Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Product Review: J.R. Watkins Body Oil Mist

I actually picked up this Body Oil Mist in Coconut Milk&Honey scent on accident. On my last trip to Target I was looking for a safer alternative to my Bath & Body Works body sprays, and didn't realize what this was at first. Now that I know what it is - I am in love with it!

Directions: Spray on skin, rub in. Easy, and wonderful results! Formulated with Apricot Kernel Oil and Vitamin E, and scented with natural fragrance (nothing synthetic here!) it leaves your skin soft, smooth, and lightly scented without a greasy feel. It's a great alternative to lotion, and it's got a good, low score on EWG as well. This definitely gets 'Two Thumbs Up' from me!

Until Next Time,


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Choosing A Sunscreen - What To Look For & What To Avoid

With another Memorial Day come and gone, Summer is now fully upon us! It's a scorching 86 in my neck of the woods today and with temps like that, the sun is sure to burn our skin. With melanoma on the rise, let's take a look at some of the best sunscreens on the market, and what to look for and what to avoid when slathering up.

According to EWG here is a list of YES & NO's when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun:


  • SPF above 50
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Aerosol spray or powder sunscreen
  • Oxybenzone
  • Insect Repellent

  • Hats and shade in the mid-day sun
  • Zinc or Titanium are the best active ingredients. Otherwise look for Avobenzone 3%
  • SPF 30 for intense sun
  • Use a lot and reapply frequently
 Here are a few of the best sunscreen brands on the market (all score: 0-2):
  • Loving Naturals
  • Kiss My Face
  • Adorable Baby
  • UV Natural
  • Tropical Sands
  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum, SPF47
  • Coola MineralBaby
  • Aubrey Organics
  • Thinkbaby or Thinksport
  • TrueKid
  • Badger
  • Eco Logical
  • Raw Elements
  • Releve Organic Skincare by Emerald Essentials
  • Green Screen Organic Sunscreen
  • The Honest Company
*I picked up Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen: Mineral Protection Kids SPF30. This product has an EWG Score of '2' and offers GOOD UVA/UVB protection and has excellent sunscreen stability with LOW health concerns. While EWG has this listed as an 'old product' I just purchased it, so I'm not completely sure what that means!

Here are a few of the worst sunscreen brands on the market:
  • Australian Gold Spray Gel with Instant Bronzer (SPF15-30) - Score: 8
  • Fruit of the Earth Block Up Kids UVA/UVB Continuous Spray, SPF30 - Score: 8
  • Panama Jack Spray Gel Sunscreen, SPF15 - Score: 8
  • Tantowel Sunscreen, SPF30 - Score: 7
  • Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Day, SPF20 - Score: 7
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock Spray, SPF30 - Score: 7
  • Rite Aid Rx Suncare Advanced Protection Spray, SPF30 - Score: 7
  • Headshade Sunscreen, SPF15 - Score: 7
  • Wegmans Wet Skin Body Mist Sunscreen, SPF30 - Score: 7
  • Banana Boat Ultra Mist Continuous Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF30 - Score: 7
The main goal is to protect your skin, while still enjoying the sun and summer. Just be smart about it, and give yourself ample shade-time. Most sunscreens require reapplying every 90 minutes (with the newly passed laws the bottle will now have to list the time frame for reapplication. Be sure to read your product carefully for the best protection) and are NOT water/sweatproof, regardless of the products claims. Always be sure to keep an eye on your skin, and if you notice any new, or changing moles or freckles make sure you mention it to your GP or dermatologist. It's best to keep the, "better safe than sorry" mentality when it comes to melanoma.

Here are the ABCD's of moles from the Melanoma Foundation:

A for Asymmetry - One half is different than the other half.
B for Border Irregularity - The edges are notched, uneven or blurred.
C for Color - The color is uneven. Shades of brown, tan, and black are present.
D for Diameter - Diameter is greater than 6 millimeters.

Other Warning Signs:
  • The appearance of a new bump or nodule
  • Color spreads into surrounding skin
  • Redness or swelling beyond the mole
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Itching
  • Bleeding
  • Oozing
  • Scaly Appearance
Stay Safe & Happy Summer!
Until Next Time,


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Make this summer a GREEN summer!

Summer is fast approaching, so what better way to thank Mother Nature for the wonderful, sunny, warm weather than by going green?

1. Skip the toxic fragrance sprays, plug-ins, and fresheners and opt for wide open windows. Why spend upwards of five dollars for synthetic smells like: Fresh Rain, Summer Breeze, or Spring Renewal? Go all natural and let the scents of fresh cut grass, warming sunshine, and summer rain scent your home. 

2. Skip the dryer and hang your clothes outside to dry. Not only will your electric bill thank you, but so will your clothes. The sun naturally brightens whites and infuses your clothes will natural fragrance, no need for scented softeners here. Here's what the website MomAdvice has to say about line-drying: There are many great benefits to utilizing a clothesline. One of the best benefits of line drying your clothes is that they will last much longer than they would if they were just thrown in the dryer. Did you ever think about how much lint is in your dryer when you are done drying it? That is actually all of the worn-away fabric, that would have remained on your garments if you had line dried them. Zippers cause snagging on clothing when tossed in the dryer, but when line dried your garments will remain intact.
The other added benefit is that you save yourself some dough in the process. Did you know that electric dryers are often among the top energy-uses in a home, followed by refrigerators, lighting and water heaters? Not only will you save on your electricity bill, but you can also save on laundry products. The sun is a natural whitener, so no need to buy any bleach. Static cling is created by clothing rubbing together, but if your clothing is hung out to dry it is not necessary to buy any dryer sheets.

3. Say no to toxic insect repellents. Light up citronella candles or try some all natural bug sprays. Wellness Mama has some great recipes that you can check out HERE.

4. Turn off the A/C. Save energy and opt for 'black-out' style curtains instead. You can buy special curtains made especially for reflecting the sunlight to help keep rooms cool, and subsequently keep heat in during the winter months. Find some examples of blackout curtains HERE. 

5. Use your 'food waste' to help grow your flowers. Keep an empty coffee can, drill a few holes into the top, add a charcoal filter and voila! A homemade compost container. When it's full, give your plants a tasty treat! DIYNaturals has a great step-by-step guide to making your own HERE.

6. Say no to the car, and bike or walk. We were all teens once, before we were granted our driver's licenses. So what did we do to get where we needed to go? We biked! There are great 'street-cruiser' bikes out there now, most equipped with baskets for carrying your goods. Carrying a backpack works well too. Bike to the market, or close by stores rather than wasting gas. Improve your carbon footprint this summer by using your car as little as possible.

7. Go on picnics rather than restaurants. There are tons of cute new picnic baskets out there nowadays. So pack one up, head for a grassy spot, and enjoy! Pack lots of fresh fruits and veggies that are biodegradable to cut down on waste you have to bring back with you. There are tons of reusable lunch containers as well, and lots can be found that are not plastic - an added bonus! THIS is a great site to check out for both items!

What other ways do you plan on going green this summer? Let me know!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

5 Easy Ways to Green Up Your Day

So you might want to start 'Greening Up' your life but aren't sure where to start, or are looking to ease your way into a greener lifestyle. The main thing that you need to change, is your way of thinking. Rather than thinking convenience, think reuse. Anything that can be used more than one time is what you want to utilize. Check out the 5 tips below to get started!

1. Switch to reusable bags and forego the plastic bag.
Most grocery stores offer reusable bags now. My local store charge $.99 per bag. If you don't want to purchase bags, use tote bags or canvas bags that you may have laying around the house. Purchase cheesecloth to make your own bulk/produce bags, or make (or buy) the crochet or nylon versions you can find online.

2. Bring your lunch in glass containers (Tupperware if you are not anti-plastic) and skip paper lunch bags, and snack or sandwich bags. Anywhere you can reuse items from your home and not have to throw out paper, or plastic goods is what we're aiming for. 

3. Bring your own coffee cup when you stop for your morning coffee. Most places offer mugs for sale and will accept your mug and even give you a discount on your coffee. Tim Horton's does this, if you have them in your area. Also, when going out to eat you can bring your own Tupperware or glass container to stow away your leftovers so you can skip the un-Earth-friendly styrofoam.

4. Buy refill soap for your hand soap, laundry soap, and dish soap.
Method Brand offers (recyclable) bagged refills so all you need to do is refill your dispenser without creating added waste. This generally cuts down on cost too, as they typically cost less than buying a whole new container.

5. Ditch the paper towels for cleaning and dusting and start using old t-shirts.
We all have shirts we don't wear anymore, so instead of throwing them out (definitely donate if they're still in really good, wearable condition. But if you have a man in the house then use those old undershirts and just cut off any gross armpitty places, lol) cut them up into squares and use them to clean up, and just wash regularly when needed.

If you have any tips for "Going 'Easy' Green" let me know in the comments below!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spotlight Site {1} EWG's Skin Deep Database

The business of organic and all-natural beauty care can be a slippery slope. Let's keep in mind that most of the products promoted as "All-Natural" are being produced by major companies producing products under more popular names. In all actuality, most of your products can be linked back to one of ten major parent companies. Let's take a look at the chart below to see who makes some of the most popular beauty brands. You just might be surprised.

Pretty shocking that nearly all of the popular brands in the USA can be linked back to just TEN parent companies. When I first saw this chart, I was shocked. Part of me was surprised, and another part of me was thinking, "Really? Is it that surprising?"

So after viewing that piece of interesting information, it brings me to the next, and main topic of this blog post. Environmental Working Group, or EWG, has created the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database to help consumers be more aware of the toxicity of their daily products. I put this site to the test and looked up a few of my current, and a few of my past products to compare and see where my products stand.

Brand: Desert Essence
Product: Thoroughly Clean Face Wash
Company Website: Desert Essence
A Few Words From Me: I purchased this at my local Co-Op and fell in love with it upon first use. Surprisingly, my boyfriend uses it twice daily as well, and he had been a die-hard Clearasil user. So has switching from Clearasil and my previous fave, Clean and Clear Morning Burst, benefited our health at all? Let's see...

Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash has received a score of 1; which means the health concern is LOW.  I then pulled up Clean and Clear Morning Burst. This product received a score of 7; which is a HIGH health concern. The following concerns are listed: HIGH: Endocrine disruption, persistence and bioaccumulation, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), miscellaneous, multiple additive exposure sources, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), contamination concerns, occupational hazards. MODERATE: Neurotoxicity, biochemical or cellular level changes. LOW: Ecotoxicology, data gaps, enhanced skin absorption. This product also contains: Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ethylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, and several other items of concern. So far, I'm glad I've switched products!

Brand: Earth Science
Product: Almond & Aloe Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15
Company Website:
A Few Words From Me: I ditched my Target (Up) Brand moisturizer for this one that I picked up at my local co-op. I was thrilled at the prospect of a natural moisturizer that would still provide me with UVA/UVB protection, since my fair, freckled skin is not fond of the sun.  So how does this compare to my old moisturizer? Let's take a look...

To my utter shock, Earth Science's Almond&Aloe Facial Moisturizer received a score of 7; which is a HIGH health concern! Oh no! This is devastating news because I fell in love with this product! These are the listed concerns: HIGH: Endocrine disruption, Miscellaneous, Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, lungs), Contamination concerns, Occupational hazards, Biochemical or cellular level changes. MODERATE: Neurotoxicity, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (Non-Reproductive). LOW: Ecotoxicology, Data gaps, and Enhanced skin absorption. It's listing the following as the worst ingredients in this product with scores of 7 & 8: Fragrance (causes neurotoxicity, allergies, and other miscellaneous issues); Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate): Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity(non-reproductive), Biochemical or cellular level changes); Oxybenzone/Benzophenone 3 Sunscreen (Active Ingredient): Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Endocrine disruption, Allergies, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Enhanced skin absorption, Biochemical or cellular level changes.) Final Words: I will be removing this product from my daily skin regiment.

So the question that this has brought to mind now is this: Is it worth it? Is switching to products that claim to be safe, and non-toxic worth spending more money than what you would pay for the easily-obtainable, shelf-hogs that line our drugstore, big box stores, and grocery stores shelves? I think at this point it is safe to say that you need to do your research BEFORE purchasing anything, if you want to stay safe and reduce your risks of beauty-product-induced-toxicity. As you can see, I just found out that one of the products I purchased that I believed was a safer alternative in all actuality...isn't. You never know what can harm you until you do your research.

So what products do you use that have received High health concern levels? Do you plan to continue using them, or do you have plans to switch to Low health concern products?

Until Next Time,

What's In Your Beauty Products?

Some days I wish I could be the type of ignorant, oblivious persons that seem to populate our world. But alas, I am not. I was born with a conscience and a strong will to live a healthy, non-toxic life. One where the FDA cannot shorten my lifespan without my permission. No, I've become the type of person who needs to do something, anything to take care of myself.

So what are some of the worst toxic offenders popular in today's beauty products? Here is a list of the top seven you need to watch out for.

  • PARABENS: Parabens are synthetic chemicals used as antimicrobial and antifungal preservatives but are known as hormone disruptors and have been found in the tissue of breast cancer tumors.
  • POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL (PEG): A family of synthetic chemicals that function in cosmetic formulations as surfacants, cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners and humectants. PEG's are thought to increase cancer risks, including women's risk of breast cancer.
  • PETROLEUM: Derived from crude oil, used to manufacture plastic, fertilizers and pesticides. Disrupts the natural protective layers of our skin.
  • PHENOXYETHANOL: A synthetic chemical used in fragrances to kill bacteria. An extremely hazardous substance that is an irritant to skin and eyes and is toxic to kidneys, the nervous system, and the liver.
  • PHTHALATES: A synthetic chemical commonly used in fragrances. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put phthalates on a list of chemicals that "may present a risk" to the environment or human health because they disrupt hormone activity.
  • PROPYLENE GLYCOL: A synthetic solvent which is a strong skin irritant and possible causes of liver abnormalities and kidney damage. Can easily penetrate the skin and weaken cellular structure. Commonly used in anti-freeze.
  • SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS): A synthetic detergent that can be drying and harsh for the skin and hair, causes eye irritation and is a suspected gastrointestinal and liver toxicant.
*This information was taken from a brochure for Hugo Naturals. Visit them online here, on facebook, twitter, and youtube. Hugo Naturals is located at 21800 Nordhoff St. Chatsworth, CA 91311.

**I have not used any of Hugo Naturals products and am in no way promoting them; however according to EWG's Skin Deep Database, they have a Low-Moderate health risk based on chemicals and ingredients used in their product. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DIY Updates

So I wanted to take a second and update you on some of the DIY ideas I've posted and that I've been doing myself.

So the first thing that I gave up, was deodorant. I had been using Tom's Naturally Dry Deodorant & Anti-Perspirant and was quite satisfied with it. However; in a drive to go all out natural and give up any products with toxic chemicals and hazards, I began using the isopropyl alcohol method. All you need to do is fill up a spray bottle with 91% rubbing alcohol (which most of us have lying around the house anyway!) and spritz on your pits! Yes, it stings mildly if you apply after shaving, but it's nothing that would deter you from this method.

Unfortunately I only had 70% Isopropyl Alcohol so I have been applying about 3x a day but so far I can honestly say maybe once I had a slight odor. I've gone hiking where I've worked up a decent sweat and I still felt fresh and didn't stink! I definitely recommend this method if you are looking to remove deodorant from your daily routine. Also, it's cheaper, and I never believe Boyfriend when he said that his deodorant made him smell more than if he quit wearing it all together. I now believe him. I always felt embarassed being a girl and having BO all the time, but since giving up deodorant I smell LESS than when I wore it, and when I do smell, it's the type that you have to literally bury your schnozz into your armpit to even smell and it's not the offensive odor you might get using regular deodorant sticks or sprays. I dare you to try it for a week!

If you are wondering why anyone would want to give up deodorant, I've found this article for you; and this one as well.

The second thing that I removed from my daily routine was shampoo and conditioner. I was definitely worried about this one, because I cherish my hair! I gave up dying it about 2-1/2 years ago, so for the first time since I was about 18 I have all healthy, naturally colored hair and I LOVE IT! What surprised me, is what shampoos and conditioners do. They strip your hair of their natural oils, which then causes your scalp to produce even MORE to help replenish what's been removed. So you know how you always pick up "For Oily Hair" products? Truth is, you might not truly have oily hair! It could be your products.

So instead of shampoo, I now "wash" with a paste mix of baking soda and distilled water. I have it in a squeeze bottle (however one with a spout would be MUCH more helpful to get it right down on your scalp) and just apply when I shower. Only once did I not rinse well enough and it left tiny white dots on some parts of my hair, but it was nothing that I couldn't brush out. It's been almost two weeks now since I've dropped the 'poo, and honestly, I will probably NEVER go back! My eczema is gone, I have no dandruff, and my head doesn't itch! When it would be about day 2 after washing my hair, my head would itch something awful and I'd go running for the shower! Not so, my friends! No longer do I have the urge to scratch at my scalp.

A negative is that once you drop the 'poo, your hair is still used to overproducing oils because it's been trained to do so from the years of shampoo/conditioner use. You might have a period of time where your hair is a bit more oily than you'd like. I think that's the stage I'm getting at now. But it's nothing that a few strategically placed ponytails, pigtails, or braids can't hide. AND it actually makes styling easier! So if your hair has never wanted to cooperate with curls or crimps or updo's, now is the time to try them! Or break out a trendy hat, beret, or beanie and stylize your daily look.

If you've tried these methods please let me know if you've had success!

Until Next Time,