Posts Tagged ‘cosmetics’

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!

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.

RELATED ARTICLES
Kiss My Face hair care review
Dioxanes found in popular organic body care products
California Baby product review
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.

RELATED ARTICLES
Safer sunscreens 2010
California Baby sunscreen review

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.

Kiss My Face Hair Care: Product Review

I was looking for a 1, 4 dioxane-free shampoo for my husband and I to try. He has had some skin cancers removed, so anything I discover is a known or probably carcinogen, it’s out the door. I found out that Kiss My Face’s shampoos were dioxane free, so I picked up the Miss Treated Shampoo and conditioner for myself and the Big Body one for my husband. Of course, the line is free from parabens, phthalates, SLS and other yuckies that I wanted to avoid.

The Miss Treated Shampoo I absolutely LOVE. It’s hydrating, smells nice and rinses clean, so there is no residue weighing down my hair.

The Miss Treated Conditioner is FANTASTIC. The first time I used it, my hair felt like silk as I was rinsing it out and was very soft even after using a blow dryer. My hair is long (I am growing it out for Locks of Love), so the ends do get dry. To help this, I will sometimes put a very small dab of the conditioner on my hands and comb through my hair, rubbing a little more on the ends. It helps immensely.

It also lasted a long time – a couple months for 1 bottle and I have very long hair. So I was please with that as it was more expensive than the Whole Foods 365 stuff I had been using. But the end result, no dioxanes and soft hair, is worth it.

The shampoo sells for about $8 at my Whole Foods or $6.42 at Amazon. The conditioner sells for the same.

I give the product an A for delivering results!

Related Articles
Dioxanes found in popular organic body care products
Dangers of BPA, phthalates and a host of other substances 
Do your cosmetic and beauty products contain toxic ingredients? 
California Baby line product review 
Aubrey Organics Kids line product review

Prescription drugs contain phthalates

The Environmental Health News reported that high doses of phthalates were found in some prescription drugs that have a time-release coating. It was also found in over-the-counter medications like Prilosec. Only a few medications were tested, but many, many medications have a time-release coating.

Phthalates have been found to decrease the penis size and sperm count of male babies who were exposed to them in utero. It’s thought exposure leads to abnormal reproductive tracks and reduced testosterone.

I was angry when I read this article the other day. I had to let it simmer before I wrote this post. This really upsets me because I have been taking a prescription prenatal during my whole pregnancy and an OTC medicine for heartburn, and I have watched very closely to the products I use to make sure they didn’t contain phthalates. Of course I do not know for a fact that they do, but its looking like they do.

In August, Congress passed a law that would ban the substance in children’s products, including toys. However, the law will not take effect until Feb 2009 and does not include any product designed for the over 12 years of age demographic. So for the rest of us, it’s good old research, calling, etc. to learn how to protect ourselves from phthalates. And unfortunately, they continue to turn up in the most unsuspecting places – like prescription drugs.

Phthalates are plasticizers commonly found in vinyl, but are also common in personal care products (shampoo, etc.) that contain fragrance, paints, adhesives, fragrances and nail polish.

Related Articles
Lead and Phthalate free toys for Christmas
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Dangers of BPA, phthalates and a host of other substances
BPA free bottles, sippies and food storage

Do your cosmetic and beauty products contain toxic ingredients?

The answer is probably “yes.” I have a very difficult time finding a product I can purchase off the shelves that does not contain toxic ingredients. Even products from Arbonne, Mary Kay, Avon, etc. are not free of toxins. Makes me mad that Arbonne touts the whole “Pure. Safe. Beneficial.” slogan, because it’s simply not true.

One lady has set out to educate the public on toxins in beauty products and has created her own website called OrganicDivas.com.

Another organization has started a Campaign for Safer Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org, where cosmetic and beauty care companies sign a compact that their products do not contain certain toxic ingredients. They are a coalition working to protect the public health by calling for the elimination of chemicals used in the cosmetics industry linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

They look at several factors when evaluating companies including global compliance with the EU cosmetics directive (strictest standards in the world for cosmetics), fully disclosing all ingredients, have a safe rating in the EWG’s cosmeticsdatabase.com, among other things.

You can download their PDF of campaign signers. Unless you already have eliminated such toxins from you home, it’s unlikely you will recognize many, if any, of these companies. Many of these are small companies who were started by mothers, women and other consumers who wanted safer products and were not able to find them. Some people had medical conditions that were aggravated by traditional skincare products, thus they created their own.

Organic Diva’s Fave Brands

Suki facial cleansers and foundations
UV Natural sunscreens (they have a baby version too)
Zum soaps and lotions
• Afterglow lipstick and blush
• Wee soaps, lotions and sunscreens for babies

Diva’s Dirty Dozen

Here’s a list of synthetic cosmetic ingredients known to cause or strongly suspected of causing cancer, birth defects or endocrine (hormone) disruption, as compiled by nutritionist and author Ann Louise Gittleman for the Organic Diva website.
• Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl paraben
• Imidazolindyl urea
• Diazolindyl urea
• Petrolatum
• Propylene glycol
• PVP/V copolymer
• Sodium lauryl sulfate
• Stearalkonium chloride
• Synthetic colors
• Synthetic fragrances
• Phthalates
• Triethanolamine

Related Articles
Aubrey Organic Kids line product review
California Baby line product review
TruKid Sunny Days sunscreen product review 
California Baby sunscreen product review

Aubrey Organics Kids Line: Product Review

I picked up some Aubrey Organics Kids shampoo, bath soap (liquid) and lotion at Whole Foods in my quest to replace my Arbonne Baby Line with safer products. Aubrey Organics is free of parabens, phthalates, PEGs, dioxanes and sodium laurel sulfate.  My first place of reference in deciding which products to try was the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database. The Aubrey Organics line was rated a 2 out of 10, considered a low hazard.

I like the scent of the shampoo and body wash and it lathers nicely. In a nutshell, it gets the job done.

I did not like that these products were not tear-free. I also prefer an all-in-one shampoo and body wash, but it was not a big deal.

The lotion was also nice and smooth. You do have to shake well before each use and the scent of the lotion was very strong. My husband cannot tolerate it its so strong. And in my first trimester with baby number two, the smell got to me at times too.

The price was in line with most similar products, about $9 for an 8oz bottle.

All in all, it’s a good product line, but could be better. I give it a B- for not being tear-free or an all-in-one wash and for the strongly scented lotion.

Antibacterial products contain toxin Triclosan

Go figure, in our germophobe nation, many people use antibacterial products. Over the last few years, it’s come to public light that really these products are no better than regular soap and water. If the active ingredient in your antibacterial product is Triclosan, as it is in half of all hand soaps, then you are exposing yourself (and your family) to this toxic chemical.

In a press release, EWG states

“Triclosan has been linked to cancer in lab animals, has been targeted for removal from some stores in Europe for its health and environmental risks, and the American Medical Association recommends against its use in the home. It is also linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and low levels of triclosan may disrupt the thyroid hormone system. Thyroid hormones are essential to proper growth and development, particularly for brain growth in utero and during infancy.

Triclosan breaks down into very toxic chemicals, including a form of dioxin; methyl triclosan, which is acutely toxic to aquatic life; and chloroform, a carcinogen formed when triclosan mixes with tap water that has been treated with chlorine. Scientists surveyed 85 U.S. rivers and streams, and found traces of triclosan in more than half.”

The EWG published its own study and provides a guide on triclosan and how to avoid it and its cousin triclocarban.

This toxin poses a risk to everyone, but mostly fetuses, infants and young children. It’s found in many everyday products – such as cutting boards, shower curtains, credit cards, baby bibs, counter tops, soap and more. It can be passed by a mother to a fetus and to her infant through her breast milk.

It’s best to just avoid this toxin by reading product labels and using the EWG guide on where to look for and how to avoid it.  

Once again, the FDA is failing to protect us from toxins. Several stores in Europe are looking into banning all products containing triclosan.

I use Dr. Bronner’s soap and love it. I have eczema and it’s mild on my skin. I like the baby mild soap , but there are many other “flavors” including Hemp Eucalyptus, and Hemp Lavender; and they also have liquid versions such as Hemp Almond, Hemp Tea Tree  or Hemp Peppermint.

Related Articles
Congress passes ban on phthalates
California Baby Suncreen: Product Review
TruKid Sunny Days Sunscreen: Product Review

Kirkland Baby Wipes Contain Hazardous Ingredient
4 out of 5 Suncreens Do Not Work
Lead in Christmas Lights
Pregnant women told to avoid BPA packaging
BPA free bottles and sippy cups
Breastmilk cures
Disturbing news about DHA / ARA in infant formula

What’s in your Cosmetics?

Would you rub animal fat, beetles or cancer-causing chemicals on your face to add color or moisturize? Unless you are trying to win a contest, you probably would not willingly do so, yet you are very likely doing this everyday! Many cosmetic companies use animal ingredients like gelatin, glycerin, carmine, collagen, lanolin, fragrance, and many others in their products. These ingredients are given fancy names like carmine, which is the natural red color that comes from the dried female cochineal beetle. Other chemical ingredients are known to cause cancer, birth defects and other health issues.

Currently, the US cosmetic industry is unregulated, leaving these companies free to put virtually anything into our personal care products. There are no laws that require pre-market testing. This is unacceptable, but there are groups working to push Congress to change this and make cosmetics safe for use.

The Environmental Working Group is one of them. Check out their Skin Deep website  where you can look up individual ingredients, products and companies. I have noticed that some products are dated, but you can double check the ingredients they have listed with those on your bottle, you can even join for free and get customized reports on products you use that are not listed in the database. While at their website, be sure to sign their petition to the US Congress urging them to make cosmetics safe for use.

The Compact for Safe Cosmetics is a global push for cosmetic companies to sign and agree that all of the cosmetics and personal care products made by that company anywhere in the world “meet the formulation standards and deadlines set by the European Union Directive 76/768/EEC to be free of chemicals that are known or strongly suspected of causing cancer, mutation or birth defects.”

There is some good news, there are many companies that are cruelty-free and have vegan products. Vegan products are not tested on animals and contain no animal by-products (like the beetles). Vegan products do not contain any animal by-products including eggs, milk, glycerin, etc. (important note: some contain plant derived glycerin). Look at the ingredients and for symbols, such as vegan certification. Besides Skin Deep’s website, you can look at websites such as this one or this one to learn more about cosmetic ingredients. It will note if the ingredient is derived from animals and what ingredients are harmful chemicals. Check out this website to learn what 10 ingredients to avoid to choose more organic products. This is a greater list of toxic chemicals found in personal care products.

Animal testing is just not necessary for cosmetics and personal care products. So much testing has been done to date that there is virtually no ingredient or combination of that has not already been tested. Yet some companies still conduct animal testing. Here is a good reference to determine who is and who is not conducting animal testing.

Many products make claims that the product is not tested on animals. There is no regulation or legal definition on what this means, so companies may make this claim if the final product is not tested on animals, though the individual ingredients may be. Companies may also farm out the testing to other companies or buy the ingredients from a company who does do animal testing. So just because that particular company is not testing themselves, does not mean that the company is ensuring the final product nor its ingredients have never been tested on animals.

List of Cruelty-Free companies (even beyond cosmetics)

Environmental Working Group

EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Companies that do/don’t test on animals

Pocket guide to cruelty-free companies

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