconut Exfoliating Blend to $10.85 for the Black Clay Exfoliating Blend.
I tested the Yerba Mate exfoliating blend, Green Blue River exfoliating blend, and White Rose cleansing blend. They all smelled beautiful and instantly softened my hands. Plus, they’re natural and made from organic ingredients. None of the soaps contain silicone, petroleum products, parabens, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances and dyes.
The soaps’ outer packagings were so pretty, I didn’t want to open them at first. When I did, I found one of the most unique products I’ve ever seen. The interesting swirls of color make the soaps look like they came directly from the rainforest. Since they’re natural and handmade, they all vary in shape and size, though the standard weight is 3.75 ounces.
The Yerba Mate soap is vegan and rich in antioxidants. It contains essential oils, exotic weeds, and crushed yerba mate leaves. Plus, its ability to exfoliate the leftover winter dryness from my hands will make it an Iowa essential for the upcoming December and January months. The cost of the Yerba Mate bar is $9.45 for 3.75 ounces….Read Full Article
Do you wear nail polish? If you do, you’re certainly familiar with the toxic smells of both the polishes and the removers needed to take your polish off. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a non-toxic alternative? Turns out there is! …
Advertised as “long wearing” and “chip resistant,” A Beautiful Life lacquers come in a variety of shades and run $12 for a 12.6 ml bottle. I received two bold sample colors, “80’s Pink” and “Blues.” While these particular colors were not my personal favorites, a few others shown on the website caught my eye: “Venom,” “Silverado,” and “Envy.”Read Full Article
When Judi Shils’ daughter started wearing makeup in 2005, Shils was concerned about the toxic chemicals the teen was applying to her face. This, as well as the high cancer rates in Marin County, California, where they lived, inspired Shils to launch Teens for Safe Cosmetics.
Project Green Dorm
The group evolved into Teens Turning Green (TTG). Last July they launched the Project Green Dorm store, a pop-up in The Village at Corte Madera mall. TTG’s mission was to sell green alternatives to typical dorm gear. The pop-up store was designed as a short-term venue, and Project Green Dorm now exists as a checklist on the main Teens Turning Green website. There, users get tips on how to green their bedroom, bathroom, closet, gadgets, and more.
Reducing exposure to chemicals is so important, Shils says, because everything we do to our bodies carries on to our children. “We should do the things we can to ensure the health of generations to come,” she notes. “We’re messing with our chemistry — that’s the bottom line.” …Read Full Article
Over the past several months, I’ve been using Surface Hair Care products as part of my daily routine. With color-treated hair (yes, I’m going gray beneath the blond), my locks sometimes get dry and brittle. The two varieties of Surface products I’ve tried are gentle on my hair and help keep it feeling soft and healthy.
Initially, a stylist friend (Carolyn at Carolyn’s Place, Studio 101, Coralville, Iowa) introduced me to the Trinity line of Surface products. She knows that I’m concerned both about the planet and my own health. Carolyn’s partner had recently been to a Surface product training in Florida and was excited about how environmentally respectful and people-friendly the products are….Read Full Article
“Where can I get this?” my 90-year-old mother-in-law asked. She was washing her hands with the complimentary sample of Desert Essence Organics Hand Wash I had received from the company. “I like this soap!” she said.
I smiled. “Yeah, I like it too, Lucille.”
“Really, where can I get some?” more forceful this time. She wanted me to know that she really meant it.
That’s high praise from Lucille. For several months, Joe and I have been helping care for his mom part of every week since she broke her wrist in October. We’ve assisted her with countless hand washings, shampoos, and showers. This was the first time she had applauded a product that we had used in her care. And, boy, did she say it with enthusiasm! …Read Full Article
There’s a lot to love about W3LL PEOPLE cosmetic products — and not just because they have a smart marketer telling us so. (Who could resist a line like, “Hippie Tested, Diva Approved”?) In our house, every skin- or haircare product gets scrutinized to make sure we’re not using toxic chemicals. With W3LL, that’s not a problem. Here’s what their site says about the ingredients:
“We’re not sure who decided it was a good idea to pack skincare full
of artificial preservatives, fillers and other “scientific” chemicals, but as it turns out they’re not so good for your skin, or the planet.
“W3LL is driven to create a fresh, safe focus on skincare by providing products with proven, medical-grade nutrients that actually work, and don’t increase the mounting toxic load each one of us faces every day.
“So no, our products don’t have a nuclear half-life. But when you think about it, would you really want them to? W3LL is a truly beautiful choice by offering small batch products chock full of live, active natural ingredients every bit as effective as their evil counterparts – while leaving as gentle a footprint on the planet as possible. Now that’s beautiful.”
The company philosophy is beautiful, and so are its products…Read Full Article
If you enjoy tongue-in-cheek humor and are looking for practical cleaning tips using old-fashioned ingredients, Clean Body will provide you with a full ration of both. Author Michael DeJong, a self-described “clean freak,” takes readers back to the absolute basics of cleanliness (he actually describes how to wash your hands) with five simple ingredients….Read Full Article
The most important function of a sunscreen is, of course, to protect your skin against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. But that’s not the only element to consider when choosing what to slather on your skin this summer. Most sunscreens are made with synthetic substances, water, and alcohol. But wouldn’t you rather use a sunscreen made with natural and organic ingredients?
Recently, I received two sample tubes of Vivesana Solar to Polar sunscreen to review. The packaging looked interesting, promising “70% Organic, 100% Natural” ingredients with a high SPF of 40 on the Ultra formula and 42 on the Baby product. But I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I pretty much forgot about it for several days. The sunscreen tubes sat on my desk until this past weekend, when Joe and I were invited for a boat ride with friends…Read Full Article
Think skin cancer couldn’t happen to you? Think again.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) estimates that more than a million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year in the U.S. alone. Unless you want to be among that number, protecting your skin with sunscreen is more than just a good idea. It’s a necessity…Read Full Article
As the recent PBS Frontline story “Poisoned Waters” so vividly brought home, once pure and pristine, our extraordinary natural treasure of beautiful shorelines, waterways, estuaries, lakes, rivers and ponds continues to be polluted by the home and industrial waste that we persistently both knowingly as well as unwittingly contribute to — so much so that it now severely threatens our own health and that of the flora and fauna with which we share our planet. Wreaking havoc on global well being, with animals and individuals becoming ill daily from contact with contaminated water eco-systems, without dramatic and fundamental action, it’s a problem that’ll only continue to grow exponentially. Point blank — our water systems are being altered to the point of no-return by our own selfish human impact….Read Full Article
Despite Joe’s firm stance on not keeping things we haven’t used in a year or longer, I have a stash of half-used bottles of hair care products and a box full of makeup that qualifies as an archaeological dig site. The items were useful in their day. Then, for whatever reason, I moved on, rejecting each product like a lover fallen out of favor. I can’t very well pass them along through FreeCycle — no one wants someone else’s quarter bottle of shampoo or half-used blush. And I don’t want to send them to a landfill to spend eternity. So, I’ve been doing my best to use them up…Read Full Article