Archive for the ‘Skin Care & Cosmetic Products’ Category

Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Body Wash review and giveaway

Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Wash

When the Happy Mama wash first arrived from Earth Mama Angel Baby, I was not sure I liked the smell (but read on… :). I think I was expecting something similar to the baby wash (a vanilla-orange scent – oh so yummy!). The Happy Mama wash is a ginger-grapefruit scent.

The next morning I gave it a whirl. Now, I do not know if my sniffer was having a moment when the Happy Mama wash first arrived, or if the hot steam in the shower had anything to do with it, but the scent was awesome!!! I truly felt like I was at a spa. The ginger scent is supposed to be great for those with morning sickness and since the EMAB products are rated zero (0) on the EWG’s database, it’s completely safe during pregnancy and beyond. Good to know because I had horrible morning sickness with both my kids – just in case the Lord blesses us with a third. Being non-toxic is so important as chemicals can be absorbed into your skin. So this wash is safe for the entire family!

The Mama Wash is made of essential oils and comes in a foam pump, which I really love. The soap is hydrating, so does not dry out my sensitive skin like some soaps. The packaging is really sweet and the ingredients are spelled out clearly and you can pronounce them, which is a must in my book.

The only negative I have is that the suds do not last long, but admit that could more so be because we have hard water. I use a loofa and have to reload with a few pumps of the wash several times during the cleansing process. While my son’s wash has lasted 3-4 months, I don’t think this bottle will last this long, maybe half that. Being on a tight budget, I will probably keep this as a special treat one or twice a week, and use my olive oil soap in between. It smells so wonderful though, I fully expect I will cheat….

From EMAB
Happy Mama Wash
NEW for mamas and the whole family! USDA Certified Made With Organic Ingredients

  • Rated All Zeros on the Skin Deep toxin database, the best rating a product can receive
  • With fresh Ginger to combat queasiness, and organic Pink Grapefruit essential oils to give spirits a lift
  • Naturally safe organic olive oil castile soap base
  • No harsh detergents and zero toxins mean that it’s safe enough for pregnant women, so it’s safe enough for the whole family!
  • A morning sickness busting companion with Happy Mama Spray
  • Certified vegan and cruelty‐free

The Mamas at EMAB are also amazing! They really know their stuff and have an amazing product line. And customer service is top notch.

Win some Happy Mama Wash for yourself.

OK, here are the rules. Contest is open to US and Canadian Mama’s only.

Ways to enter
1. Go to the EMAB website and tell us which product you would love to try (or which is your favorite if you are already a fan).
2. Follow @greenparenting on twitter and leave a comment here
3. Follow @earthmamahq on twitter and leave a comment here
4. Sign up for the EMAB newsletter and leave a comment here
5. RT this giveaway and leave a comment. One tweet per day allowed. Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Wash review and #giveaway will make your sniffer happy! via @greenparenting http://bit.ly/aRSlK6

Contest ends at midnight CST on November 14.

Or if you don’t want to wait, hop on over to the EMAB website and pick some up for yourself, while there, don’t forget about baby and get the Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash, Angel Baby Bottom Balm and Angel Baby Lotion too. The lotion is amazing for eczema – I use it on my son as well.

Disclaimer: EMAB sent a bottle of the Happy Mama Wash in exchange for a honest review. All opinions here are my own and in no way is reflected by receiving this product – not how I operate!

Natural remedies for cradle cap

My son had several bouts of cradle cap as an infant. I really didn’t want to have to buy a special shampoo, as the natural ones are very expensive. My cousin’s daughter also had a bad case and her pediatrician recommended Head and Shoulders (eek!) and no way was I using that on myself, let alone my child. So did a little research and discovered something I already had in my pantry would clear it up – extra virgin olive oil.
 
Directions:
1.       Rub a small amount of EVOO on the affected area. Should saturate the area, but should not be dripping.
2.       Let sit for about 30 minutes to let the EVOO soften the scales. If it is a severe case, you can even let on overnight.
3.       Gently comb out the flakes with a fine tooth comb. Be very careful if you have a young infant since their skin is so tender. If you have a newborn, you can use the soft comb from the hospital to gently soften and brush away the flakes. You may want to have a washcloth handy to wipe the flakes off of the comb as you go.
4.       Shampoo as normal.
 
I am surprised at how effective this is, and so inexpensive. Typically one application got it all. On some occasions where his cradle cap was bad and I didn’t let it sit long enough, I had to repeat the process the next night.
 
Alternative: try organic virgin coconut oil instead. Worked just as well and smelled great! The last time he had a patch I used coconut oil and it has not been back since. Not sure if it was related, but it was not as bad as it had previously been either.

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Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate safe?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a very common ingredient in nearly all shampoos, soaps, and even many toothpastes. You can even find it in Angel Food cake mixes. This is the ingredient responsible for the foaming action of the product. But, is it safe?

Until about a year ago, I thought the answer to this was yes. I had not yet done research on this chemical, but just in reading a few comments online, it seemed some people were OK with it and others were not.

When I finally had time to research SLS, I was surprised to learn it was contaminated with 1,4 dioxane.  This is a cancer causing by-product of the ethoxylation process, a process that makes otherwise harsh ingredient gentle. However, because it is not an original ingredient, this by-product is not listed on the ingredient list.

In this article by Dr. Mercola, he further explains the health risk with using SLS, and its cousins Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES, and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS), citing some of the over 16,000 studies showing toxicity. The Environmental Working Group gives SLS a moderate hazard rating for cancer, organ system toxicity and others. So it’s not the worst, but not the best.

Should you avoid SLS?
Anything you put on your skin is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and goes directly to your organs. It’s also important to note that 1 incidence of using SLS is likely OK, but the cumulative effect is what is worry-some.  While the amount in your shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, hand soap, etc. may be ‘safe’ amounts when used alone, using them all at one time could cause your exposure to jump into the unsafe level zone. But the cumulative effect has never been studied.

We do our best to avoid it in our house due to the cancer link. If you can’t avoid it entirely, limit your exposure by using less of the product containing it. Most people use twice as much soap product as needed.

How to avoid SLS
Read labels! Know what to avoid, as SLS can have other names, including Sodium dodecyl sulfate, Sulfuric acid, Sodium salt sulfuric acid. I use Dr. Bronner’s  bar soap in the shower and make my own foaming hand soap, which also makes a great foaming body wash. For shampoo I am currently using Kiss My Face, Frequent Use which is SLS and paraben free and I love it.

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Kiss My Face hair care review
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Badger Sunscreen product review

Badger sunscreen product review

EWG's top-rated sunscreen

I finally got a chance to try some of this stuff. We ran out of our California Baby and TruKid Sunny Days sunscreen and since Badger once again took the top spot in the Environmental Working Group’s annual sunscreen guide, I ordered some. Since my son has sensitive skin and I have eczema, I went with the unscented variety. I loved that I could pronounce all the ingredients and knew exactly what they were.

We have used it several times now and are really pleased with it. On Sunday, we really put it to the test at my sister-in-law’s pool which had no shade. We slathered each other up (2 kids, 2 adults), and since its water proof for at least 40 minutes, I reapplied before each hour we were in the sun. I didn’t take the time to reapply, but was not splashing as much as the kids either. My hubby (who has had a few melanoma removed) put it on waaay thick and wore a hat.

The results? No one got burned at all, I didn’t even notice any color on anyone. I got just a little color (color, not pink or burned!), but was the only one who did not reapply during the 4 hours we were in the sun. Which was fine by me, I needed a little color on my pasty white skin. So, we are very pleased with the results.

This is a mineral-based, zinc oxide sunscreen, so it goes on white, but rubs in well and does not leave a white coating. I like that it goes on white because I can see if I missed any spots. The benefit of zinc oxide is that it is a physical barrier so reflects and scatters the harmful rays. You can almost see the barrier because of the way it repels water, and because you can see it repelling the water, I don’t feel as if the sunscreen is washing away as we swim. It also goes on easier than chemical sunscreen if you are reapplying on wet skin.

Badger sunscreens are safe for infants too, though if you are using on an infant under 6 months, check with your pediatrician.

The Badger website is very interesting and full of information about their products, ingredients and the company itself.  A few things I took away: 

  • A little about nanoparticle vs. micronized particles. I was concerned about nanotechnology and those concerns were relived after reading this great explanation in their FAQ section. 
  • Badger is a small family business. They provide free organic lunches and bad mitten games to their employees; and support charitable giving by giving the greater of 10% of before-tax profits or $10,000 to a variety of charities. Love this! 
  • And their sunscreen blocks UVA, UVB and UVC rays – UVC does not reach the Earth, but is good for pilots and astronauts! So interesting! 
  • I also did not realize the span of their product offerings – I’ve used this sunscreen and the bug balm – but they also offer soaps, body butter, balms, oils and more.

Badger sunscreen is available in a lightly scented SPF 30, unscented SPF 30, sunscreen with bug repellent SPF 30, lightly scented SPF 15 and a face stick SPF 30.

Where to buy? Many online retailers carry this, but right now it can be a little harder to come by since it’s in such high demand. Best bets: Amazon, Vitacost, Diapers.com, or try your local organic grocer, health store or Whole Foods.

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Safe sunscreens 2010

EWG's top-rated sunscreen

I never really thought about what was in my sunscreen until I had kids. Before my daughter was born, I was just beginning to learn about all the harmful chemicals in soap , shampoo, etc. So when it was time for us to take our yearly family beach trip, I sought out a safe sunscreen. Then I had to do the leg work myself, but didn’t really know what to look for either.

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group came to the rescue 4 years ago with their Safer Sunscreen Guide. Every year, new research is available, shifting the list around a bit. This year, research shows that vitamin A may speed up the development of cancer. See their whole list of surprising facts about sunscreen.

And you definitely will not find the widely used and available  Baby Blanket, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Panama Jack or Neutrogena anywhere near the top of the list, in fact, you will find these at the bottom of the list. Blue Lizard and Bull Frog are middle of the road. These chemicals sunscreens contain ingredients that are possible carcinogens. To me, it does not make any sense to slather on something that may cause cancer in an effort to protect yourself from something (the sun) that may cause cancer.

Non-nanoparticle zinc oxide based sunscreens are deemed to be the safest and most effective sunscreens available today. Zinc oxide is all natural offering sun protection without the harmful chemicals. And like other skin care products, you should be able to pronounce all the ingredients and it should be free of PEG compounds, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and any other active ingredient other than zinc oxide (or possibly titanium dioxide).

This year, EWG tested 500 sunscreens and can only recommend 39 of them for safety and effectiveness. That’s 8%. Pretty lame.

Here is a list of the top-10 sunscreens as tested by the EWG, and the EWG rating (0-2 = low concern, 3-6 = some concern, 7-10 = high concern).
1. Badger Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 30, Unscented 1
2. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30 Lightly Scented 1
3. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, Unscented, SPF 30 1
4. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+ 1
5. Loving Naturals Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1
6. Purple Prairie Botanicals Sun Stick, SPF 30 1
7. Purple Prairie Botanicals SunStuff, SPF 30 1
8. Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1
9. Soleo Organics Atlantis Resort All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1 -
10. Soleo Organics Wyland Organics All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 1

…….I have to toss CA Baby in here as it is one of my favorite lines
19. California Baby Sunblock Stick Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+ 2
20. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion Everyday/Year-Round, SPF 30+ 2
21. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+ 2
22. California Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+, Citronella 2

Want to see the rest of the list and see how your sunscreen stacks up? Visit EWG’s mini-site dedicated to sunscreens and sunscreen safety.

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Natural, homemade deodorant recipe

Roughly 7 years ago, I learned that aluminum was linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and even more recently learned of it’s potential link to breast cancer. So I set out to rid my life of aluminum. Aluminum is the active ingredient in most antiperspirants, so I tried several natural deodorants. Some worked better than others, but nothing seemed to work for my husband. He either broke out or smelled. Neither of which was acceptable.

Then I found a homemade recipe that got rave reviews, so I figured, “Why not?”

The recipe is easy to make, inexpensive and it WORKS! My husband is amazed and has been singing the praises of this homemade deo. He has not had any odor issues since using this, even after playing basketball.

Coconut oil has antibacterial properties, so it will not spoil and is likely the main reason this is so effective since body odor is caused by bacteria. I’m just beginning to see all the wonderful uses for coconut oil.

The recipe is very simple:
5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil (use in solid form)
¼ cup baking soda
¼ cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Mix together the baking soda and cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) until blended. Add in the coconut oil until you get the same consistency as regular deo. You can store in a lidded container and apply with your fingertips or an empty deodorant container (which is the easiest to use). 

To avoid any redness, I reduced the amount of baking soda just slightly and added some Shea butter (probably 1 tsp – 1 tbls).

Also, check out the comments in the post to find other ideas of things to add. Like a drop or so of tea tree oil for added antibacterial properties, or essential oils for a nice scent.

Make your own non-toxic foaming hand wash

Dr. Bronner's pure castile soap is made of organic essential oils

It’s next to impossible to find a non-toxic, triclosan-free foaming hand wash. Triclosan is the main ingredient in nearly all antibacterial hand soaps but it is toxic.

BabyGanics has a great foaming hand wash that is triclosan-free, but it is very pricy at almost $1 per ounce. You can find BabyGanics at Babies R Us.

The good news is you can use your current foaming hand soap containers and make your own for practically pennies!

You will need:

A foaming hand soap container (empty of course)

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap (your favorite scent)

Distilled or purified water

Tea tree oil (optional)

1. Find the “fill to this line” mark on the empty hand soap container so you can be sure not to overfill. You will use 4 or 5 parts water and 1 part Dr. Bronner’s. So if you have a 6 ounce container, you will use 5 ounces water to 1 ounce soap.

2. Fill your the container with the appropriate amount of the distilled or purified water.

3. Add the appropriate amount of Dr. Bronner’s soap up to the line.

4. You may choose add 1 drop of tea tree oil for antibacterial properties. Many do not like the strong smell, so do not add more than a drop or 2 if you choose to add it at all.

5. Screw on the top, give a gentle shake or swirl, and wash your hands!

If you find it is too soapy, or not soapy enough, you can add more or less soap the next time you make it.

Try different scents throughout the year. Peppermint would be nice in the winter (though it is tingly and may make your hands feel a little cool).

Making your own also ensures it’s free of parabens, formaldehyde and dioxanes.

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