Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Part Two of getting your health-care products back to being beneficial for your health and your body...and the environment of course ~_^.

So now you know what to avoid so the big question lingers...What on Earth Can I use now?!! This question can certainly be overwhelming (I know I thought so!) and to answer it I've compiled a list of companies that get the go-ahead and ones that require a personal decision. The more research I do the more I see just how many Organic and Natural-based companies are good but not great. While they do carry products that are mostly on the safe side, lots do still contain questionable ingredients that have possible low to moderate health hazards. The bottom line is, if there is an ingredient that sounds synthetic, chances are it is and then brings the question whether you reaaaally want it absorbed into your body through your skin. However, the 100% pure products are hard to come by and labels should Always be read regardless of the company.

My mad mission to find the safest products has been quite the task! I found myself researching ingredient after ingredient, scanning through my own supposedly "Organic" & "Natural" beauty products and discovering the deception of numerous hazardous ingredients that I hadn't realized were there. I began to feel defeated, that there were NO options that you could be certain were truly natural and safe. However, in my usual up-beat fashion, I wasn't ready to give up. So I picked myself back up and the quest continued. My search brought me to the wonderful world of Etsy, and it turns out the safest solutions are those that are hand-made, not mass-produced--I know, who would have thought it, right? ~_^ These small personally-ran companies mean that a lot of their products are made-to-order which means they don't need chemical preservatives and synthetic fragrances. Sure, you may have to buy online, and their may be a longer wait, but in the end they are well worth it if it means a healthy body! ^_^


For those who aren't willing to wait by ordering online, or for those that want the convenience of what is likely readily available in your local health store, you can check out this first list. Here you will find the best companies that are "Organic" and "Natural" that have minimal synthetic and chemical ingredients.

Remember, I still raise the warning flag here. While a lot of these companies' products may be much much better than your typical big-name brand products, they aren't perfect and a lot still contain possibly hazardous ingredients. I like to compare this to smoking...Sure you're not smoking the cigarette but you may still be inhaling the fumes.


Dr. Hauschka: Is a quality German line of body, hair, and even makeup. They even grow their own 100% certified Organic ingredients. There are still questionable synthetic ingredients so you might want to read labels prior to purchasing.

Weleda: Uses a high-percentage of quality Organic and Fair-trade Ingredients and is 100% Natural. While the majority of their ingredients are Organic and amazing, they still contain some questionable ingredients such as Linalool, Limonene, and Stearic Acid. Again, read labels.

Aubrey Organics: Another line of skin, hair, and body care products. 100% Natural and packed full of Organic ingredients, Vegan, and no animal testing! Check individual products for ingredients.

Druide: a line from Quebec of shower gels, soaps, shampoos, and facial prodcuts, many of which are 100% certified Organic. They do not include their ingredient list online so best to check individual products in-stores to be safe.


Jason: Listed in my handy "Ecoholic" book as a goodie for hair-care products that do not contain petroleum-based ingredients. Since they do not have an ingredient list online I suggest double checking labels prior to any commitment.

Giovanni Natural Hair Care: I've been using this line for the past year because it was listed in the "Ecoholic" book as a goodie, however upon further research I will, personally, be looking for something else to use. While they do contain large amounts of Organic ingredients, are 100% Natural, and are not tested on Animals, they do have lots of possibly hazardous ingredients. I've found that as far as this company goes, it really depends from product to product. Again, read labels before purchasing.


Herbatint: This is my personal favorite option for hair-coloring. Remember that you will not find ANY hair dyes that are completely safe, but these are much much better than your conventional ones. Their dyes are biodegradable, are ammonia- and cruelty-free, and contain no parabens, perfumes, or alchohols. They also have much lower concentrations of PPD and Peroxide in their permanent line, and NO PPD or Peroxide in their semi-permanent line.

Ecocolors: Another line that has only small amounts of PPD and Peroxide, and has no parabens, sulfites, propylene glycol, and even no gluten.

Naturcolor: This plant-based line of hair-dye is Ammonia- & cruelty-free, and is low in PPD.

Clairol's Natural Instincts: The big buzz was when this big-name company brought out their "Natural" line. Well, it may bebetter than their other dyes but it still contains over a dozen chemicals. This semi-permanent line is free of ammonia however and lower in peroxide.

Aveda (Salon): Still not a great option but their salons are a million times better than your conventional hair-dresser if you refuse to do your own hair. Their dyes are actually up to 97% plant-based as well.


If you're like me then you only want the best for your body. I personally can't stand breathing in cigarette fumes so I don't want my body exposed to other chemicals on top of that (let's face it, there's enough of that already out their in our Earth's damaged atmosphere :p). I have spent HOURS (my husband can testify to that haha ~_^) researching for only the BEST options available and this is what I have found...


Terressentials: as it says on their website "Organics for smart people" with 100% Organic Ingredients here! There is not a single questionable ingredient I could find so it gets a big applause from me. They have an extensive line of Body Oils, Body Cremes & lotions, Body Washes, and Hand-soaps. Not to mention the majority of their products are available in Trial sizes!!

Lunadoncella: I discovered this hand-made company on my favourite website, Etsy ^_^. They also have a website and make some yummy sounding Body Creams, Body Scrubs, and Bath and Body Oils. Oils and Butters are cold-pressed, certified organic and committed Cruelty Free, and the Herbs are homegrown, ethically wild-crafted and/or purchased from certified organic farms only. They even have a line for pets, children, and even have green house cleaners!

Herbolution: Another awesome Etsy seller here with 100% Natural Hand-made products! They use Organic and wild-crafted Herbs and are super earth-conscious with their packaging! Their Chocolate-Vanilla Body Butter sounds amazing! I will be trying it out right away! They also have delicious sounding Coconut Vanilla Body Polish Scrub, Body Oils, Spritzers, Massage Oil, and Bath Bombs & Salts! And lots of their products are Vegan.

Valley Green Naturals LLC: Another beauty discovered on the always amazing Etsy ^_^. All ingredients are disclosed for each individual products, which is always reassuring. Lots of Organic and Vegan-friendly ingredients that are cruelty-free and chemical free. Have a beautiful line ranging from body, face, hair, aromatherapy, and a men's line. Their body lotions are available in a variety of yummy scents (or unscented), as well they have a dry-hand remedy, foot cream, and a bikini-area balm!

CARŌL’S: I believe this was formerly known as Life Root; B.C. based and made by hand in small batches with certified Organic or Wildcrafted herbs. There is full disclosure on their website and they claim to use only certified organic and/or wild crafted herbs, are non-GMO and cruelty free, as well they are sold by leading health food retailers. I place it on this list because they seem genuine and most of their ingredients check out, but I did discover some preservatives that could raise concern, still might be worth asking about.


Terressentials: They have a Detoxifying Facial Cleanser and a Daily Renewal Facial Lotion, or the option of a Fragrance-Free Facial Cleanser, Toner, and Lotion. They have both available as a Skin Care Sampler which is always a good option for trying out new products. :)

Lunadoncella: Have a couple 100% Natural Cleansers, toners, face creams, face masks that sound amazing and delicious! No questionable ingredients and sound oh so yummy! ^_^

Herbolution: This hand-made company from Etsy is packed full of Organic and 100% natural ingredients, plus most are Vegan! Choose from several different Organic Cleansing Grains, Facial Toners, Moisturizing Serums, and Face Masks! Plus none of their products are contaminated with plastic packaging and lots are even in recycled jars!! ^_^

Valley Green Naturals LLC: Completely Natural and filled with essential oils and beneficial ingredients, their "Cool Clarity" line contains a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer either available separately or bundled together to save! Or you can choose their Hydration Plus Facial Therapy Moisturizer. They also have a Revitalizing Eye Remedy cream, a Dead Sea Facial Masque, and a Mineral Splash Facial Mist!

VADA: You can now only find these products online but they are worth the wait. This Canadian-made, plant-based line of products includes face, body, bath, hands, feet, lips, and hair. They even have men’s and baby products. The majority of their ingredients rock, however still check individual products before purchasing as a few of their products do not get my approval (ie. some of their lotions contain Fragrance! :p). I do however use their Facial Moisturizer and LOVE it!


Valley Green Naturals LLC: They have two different Shampoos to choose from, one which you can choose from a variety of different yummy scents :). And they have a Hydration Plus Tea Tree Citrus Conditioning Hair Milk that works perfectly with their shampoos.

Lunadoncella: Have a couple Hair Conditioners and scalp therapy products :)

Terressentials: This awesome company has some yummy sounding scents (or fragrance-free) Pure Earth Hair Washes. They are best for non-chemical treated hair, for more information on that check out their website. :)


Terressentials: It is very hard to find deodorants that do not contain propylene glycol and here I have found some that don't which I am very excited about! Lots of yummy sounding scents or the option of unscented. Whether or not they work is still up for debate but I will be trying them out (so keep an eye out for a review! ~_^).

Alum Salts: No this is not a company name, just a general deodorant crystal that has been highly recommended. It is a natural rock salt and is the purest option you can find. Several different companies carry them, such as Lafes and Crystal. I have however tried these out (and so has the husband) but found them rather ineffective. Sadly I did not have the patience, but I have however heard from several sources that the longer you use them the better they work. So if you have the patience, definitely worth a try!

Burt's Bees: I can't speak for all of their products (and they were after all bought out by CLOROX which is questionable in itself) but my husband has had the same problem as me for some time--finding a deodorant that works. He tried out their Herbal Deodorant and it works GREAT for him...I tried it and it turns out I'm a smelly Italian?? What I've learned...everyone's body is different and finding a deodorant that works for you might take a lot of trial and error.


Ecco Bella: Their perfumes are awesome and completely natural, however I would steer clear of the majority of their other products as many contain parabens and lots of other baddies.

Lunadoncella: I'm listing them again for their awesome selection of completely natural Aromatherapy roll-on perfumes!

Herbolution: Have an Organic Oil Perfume as well as several super yummy sounding Body Spritzers that are 100% Natural and Vegan!

Glittersniffer: Although I have not yet personally tried her roll-on perfumes, if they are as amazing as her other products you are in for a real treat!!


Glittersniffer: Has been a personal Etsy favourite for some time, whom I discovered through my favourite forum, She has the most amazing color selection of eyeshadows and liners (not to mention they have the awesomest names ever!) and even carries some specialty products like Mascara and her new FaceGlue Primer. I am in love with her products, and although I have yet to try the Face Glue, I have no doubt it is amazing! It's All natural mineral make-up that is free of nasty synthetics (and free of bismuth oxychloride, which is commonly found in other mineral makeup) totally vegan, and hand-made!

Afterglow Cosmetics: Another mineral makeup company that carries a Mineral foundation, Blush, and Bronzer powder that I approve. As well as an eyeliner pencil, mascara, lipstick, and some eyeshadows that are free of most chemicals and bismuth oxychloride. They have lots of products that I still do not approve of as well, so keep an eye open.

Rejuva Minerals: Have a huge selection of makeup options, including Mascara, and Organic EyeLiner Pencil, Shadows, Bronzers, Blush, you name it! :)

Zosimos Botanicals: Discovered this cute little company through my research on the Skin Deep website (see below for details). They have an array of makeup products--as well as other products--that are 100% Natural! Will be trying their Eyeliner Pencil, so watch for a review ~_^.


Thompson's Calendula Creme: My Mom turned me onto this awesome healing creme of 100% natural herb extracts. I would never have thought about using it on my lips but now I won't use anything else. I find other lip balms actually dry out my lips and I have to re-apply them frequently. This has natural healing properties and is absolutely not drying. I use it religiously and it even has quite the shine to it which means I rarely use lip gloss (beware though, don't put TOO much on or it will look tooshiny!).

Terressentials: Have four Lip Protectors to choose from, all 100% Organic Igredients!

Lunadoncella: Have lots of yummy-sounding Lip Balms with all natural ingredients!

Herbolution: Choose from their "Peppermint Kiss" (Vegan!), "Shiny Lips", or "Chocolate Vanilla" Lip Balms that are 100% Natural!


HENNA: Sorry ladies (and guys) but the ONLY 100% Natural route to go is this one! I have tried several different Henna options before, but the best ones are the ones that are uncontaminated. Check out Henna Sooq for some awesome color options, including uncontaminated Indigo for Black hair ^_^. Be warned, if you use it you won't be able to dye your hair any other color for quite some time! They may be messy to use but, as I said, they are also the ONLY route to go when health is involved.


Terressentials: Again, it doesn't get any more natural than this company! They have a full line of Baby Wash, Massage Oil, Lotion, and "Tush Treatment" and as always, available in a care sampler to try out if in doubt.

Lunadoncella: Have 100% Natural Baby Powder, Bath and/or Massage Oil, Milk Bath, and "Bottom's Up Salve".


Skin Deep is your new Best Friend

If ever in Doubt over an ingredient simply look it up on this amazing website:

I wish I had discovered Skin Deep at the beginning of my search. It is an awesome tool for references of the safety levels of ingredients and products, and they are always improving and changing their data through researches and studies. You can look up any ingredient and it will let you know the hazard level. And not only that, but will include studies done to link to those hazards, as well as a breakdown of exactly what the ingredient is. You can even look up PRODUCTS on there! Yup, you heard me! It could save you some time of scanning through ingredient lists just by check out their website. You can even look up by product type (ie. mascara) and find a list ranking from safest to horribly hazardous. ^_^

To help you use the site better, here's some helpful information for their scoring system. You might notice that some ingredients that get the low hazard level might still have a grey check mark in some of the hazard boxes. Let's take the Cancer check box for example. What you should know is that this doesn't necessarily mean that it causes cancer until the check mark is Red, which means it has proven evidences of linking this ingredient to cause cancer. If the color is yellow or light gray - more studies need to be done and all claims have not been proven yet. One should also note that a lot of the testing is done at 100% concentration--which you are not normally exposed to within products. It will tell you the percentage that the testing has been done on for the scoring system.

If you have a product that has a Lot of moderately Hazardous ingredients, this is when you might want to think about tossing it for something new.

Have any products or companies, or even experiences you want to share? Please leave comments and share the information and fun to get us all back to better health! ^_^

~Bianca xo

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010


On a daily basis we drench ourselves in thousands of toxic chemicals and carcinogens that are not only harmful to ourselves but also to our wildlife and our very planet. Take a moment and step back to look at your collection of beauty products. Chances are you wash your hair in SLS, moisturize with some parabens, apply talc to pretty up your eyes, slather your underarms with propylene glycol and aluminum. And this is just to name a few of the largely untested and huge list of chemical and petroleum-derived, genetically modified, animal-tested or animal-based ingredients found in health-care products.

Need a reason to double check your beauty products?

Over a third of the 14, 000 products that the EWG catalogued and cross-referenced against toxicity databases have at least one ingredient that's linked to cancer!

On top of that, there are roughly 10, 500 chemical ingredients in personal care products.

Have faith that companies wouldn't poison us through care products? Think again. Canada nor the U.S. require much testing for their products--only about 11% have been tested for safety!

Oh, and those that have been tested, are done through the actual companies themselves, not by Health Canada. And in the States they're tested through the Cosmetic Industry Review Board.

You may say, who cares? That "cancer causes everything, so why bother?" Well, Ok, I understand that but what a terrible outlook on life. That's like saying "oh I'm being chased by a blood-thristy cougar and safety is a few feet away, but why bother running to it?". Avoiding cancer-causing ingredients isn't as hard as people make it out to be. Indeed, the majority of products out there have some sort of chemical, possibly cancerous, ingredient, but that doesn't mean solutions don't exist and they are becoming increasingly more popular.

For those of you who think you're in the clear because you buy "Natural" or "Organic" products, you might want to re-read your labels. Lots of companies up their Water (or "aqua") content to make it seem like they have a higher percentage of Organic ingredients. And even if the majority of the ingredients are Organic, you should still keep an eye out for chemicals, especially "parabens". These little toxic buggers are lurking everywhere! Go ahead, check everything from your hair conditioner to your makeup. Chances are you'll find some form of paraben listed. So, read your labels, check for chemicals, and when in doubt you can always look up an ingredient on the good ol' internet. To save you some trouble, here's a list of Ingredients to Steer clear from....

Diethanolamine (DEA): A suspected Carcinogen that is commonly found in shampoos, body wash, and makeup. Cocamide DEA, MEA, and TEA may be contaminated with DEA as well.

Formaldehyde: Commonly found in ingredients such as imidazolidinyl urea, DMD hydantoin, and quaternium-15. Is air-polluting, and a lung irritating volatile organic compound (VOC). It is also a probable human carcinogen.

Parabens: Including methyl, ethyl, etc. has estrogenic properties that mimic female hormones. They are linked to cancer. Although the studies have not been conclusive, a study found parabens in 18 to 20 human breast tumors. So you be the judge. My judgement; steer clear!

Petrolatum: Comes from non-renewable crude oil. And if you don't care about the environmental aspect, is it really something you want absorbed into your body? It is not breathable. Mineral oil is also petroleum-based.

Phenylenediamine (PPD)/ P-diamino benzene: Hair-dye users be ware! PPD is found in every permanent hair-dye out there. It has been linked to bladder cancer. A study also showed that deep-colored dyes (like dark brown or black) may increase the risk of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and multiple melanomas when used frequently. The International Journal of Cancer found that women who dye their hair (regardless of the color) more than once a month (with permanent shades) are more than twice as likely to develop bladder cancer. Been dyeing more than 15 years? Your chances increase to three times as likely. And Hairdressers are five times more likely.

Phthalates (aka "Fragrance"): Yup, you read right. All those times you read "Fragrance" on your labels, you're more than likely facing one of the many hormone-disrupting Phthalates. They are essentially plastic softeners. They have been shown to cause birth-defects in rats and other animals in various studies, and DNA damage in the sperm of adult men. Dibutylphthalate, DEHP, DEP are just a few, if you're suspicious best to look it up to keep this nasty ingredient off your body. Keep your eyes peeled! They are found in 52 of the 72 name-brand beauty products that were lab-tested by a coalition of environmental and public health groups.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS): If you have dandruff, chances are it is caused by this chemical found in just about every shampoo out there (yes, ironically including anti-dandruff shampoos!). It is a known skin-irritant. Although it has been found to not cause cancer after much debate, many people are still not convinced.

Talc: Lurking in everything from eye shadow and blush, to baby powder and deodorant. It is commonly contaminated with asbestos which turns it into a recognizes carcinogen. The U.S. Department of Health's NIH (National Institute of Health) voted to have all talc categorized as a probable carcinogen, but sadly it was voted down by another government body. It was also responsible (along with nasty Butane and Propane--both also commonly found in deodorant!) for huge environmental impacts, including the illegal mining in a wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve where trees were chopped, holes blasted into the earth, water tables drained, and threatening the habitat of severely endangered creatures.

Toluene: This powerful neuro-toxin is found in most Nail Polishes. Long-term exposure affects the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. It can also contribute to air-pollution, so an over-all baddy here!

Triclosan: If you're among the anti-bacterial obsession then you are exposing yourself to nasty Triclosan. This chemical is so bad it has been banned by U.K. supermarkets. 75% of it makes it down our drains and past our sewage treatment plants, building up in our rivers. When it is exposed to sunlight in water it turns into dioxins (a carcinogenic hormone disruptor). Approximately 200 tons of it makes it onto farmer's fields, which means, you guessed it, to your dinner table. It is all over the place and even been found in breast milk. Stop supporting this anti-bacterial craze that does nothing but lower our defences against germs, and could breed drug-resistant bug strains.

Aluminum (and/or Zirconian): Chances are you've already heard to stay away from Aluminum (commonly found in anti-perspirant) but in case you need further persuasion... It clogs pores! It is also linked to Alzheimer's, and although Health Canada claims there is nothing to worry about, it is found in higher concentrations in the brain tissue of Alzheimer's patients.

Coal-tar based Colors (ie. Yellow No.6): Causes possible liver toxicity and cancer hazards.

Propylene Glycol: Found in over half of deoderants out there, including "Natural" and "Organic" ones. It is essentially anti-freeze and is toxic to aquatic life.

Fluoride: Sadly this is found not only in most toothpastes and at your dentist, but it is also in most of our drinking water (tell your MP you don't want it!). Studies show that it accumulates in bones and is linked to increased bone cancer rates in young boys, as well as hip fractures.

So you may be feeling at a loss here after going through your collection of beauty products and discovering many of these nasty ingredients on the labels. But you didn't think I'd just leave you stranded did you? This is only part one of the Beauty Products blog. I will make a list of solutions and products that are available so that you are no longer "dying to be beautiful". And you can always scrounge the labels at your local health care supermarket ^_^. Again, when in doubt about an ingredient that doesn't sound quite right, look it up. Best to be safe than sorry!

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