• The Dirty Dozen

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    When searching for safe cosmetics and beauty care items, one can easily get lost in translation with terms such as “green” “natural” and “organic.” Unfortunately, these words are too often tossed around the cosmetic aisle. Even though terms are popping up on labels more and more, what do they really mean? Did you know that “natural” and “organic” don’t actually mean the same thing? We’ll break down the definitions for you:

    • Organic – An organic product label means the item is certified organic by any of the numerous certifying institutions (look for the certified organic label) and that all products are harvested without the use of synthetic chemicals. Additionally, the manufacturing process of the item must abstain from chemicals and synthetic elements.
    • Natural – A natural label on a product means the company is more concerned with consumer safety than the purity of the product. Meaning, some petrochemicals and preservatives are allowed in these items. However, they do not include the most problematic of chemicals or the ones that do the most harm to you health.

    While labels like to claim their product is either organic or natural, many times, if you actually take the time to read the ingredient list, you’ll see a few natural origins (at best!) mixed with plenty of chemical and synthetic elements. Which, needless to say, can cause major health issues throughout your lifetime. It’s important to take care of your body, and, if you strive to eat healthfully and lead an active lifestyle, why would you fill it with harmful chemicals?

    While we know the importance of organic skin care and cosmetics, we are also realistic. Most people cannot simply throw out all their products and start from scratch. It’s okay to start small and work your way into an all-organic beauty routine. So, while on your journey to green up your beauty routine, know the chemicals that you should avoid at all costs.

    1. Synthetic sunscreen

    While sun protection is important, synthetic sunscreen can mimic estrogen and cause hormonal disruption and irritate the skin. When you head outdoors, it’s best to use sunscreen that is effective and safe.

    1. Fragrances

    If you see fragrance on your product’s ingredient list, it’s best to step away. Fragrance is a loophole used to mask the number of chemicals that are needed to make the synthetic smell. The problem is that the company doesn’t have to name the ingredients; they can simply put “fragrance” on the label.

    1. Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate

    Added to soaps and shampoos to create foam, these chemicals not only dry out your skin, but are extremely irritating, and cause rashes and allergic reactions.

    1. Phthalates

    This component is often used as a carrier for fragrances in products like hair spray, lipstick, and perfume. It is known to negatively affect fertility and fetal development.

    1. Propylene Glycol

    A group of petroleum-based ingredients that don’t sound good for your skin no matter which way you spin it. They are linked to cancer and can cause harm to your nervous system.

    1. Parabens

    This preservative is found in soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and hair care products. Parabens are extremely dangerous, as they act like estrogen in the body and can lead to infertility or damaged fetal development. They have also been found in breast tissue.

    1. Petrolatum

    Found in skincare products like lip balm and makeup, petrolatum is dangerous, as it contains impurities that are linked to cancer. It’s worth noting that words like petroleum jelly and mineral oil are often used to identify the chemical.

    1. Heavy metals

    Heavy metals are used to block sweat and whiten, lighten, or add color. These are found in lip products, whitening toothpaste, sunscreen, eye drops, and plenty of makeup. It’s best to avoid these, as they are a possible carcinogen, cause developmental and reproductive issues, cause allergic reactions, and bio-accumulate in the body.

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    1. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)

    This is a preservative found in hair care items, body wash, and sunscreen. The chemical poses as a possible neurotoxin, contributes to health risks in unborn children, and causes allergic reactions.

    1. Formaldehyde

    Often found in items such as nail polish, deodorant, and shampoo, formaldehyde is an impurity released by chemical preservatives. Not only is it carcinogenic, but it irritates the skin and lungs, and is linked to gastrointestinal and liver issues.

    1. DEA, TEA

    This is a foaming agent used in many shampoos, body washes, and skin care products. It’s dangerous because it can form cancerous compounds with mixed with other cosmetic ingredients.

    1. 1,4 Dioxane

    Used in products such as shampoo, facial cleansers, body wash, bubble bath, and liquid soap, this chemical is carcinogenic, causes irritations to the skin and immune system, and is a suspected cardiovascular and blood toxicant.

  • Organic Is Easier Than You Think

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    Beauty buys are seemingly harmless. They are designed to better your skin from impurities and blemishes, protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and sometimes a girl just needs a little color on her lips to make herself feel better. However, while these are made to bring out the natural beauty in all of us, there is hardly anything natural in these products.

    Just one glimpse at the ingredient label will make your head spin. It’s likely you’ll see a long list of stuff you’ll hardly recognize. The sad truth is that most personal care items are chock full of harmful toxins that have lasting and irreversible effects on our bodies. Major toxins that are found in most beauty buys have been linked to the following:

    • Skin allergies
    • Asthma
    • Cancer
    • Birth defects
    • Reproductive issues
    • Infertility
    • Attention deficit disorder
    • Behavioral issues
    • Type II diabetes
    • Autism spectrum disorders
    • Neurodevelopment issues

    Yuck! That’s a scary list. Anyone who strives to live a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t feel that their products work against their diet and fitness routine. Give your beauty and skincare products a makeover and go organic. Other than the obvious, you might be surprised at the benefit you’ll receive from the switch.

    Why Go Organic?

    Beauty products that are certified organic (look for the FDA label and product list to ensure genuine organic ingredients) clean, tone, exfoliate, and protect your skin just as “regular” products do. The difference being, organic products do this without the use of additives and toxic chemicals. While that’s reason enough to ban those products for good, we wanted to drive the point home and give you a few other reasons why you are more than deserving of organic beauty products.

    • Eco-Friendly

    Not only are these items better for you, but they are better for the planet! Just as the many chemicals are toxic to humans, when they have flushed down a drain, they can cause harm to waterways and aquatic animals. Plus, a lot of organic companies use recyclable and biodegradable packaging as well.

    • Gentle on Your Skin

    Do you consider yourself to have sensitive skin? Are you often avoiding certain products because they are too harsh? Well, since organic beauty buys contain ingredients that are natural and treated naturally, they are gentle on your skin. You should experience drying, redness, and irritation just to stay moisturized.

    • Simple Is Better

    Just as we all deserve to pick and choose all the foods that we put into our bodies, we deserve to know what we put into our bodies as well. There are plenty of loopholes that companies use to hide toxic chemicals on the ingredient list. Take the term fragrance, for example. It is not mandatory for companies to list the dozens of chemicals used to create the scent of a product. Instead, all they have to list is “fragrance,” which leaves buyers in the dark. However, on all organic labels, what you see is what you get.

    It’s Easier Than You Think

    Okay, so far you’re on board, but do you think making the switch will be too complicated? Are you thinking to yourself that you don’t have the time to make all these changes? Don’t become discouraged! It’s easier than you think to green up your beauty routine. Just follow these easy steps and, in no time, you’ll make the switch, and you can say goodbye to harmful hormone-disrupting, skin-irritating products for good!

    • Avoid fragrance.

    If you see “fragrance” listed on the ingredient list, step away. Avoid fragrances, as they have dozens of harmful chemicals hiding behind the word. This is an easy way to make sure your products are safer, and a great start to simplify your skincare products.

    • Start from the inside.

    Diet makes a huge difference in your skincare and beauty routine. When you eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of water, and lead an active lifestyle, it shows on your skin. Make sure to take care of yourself in these ways and don’t rely heavily on serums, creams, lotions, and potions.

    • Pay attention to packaging.

     

    Packaging plays a role in your green beauty buys. Make sure the containers and packaging aren’t made from harmful chemical or plastics. Also, try to buy items with packaging that is 100 percent recyclable and/or biodegradable.

    • Reach for organic and natural products.

    When shopping for your skin care supplies and cosmetics, take this newfound information and make a change for the better. Always read the label and reach for natural and organic products.

  • Everything You Should Know about Toothpaste

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    While we talk about converting our skincare, sunscreen, and cosmetics to natural options that are safe from harmful chemicals such as parabens, sulfate, and phthalates, there is often one product that gets left out of the discussion – toothpaste. Why is it that we give such little thought to our toothpaste? The product we use each morning and before we lay our head down each night. While oral health is of high importance in America, and more people than ever have become aware of taking the natural or organic route in their beauty routines, toothpaste is hardly brought up.

    However, just as with other everyday products, there is an ugly side to this staple. Everyone needs to clean their teeth, but we should do so safely. Here we break down everything you need to know about toothpaste.

    The Ugly Side of Fluoride

    Ever since we were children, dentists and parents alike drilled into our heads the importance of fluoride. It strengthens teeth, reduce cavities, and is essential for all-around dental hygiene. However, there really isn’t a need for fluoride-filled toothpaste and mouthwash, because many municipalities have fluoride in their water systems. Despite what you may hear, many Americans are exposed to a significant amount of fluoride each day.

    Which is not a good thing, since fluoride is more harmful than you may think. In fact, it’s a poison. That’s right. If you look on the back of your conventional toothpaste box, you are likely to see a warning that cautions you, if it is accidently swallowed, to contact poison control immediately.

    Brushing your teeth with something that contains poison doesn’t sound very pleasant. But, it doesn’t stop there. Fluoride can do the following:

    • Discolor teeth
    • Contribute to causes of cancer
    • Lead to birth defects
    • Suppress the immune system

    Benefits of Natural

    Besides eliminating unnecessary chemicals and additives, natural toothpaste works wonders for the health of your mouth. Here are just some of our favorite benefits:

    • Safer

    Besides the fact that natural toothpaste doesn’t include fluoride, they also contain no artificial chemicals, preservatives, or sweeteners that are used to fight tooth decay and gingivitis. Wouldn’t you feel safe knowing you can keep your mouth clean and healthy without using harmful ingredients?

    • Gentler

    Do you suffer from tooth sensitivity? Perhaps you notice stinging or bleeding at your gum line? Maybe you suffer from canker sores and mouth ulcers, which your toothpaste only worsens. Well, since natural options use plant and fruit extracts instead of harsh chemicals, they are gentler on your mouth.

    • Safely Imported

    Natural toothpaste companies formulate their products in the United States and, while they may have certain ingredients imported, their organic certification requires regular inspection of their facilities and products to ensure everything is organic. Other toothpaste manufacturing companies, however, do not have these same regulations.

    • Naturally Whiten

    Yes, we all want those pearly whites. But, you can get a whiter, brighter smile without the use of harmful chemicals. While artificial bleaching agents will whiten your smile, just think of what the chemicals are doing to your body and health. Natural toothpaste uses ingredients such as hydrated silica, papaya, and peelu to brighten your smile instead.

    • Real Flavors

    As a kid, you were probably a fan of the bubblegum flavor. As an adult, you probably turn to the minty fresh flavor to freshen your breath. However, wouldn’t you rather use a toothpaste that uses plant oil for flavoring? We think real peppermint flavors taste better than synthetic, laboratory-made flavors any day.

    • No Animal Testing

    Animal lovers will seriously appreciate this one. Natural toothpaste refrains from testing their products on animals, and they like to follow an environmentally friendly approach to packaging and manufacturing. You can’t get this from other companies.

  • 10 Reasons to Avoid Sulfate

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    By now, you probably are aware of all the harmful chemicals and toxins that are found in most of the beauty, makeup, and skincare products that sit on shelves in every store. And, while they are all bad, there is one bad boy that is worth focusing on – sulfate. Specifically, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SELS). Both SLS and SELS are found in everyday products such as:

    • Shampoo
    • Body wash
    • Soap
    • Toothpaste
    • Bubble bath
    • Dish soap
    • Stain remover
    • Laundry detergent
    • Shave cream
    • Mascara
    • Mouthwash
    • Sunscreen
    • Lotion
    • Moisturizer

    While it is often debated whether sulfate is a carcinogen or not, there are plenty of other reasons to avoid any form of this toxin. Below we’ve gathered just 10 of the top reasons to avoid sulfate.

    1. It’s a pesticide

    No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. While SLS is widely used in beauty and skin care products, it’s actually a pesticide and herbicide, and is commonly used to kill various plants and insects. In fact, SLS was recently petitioned for approval as a pesticide for organic farming. However, it was denied because of the environment damages it poses to the environment. Now, why would you want to cover your skin with something as harmful as this?

    1. Skin irritant

    Do you consider yourself to have “sensitive skin?” Do you often struggle with dandruff, dermatitis, or other skin problems, such as inflamed, dry, and itchy areas? Well, SLS may be to blame for that. Just another reason why you should think twice and check the labels before you slather on your lotion, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

    1. Eye irritant

    If it wasn’t bad enough that this chemical that’s found in a huge array of products irritates your skin, it also harms your eyes. It is proven that SLS harms the proper formation of eyes in children and can cause cataracts in adults.

    1. It pollutes our planet

    As we briefly mentioned, sulfate harms the environment. It infiltrates our groundwater and is toxic to various aquatic animals. Also, sulfate accumulates in the bodies of fish and often goes undetected in municipal water filters. Meaning, it can get into the tap water you drink.

    1. Corrosive properties

    This one is quite shocking. Forms of sulfate are usually found in garage floor cleaners, engine degreaser, and soaps specified to wash cars. What’s the harm in this, you ask? Well, all of these products need strong elements to break down substances, sulfate being one of these. Too-powerful-for-human-use sulfate also has the ability to corrode the fat and proteins that make up skin and muscles. Remind us again why anyone would want to knowingly use products with components that can do this?

    1. Emits toxic fumes

    When heated, SLS and SELS release toxic substances such as sodium oxide and sulfur oxide. Which begs us to ask – how hot would your shower have to be to release some of these toxic fumes?

    1. Has the power to permeate the body

    SLS molecules are so small that they are able to cross the membranes of your body’s cells. Meaning, this toxin can permeate your eyes, brain, heart, and liver.

    1. Can cause ulcers

    We brush our teeth to ensure we have healthy gums, fresh breath, and no plaque build-up. But, are canker sores the price to pay for a clean mouth? If you notice that you often get mouth ulcers, SLS or SELS could be to blame.

    1. The manufacturing process is highly polluting

    As if all the terrible effects on your body weren’t enough, sulfate also harms the environment. When it goes through the manufacturing process, cancer-causing organic compounds are emitted and pollute the air. Additionally, toxic solvents are used in the process, and traces of them can be left behind.

    1. Other chemicals enter your body

    As we mentioned, sulfate is a penetration enhancer (see number 7). Not only are the molecules able to make their way into your blood stream and vital organs, but, once they reach your organs, the compromised cells become vulnerable to other chemicals and toxins that enter your body.

    After reading through this scary list, you’ll want to give your skincare and beauty products an overhaul – if you haven’t already. When shopping, make sure you read through the product ingredient list and always choose natural and organic products for your beauty routine and your health.

  • Hot for the Holidays: 5 Fun Makeup Tips for the Festive Party-Goer

    2016 is coming! Are You Ready?

    With two days ‘til New Year’s Eve, it’s the perfect time to up your festive makeup game. You need lush lipsticks that’ll last the whole party, foundation that won’t bail on you after a few dances, and eye-makeup that won’t run (and ruin) the whole night.

    While we know it’s that time of year for buying for others, you still need to feel (and look) good when you’re doing it. So here are five hot makeup products that will not only stand the test of the most festive party-goer, but they’re also as organic as it gets.

    1. 100% Pure Healthy Flawless Skin Foundation Powder w/ SPF20- Creme (fair)
    Keep the shiny, oily skin at bay so you can dance all night. With this lightweight face powder, you can sweat all you want and keep that flawless complexion on point. Natural ingredients include eucalyptus, calendula, chamomile and rose, rice powder (absorbs oil), and color tints from fruits and vegetables. The result is a feel-good, matte finish for your face! Stay flawless, m’dears.
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    2. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara- Blueberry
    Paint your lovely lashes the color of midnight with this blueberry mascara, tinted from 100 percent fruit. This natural mascara will lengthen, separate, thicken, and glossen lashes and keep them that way the whole night through. Natural ingredients involved here? Fruit and black tea pigments, plus lash-conditioning ProVitamin B5, Vitamin E, oat and wheat proteins. Perfect for sensitive eyes. It’s also water-resistant so the sweat can free flow without a smudge in sight.

    3. Dr. Hauschka Lipstick
    Color your lush lips this season with the kind of lipstick with staying power. Made with shea butter, rose hip, and carrot extract, Dr. Hauschka lipstick helps your lips stay moist, and the rose and jojoba wax makes them soft and protected. Naturally tinted, this lipstick will leave you with velvety-smooth lips perfect for smooching at midnight. Hello, 2016!

    4. Intelligent Nutrients Lip Delivery Gloss Cranberry Glow
    The disco ball isn’t the only thing that should shine on New Year’s Eve. Give your lips that extra bit of glow and glisten with some lip gloss. Sweetened and tinted with cranberries, this nutrient-rich gloss will make you look and taste good, so you can really get your groove on and bring in the new year right.

    5. S.W. Basics Lip Balm Flights
    Speaking of flavor, this flight of lip balms has all the comforting, wintery tastes you need to stay in season. Coconut, peppermint, citrus, and cinnamon sweetness awaits, so you can soak your thirsty lips with the perfect flavor, making them deliciously kissable. Just don’t drop the ball when the ball drops — be ready to rock with a fresh flavor at the ready.

    Whether it’s run-free mascara, matte powder, or blood-red lipstick, make sure you’re using natural products when you put your party face on. After all, you want to start the year off right — am I right?

    Blow it out this New Years with Organic Beauty! Blow it out this New Years with Organic Beauty at Organaca.com!

     

  • Why You Deserve Organic Beauty Products

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    For the same reasons you feed your body wholesome and natural ingredients, your skin deserves to be treated with nourishing products. The skin on your body, from head to toe, goes through a daily battle against the toxins and debris that come from the weather, pollutants, and other harmful factors. The last thing you want to do when you clean (or exfoliate or moisturize) your skin is to add more harmful components.

    Beauty buys that are seemingly harmless can be quite risky, as most conventional cosmetic and skin care products have ingredients like phthalates, parabens, and petroleum in them—all of which are linked to anywhere from small skin irritations, to cancer and potential birth defects. Although companies do have to mention these ingredients on their label, there are loopholes that allow chemicals to go unnamed.

    Perhaps you’ve seen the confusing ingredient known as “fragrance” and wondered what exactly that meant. Most skincare and cosmetic industries use scented items, yet the government doesn’t find it mandatory to list the chemicals and toxins used to make up each scent. As a consequence, plenty of people put these unknown contaminants on their bodies daily. Even worse, a lot of these chemicals have yet to be tested, so the health risks they pose are unknown.

    Why Go Organic?

    Beauty products that are certified organic (look for the FDA label and product list to ensure genuine organic ingredients) clean, tone, exfoliate, and protect your skin just as “regular” products do. The difference is that organic products do this without the use of additives and toxic chemicals. While that’s reason enough to ban those other products for good, we want to drive the point home and give you a few other reasons why you deserve organic beauty products.

    • Your skin will thank you.

    Your skin absorbs everything you put onto it. That means the toxins that lurk in all your drugstore and dollar store buys are entering your body by way of your face wash, sunscreen, shampoo, and deodorant. Once you stop feeding your synthetic chemicals, you are sure to notice the difference.

    Beauty products that are USDA certified organic have to meet the same standards that organic food items do. That means products with the stamp of approval are grown without pesticides or fertilizers, and contain no chemicals. It’s about time to free your skin!

    • They work better.

    No kidding! Organic products (make sure they are certified organic) work better because the company uses superior ingredients to make them. Compare this idea to cooking. Dishes that use simple, fresh, and all-natural ingredients will not only taste better, but give your body much-needed nutrients, over food that contains preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors.

    This works for beauty products as well. Simple, better ingredients yield better results. Those who struggle with sensitive skin, acne, and other problems with their skin especially benefit.

    • The Earth will thank you.

    While this doesn’t necessarily directly affect your skin or body, it is just too important to ignore. Just think of the environmental impact all those plastic containers with harmful toxins have on our planet. What happens when shampoos, face washes, and soaps that contain additives and harmful chemicals go down the drain? How does this affect water sources and local ecosystems? As you can imagine, if these chemicals aren’t good for our skin, they aren’t good for the environment.

    Luckily, organic beauty products will minimize your impact on the environment. Unlike mega beauty brands, a lot of organic cosmetics and products come in biodegradable, glass or completely recyclable packaging. Plus, since the ingredients in organic products are all natural, there is no worry about chemicals going down the drain, because there aren’t any chemicals in the product.

    Natural Skincare by the Numbers

    While the maintenance of your appearance may seem like a minuscule part of your overall healthy living practices, you should also get adequate exercise and sleep, eat nutritional foods, and drink plenty of water—it does play a major part. Below are just a few more reasons it is important to use organic cosmetics and skincare products.

    The average woman will ingest about four pounds of lipstick in her lifetime.

    There are only 10 ingredients that are banned for cosmetic use in the United States. In the European Union there are over 1,000 banned ingredients.

    Only about 11 percent of the 10,00 plus ingredients used in personal care items are assessed for safety by the United States government.

    About 20 percent of beauty products contain at least one chemical that is linked to cancer.

  • People Still Buy This Crap?

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    While you may have heard that beauty is more than skin-deep, this rings true in more ways than you probably thought. The average person uses at least 10 different products on their body daily. Since the skin acts a sponge, the average person is absorbing hundreds of synthetic and toxic chemicals daily.

    Just think for a moment how a lifetime of this use could possibly affect your health in the long run. Unfortunately, some of the most popular drugstore brands are chock full of harmful chemicals. What amazes us even more is the fact that people still buy these products (Cetaphil and Noxzema are just a couple), over organic and natural options, as they are super harmful and full of foreign ingredients that are linked to cancer, birth defects and organ failure.

    The sad truth is that no one knows what these ingredients’ long-term effects are or how they react with other chemicals in our body. Rather than slathering chemicals and toxins onto your face, hair, and body every day, choose natural or organic products that won’t pose harm to your health. If you know next to nothing, don’t get discouraged! Below are simple ways to better your beauty regimen.

    Keep It Simple

    The best thing to remember when you’re trying to green your beauty routine is to keep it simple. The more you slather on, the more chemicals you are exposing yourself to. For your face, try to stick to a routine that consist of cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and, of course, sunscreen. However, you should also pay attention to the following to get your vanity back to the basics.

    • Stay away from fragrances.

    Not only do fragrances cause allergic reactions and other healthy issues, but the government doesn’t require companies to list the ingredients that are used to make the fragrance itself. This loophole allows for dozens of chemicals to go unmentioned, as it is only listed as “fragrance” in the label. Needless to say, it is best to stay away.

    • Take time to ready the label CAREFULLY.

    Although you may rush through the store, it pays to take the time to closely examine the product label on your makeup, hair, and skincare products. Unfortunately, “natural” products aren’t regulated; therefore, it can claim to be “all natural” on the packaging, but a further inspection of the ingredients might possibly reveal a list of synthetic chemicals.

    Watch out for petroleum by-products (often listed as mineral oil, paraffin, and petroleum) as well as parabens and sulfate. These are biggies used in a ton of beauty products, even though their chemical elements have harmful effects to one’s health.

    • Choose non-toxic packaging.

    Along with what goes into your product, pay attention to the packaging, even with all natural ingredients, if a product is packaged in harmful, toxic plastic, there is still a chance you put that onto your skin.

    Glass is the best packaging option, as it is recyclable and doesn’t pose a threat of contaminating the product with toxins. However, not many skincare and grooming products come in glass. Look for plastics or other packaging materials that are recyclable, or strive to find biodegradable options.

    • Opt for organic.

    While natural beauty products are better than toxic, chemical-ridden drugstore finds, you should strive to use organic products whenever possible. When a label claims a product is organic, this means those ingredients are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

    But, buyers beware! There are plenty of labels that might boast organic ingredients when in actuality they are not made up of organic components.  To ensure if a product is USDA certified organic, look for the seal. If you don’t see one, it’s best to assume the product is not.

    • Pay attention to the company’s values.

    While it’s obviously important to pay attention to the listed ingredients on your makeup and skincare products, the company you choose to buy from is equally important. Visiting a company’s website proves to be extremely helpful. Check to see if they test on animals, if they pledge to remove harmful ingredients and replace them with safe, natural ingredients, or what they do to lessen their environmental impact.

    Read the philosophy, values, and mission statement. Why would you buy from an enterprise that said they cared about natural and organic beauty, but their actions didn’t follow through?  If a company backs up their product by committing to doing good for the environment and for their customers, then they are worth the business in our book.

  • Here Comes the Sun: Winter Skincare Tips

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    Even though the dog days of summer are behind us, that doesn’t mean you should stop caring for your skin. Even though the winter sun isn’t quite as harsh as it is in the summer, it is still vital to protect your skin from damaging UV. Over exposure to the sun not only leads to premature aging and wrinkles, but also leads to cancer. In addition to still being exposed to harmful rays, the cold climate is harsh and can cause your skin to chap, crack, and majorly dry out.

    This is especially true if you live in areas with tons of snow and freezing temperatures. Even if you plan to travel to snow-capped mountains this winter, you need to be prepared to cover and protect your skin. Below we bring you a guide to protecting your skin from the winter elements.

    How to Protect Your Skin

    You may slather on the sunscreen when beachside, and that’s great! But if you aren’t putting on sunscreen every day, then you simply aren’t doing enough to protect yourself. It is important to care for you skin throughout the year; yes, even in the cooler months. You just have to adjust your regime according to the season.

    Summer to Fall

    When transitioning into the fall season, you should focus your skin care routine on repair. We can’t stress this enough, especially if you spent your summer days basking in the rays. Serums packed with vitamins that repair sun damage will be a wise purchase on your end.

    In addition to repairing your skin, you should begin to exfoliate. Pay extra attention to nourish your skin as the temperatures drop. Natural exfoliators and masks are a great way to do this.

    Fall to Winter

    As the weather turns harsh, you will need to spend extra time caring for and pampering your skin, head to toe. As the temperatures drop, the air has less moisture, which leaves your body parched. This causes your skin to become super dry and flaky. To combat dry skin, apply a moisturizer at night and in the morning.

    When you head into the cold, make sure to apply that sunscreen! The glare from the snow gives off twice as much UVA rays, increasing your risk of burning and aging.

    Take advantage of winter’s longer nights and catch up on your sleep. The skin repairs itself as you snooze.

    Why You Should Use Natural Products

    We can’t get enough of natural sunscreens! Not only are they better for our bodies, but they are better for our planet. Plus, who wants to rub all those harmful chemicals and ingredients into his or her skin? Not us!

    No matter if you are just now realizing the wonder of all natural and all organic skincare, or if you have been using healthy and sustainable products for a long time, everyone can use a reminder as to why you should make the switch.

    Chemical sunblock absorbs UV rays and neutralizes them once they are in your skin (ick!) Natural sunscreen, on the other hand, uses minerals such as zinc and titanium that form a barrier against the sun’s rays, rather than absorbing them.

    Not only does natural sunscreen protect your body and face from harmful rays, but it also strives to nourish and soothe irritated skin. Say goodbye to clogging chemical sunscreen and see your breakouts vanish!

    Since chemical sunscreens are loaded with toxic ingredients, they often cause an allergic reaction in a lot of people. However, natural and organic options include fewer allergenic ingredients.

    Hate reapplying? Then you’ll love natural sunscreen! These products sit on top of your skin so they do not need re-application.

    Warning: Avoid Spray Sunscreens

    We know you want to apply your sunscreen as fast as possible in order to hit the slopes or trails, or any other outdoor activity that you have planned this winter. However, don’t let spray sunscreens fool you!

    While you may be able to quickly spray and go, they contain harmful nanoparticles that are so small they can penetrate the skin and enter individual cells. They even can enter your DNA and cause gene damage. Our organs cannot flush these out, so they accumulate in our bodies and eventually make us sick—and they are carcinogenic.

    Those are more than enough reasons to take the time to apply a safe sunscreen that protects your face from the snow and sun this winter. It’s just not worth the risk.

  • Environmental Impact of Non-Organic Beauty Products

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    As you might know, many personal care items such as shampoos, body wash, makeup and sunscreen all contain a dizzying array of ingredients on their labels, but, how much of the components in your products contain chemicals that are toxic and can wreak havoc on your health?

    It may or may not surprise you that most of the ingredients in everyday personal care items are full of dangerous chemicals, so it is important to know their effects. The fact is, our skin acts as a sponge rather than a barrier, and we absorb up to 60 percent of what is put on our skin. Even worse, children’s bodies are at a higher risk since their bodies absorb 40 to 50 percent more than adults.

    These staggering statistics further prove the importance in checking your product labels on all skincare, cosmetics, and personal care items, and be sure to always choose organic items that are free of harmful synthetic chemicals.

    Ingredients to avoid:

    • Benzoyl peroxide
    • DEA, MEA and TEA
    • Sunscreen chemicals
    • FD&C color
    • PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
    • Phthalates
    • Dioxin
    • DMDM Hydantoin and Urea
    • Parabens
    • Propylene Glycol & Butylene Glycol
    • Triclosan
    • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate

    Obviously, those names don’t sound natural or healthy for use. In fact, below are just some of the most common effects the chemicals have on our health. Since most of the major beauty, cosmetics, and skincare products have a combination of the above ingredients, plus more, you should also strive to buy organically, since the toxins are linked to:

    • Breast cancer
    • Asthma
    • Skin dermatitis
    • Attention deficit disorder
    • Type II diabetes
    • Autism spectrum disorders
    • Behavioral issues
    • Neurodevelopment issues
    • Birth defects
    • Low IQs
    • Altered reproductive development
    • Infertility
    • Skin allergies

    While your health is certainly reason enough to forgo all products that pose a risk to you and your family, these chemicals don’t stop there. Their damage reaches past humans, and affects the environment and planet. Think for a second: If all those chemicals are harmful to our bodies, what do you think they do to the planet when flushed or rinsed down the drain?

    Since our sewage systems are not quite intelligent enough to separate the toxins, they end up hurting aquatic life and ecosystems, and further threatening the already vulnerable water supply. Even the products that are thrown out into the garbage bin find their way to landfills and, eventually, the toxic concoctions seep into the earth. If you haven’t assumed it already, they are no better for the soil than for our bodies or waterways.

    Some of the ways non-organic personal care products affect our environment:

    • Strong plastics that hold beauty products are often tossed in landfills and take hundreds of years to break down.
    • Chemicals in cosmetics and skincare products cause genetic mutation in aquatic life, along with altered behavior and growth in many different species.
    • They cause death in many fish, plankton, and amphibians.
    • They contribute changes to the biochemistry to fish, amphibians, and aquatic plants.
    • They affect the reproductive cycles, and population and growth patterns of fish, insects, plankton, aquatic plants, and amphibians.
    • Unsustainable harvesting poses a threat to plants, animals, and the local ecosystems.
    • They expose water to chemicals that deem it unsafe for consumption. Animals and plants who come into contact with water experience health issues, and the chemicals threaten populations of many species.

    While you may have vowed to take better care of your health and the planet by purchasing green products that are organic and safe for both you and Earth, what do you do with the remainder of your hazardous products? Your best bet is to safely dispose of them in a hazardous waste facility,  and then make it a point to avoid future purchases of a similar nature.

    Why you should always choose organic products:

    • You can safely dispose of the product without threatening our Earth.
    • Products are safe to go down the drain.
    • They work better. (No, really!)
    • There are no toxic or synthetic chemicals in them, meaning your health is not compromised.
    • Packaging is usually recyclable and/or biodegradable, taking up less space in landfills.

    So, remember, turning our beauty routines green will help preserve our planet and keep our children’s (and grandchildren’s, great-grandchildren’s, and so forth) environment safe. It pays to educate yourself about the practices we do today and the effects they have on future generations. Be sure to always look at your product’s ingredient list, purchase organically, and recycle all possible packaging.

  • 10 Ingredients to Avoid in Makeup/Skincare

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    Are you one of those shoppers who takes the time to look at every food label when shopping in the grocery store—even if that means taking a longer time on each aisle? We don’t blame you! We want to know what we put in our bodies, too! A smart shopper tries to make the best decision for her/his health while trying to cut down on their carbon footprint on the environment.

    But, how often do you look at the labels on your makeup? Or the ingredient list on the back of your skincare products? While you may be concerned about what you feed your body, have you thought about what you put on your hair, skin, and makeup?

    Many of these chemicals found in hair care, makeup, and skincare irritate your skin, clog pores, and harm your health as well as the environment. To see for yourself, just go ahead and take a peek at the label on your favorite beauty products. Chances you’ll see a dizzying list of names you are not familiar with, and ones that definitely do not sound natural.

    We’re not saying you should stop wearing makeup or call off shampoo forever! We just want to urge you to familiarize yourself with safer and smarter options on the market, and learn which ones you should avoid. So, before you buy new products, take the time to look at the label. While there are many more harmful ingredients than just these, here are 10 you should always avoid:

    1. Parabens
    You may have heard this term thrown around before, but do you know why many shampoos and other products are boasting “paraben-free” on their bottles? Well, paraben is an element that is used as a preservative that fights the growth of mold in products such as cosmetics, body washes, shampoos, deodorant, and face wash. But, don’t let that fool you! This toxin does much more than that. The chemical possesses properties that are carcinogenic and which are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

    2. Synthetic Colors
    Take a long look at your beauty labels. Did you notice either FD&C or D&C? They represent artificial colors, and the abbreviation often precedes a color and number. Why should you care? Synthetic colors are derived from coal and petroleum sources, they are suspected to be a human carcinogen, and are known to be a skin irritant.

    3. Fragrance and Phthalates
    Is it just us, or is “fragrance” a sketchy ingredient word to list? What does “fragrance” mean, exactly? This term was created to protect the company’s formula for their scents; however, for the consumer, it means that you are likely to suffer from headaches, dizziness, asthma, dermatitis and allergies from an unknown allergen. This ingredient can be found in a number of items such as perfume, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and moisturizers.

    Phthalates are tricky. We spoke of companies being allowed to list “fragrance” as an ingredient. Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are used to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics, but are often not listed because they are considered to fall under the “fragrance” ingredient, which obviously poses a big problem, since they can be used in hundreds of products. They have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues in both men and women.

    4. Mineral Oil
    This is an ingredient that is harmful because it creates a barrier over the skin that prevents it from releasing toxins. It is a by-product of petroleum that is found in baby oils, styling gels, and moisturizers.

    5. Oxybenzone
    This toxic chemical is an active ingredient used in chemical sunscreens and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, and low birth weight. All the more reason to protect your skin with natural sunscreen.

    6. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
    This harmful ingredient can be found in a whopping 90 percent of hygienic and cleaning products. Alone, it is known to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant, but when combined with another chemical or product, it has been shown to cause cancer.

    7. Formaldehyde
    Found in many different beauty products, formaldehyde is a preservative to stop the growth of mold. It is banned in the EU, as it has been deemed a human carcinogen, may harm the immune system, and can cause allergic reactions.

    8. Talc
    Linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory issues, talc is similar to asbestos in composition, and is found in cosmetics such as baby powder, eye shadow, and blush.

    9. Propylene Glycol
    You would think that since propylene glycol is classified as a skin irritant, causing hives and dermatitis, the chemical would not be used for skin conditioning agent in sunscreen, makeup, and shampoos and conditioners.

    10. DEA/TEA/MEA
    These are ethanolamines, which make up a chemical group of amino acids and alcohols. They are extremely harmful to the environment and are used in shampoos, soaps, and body wash as foaming agents.

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