Friday, September 30, 2011

September Favorites

I don't have a lot of favorites this month, just a few products that I continually reached for.

1. J.R. Watkins Hand & Cuticle Salve in Lemon

I love how this smells. I rub in some sort of cuticle treatment whenever I watch T.V.

2. Everyday Minerals Blush in Sand Cherry and Lucent Powder in Wet Sand

This has been my no-brainer cheek combo for September. I use Sand Cherry as my blush and Wet Sand as a highlighter.

5. Yes To Carrots C Me Blush Lip Tint in Ready Red

I haven't really been feeling full-on lipstick. This give my lips some color, but I don't have to worry about it traveling off my lips during the day.

I can't believe September is over - it barely feels like fall. Here's hoping that fall weather settles in for good before the end of October!

Green or Unclean: Smashbox O-GLOW

Image from Sephora,com

 I purchased this "Intuitive Cheek Color with Goji Berry-C Complex" around six months ago after seeing TiffanyD use it on YouTube. This gel blush starts out clear and then changes to pink when warmed up by your body heat. Smashbox claims that this blush is intuitive because each person will have a slightly different shade - they say the shade that you get is what you color you would blush naturally. When I use this, it immediately turns a bright pink when I squeeze a bit out on my fingertips; the pink deepens as I apply the blush to my cheeks. It's a bit scary at first, but tones down to a more moderate (but still bright) pink after a few minutes. I suppose the color is similar to the flush I get when I'm working out vigorously, but it's much more pink than what I consider to be my natural cheek color.

I hadn't heard anything about Smashbox being a natural cosmetic company, so I hadn't put this blush in with my "clean" ones. I finally ended up looking it up on Skin Deep and was very pleasantly surprised. It has a Skin Deep Rating of 0!

Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isononyl Isononanoate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Punica Granatum, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Polysilicone-11, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Plankton Extract, Red 27 (CI 45410)

I'll definitely keep Smashbox in mind when I make future makeup purchases.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

D.C. VegFest

Yesterday I went to the D.C. VegFest with my family.

We arrived promptly at 11:00am when the Festival started, and there were already tons of people there. VegFest is definitely attracted a bunch more people than it did only a couple of years ago!

There was a lot of good food.

And a lot of good information. According to the United Nations, the meat industry is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The meat industry is responsible for more greenhouse-gas emissions than all cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. To me, being vegetarian is a logical choice for anyone looking to become more green.

If you'd like information on becoming vegetarian, I recommend

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Green or Unclean: Clinique 3-step

My daily skin care routine for the past year and a half has been the Clinique 3-step system. I'm finishing up my last few travel sizes of the steps, and will be replacing them once I'm done. I thought I'd see how they measure up on Skin Deep.

Liquid Facial Soap - Oily Skin Formula

This received a Skin Deep Rating of 3

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate, Tea-Cocoyl Glutamate, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Serenoa Serrulata (Saw Palmetto) Fruit Extract, Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sucrose, Menthol, Hexylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-7, Laureth-2, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Sulfate, Edta, Disodium Edta, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol 

Clarifying Lotion 3

Skin Deep Rating of 5
Ingredients: Water, Alcohol Denat., Salicylic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Benzophenone-4, Violet 2, Red 6, Orange 4

Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

Skin Deep Rating 4

Ingredients: Water Purified, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Butylene Glycol, Bis-Peg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sucrose, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Polysilicone-11, Pentylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Oleth-10, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Disodium Edta, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Yellow 5, Red 4, Yellow 6

I've grown used to my skin-care routine and I'm a bit nervous about starting a new regimen. When I started using Clinique, my skin really cleared up, so I'm worried that when I try something new that I'll break out. Here's hoping that natural products give me even better skin!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fix for Split Fingernails

My nails starting splitting a few months ago, I think around the start of Spring. It was really frustrating because I usually have really strong nails that I can grow out without having them break.

Enter: Julep Essential Cuticle Oil

This is an all-natural blend of essential oils and Vitamin E. Julep says that this strengthens your nails and softens your cuticles, and I agree! My nails have completely stopped splitting since I started using this two weeks ago! I've never been overly concerned with my cuticles, but the two rough parts I had are now gone. I like the roller-ball applicator because with a couple of rolls I've got the perfect amount of oil on my nails. It's not a hassle to get the oil applied, and it doesn't feel like I've got a ton of oil on my hands.

Ingredients: jojoba seed oil, sweet almond oil, castor seed oil, rosewood wood oil, tocopheryl acetate, lavander oil, ylang ylang oil

This received a Skin Deep Rating of 2
I've really been enjoying this, but I think once I've used this up I'll just use a mix of jojoba and sweet almond oil (Skin Deep Rating of 0) on my nails.

The Julep website is a bit wonky, but I can tell that they're working on fixing it. They have a monthly mailing program that you can check out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Haul: Everyday Minerals (Part Deux)

    I was having so much fun on Everyday Minerals' website after I placed my order (the one I shared with you yesterday), that I... bought some more stuff. /: I am pronouncing a ban on any more makeup purchases for at least a month. This shouldn't be hard for me as I've acquired a bunch of things to try out in the meanwhile.
     With order #2 I received:
  • The Everyday Minerals Glow Kit
These powders have a Skin Deep Rating of 2
This came with:

- mini size of Pearl Beige, a concealer that camouflages imperfections by matching your skin's undertones
-mini size of Wet Sand, a highlighter
- mini size of Light Pink, a slightly shimmery blush
- mini size of Natural, a natural face powder
- a baby Flat Top brush
- Everyday Hydrate Oil, 100% pure Argan Oil - this is the perfect size for traveling!

These mini sizes are 0.06 oz. which should last me for a long time since I'll mainly be using these on my cheeks.

  • Mini Freestyle Collection 

 This set contains:
- mini size of Rhapsody in Peach, a slightly sparkly coral blush
- mini size of Sand Cherry, a sparkly deep peach blush with cherry undertones
- mini size of New Car Smell, a sweet peach and coral blush
- mini size of Truly Tiger, a coral shimmer blush
- mini size of Summer Stroll, a coral pink blush
- Angled Blush Brush

These are also 0.06 oz.
  • Foundation Brush

The eye shadow has a Skin Deep Rating of 2

I decided to buy this brush because it intrigued me. It looks like a brush for liquid foundations, but the website says that this is "perfect for even full coverage powder applications." As an added bonus, it came with a freebie: an eye shadow in the color Parasail. The brush is made of synthetic fibers and has a bamboo handle.
  • Base Sample Kit
These have a Skin Deep Rating of 2
I picked up another sample kit of bases. These are the same shades that I got with my previous order, but with a semi-matte finish. The semi-matte bases are meant to be hydrating. It will be interesting to see how these look/feel on my skin. Each of these jars is 0.03 oz.
  • Face Promo
The face promo was still going on, so I also got another set of these powders. :) Each jar holds 0.03 oz.

I obviously really liked Everyday Minerals' website, now I'll have to see how I like their powders and brushes!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Haul: Everyday Minerals

I heard about Everyday Minerals on Hayley's blog and Mary's blog and decided to get some things when I saw the affordable prices. I picked up a bunch of powder for mah face.

  • Big Finishing Dust
Skin Deep Rating of 1
    This was on sale for $6 (usually it's $12). This is a translucent powder that's meant to set your makeup and get rid of excess shine. I've used Bare Minerals' mineral veil, and I think this is the same idea. On days when I don't need as much coverage, I plan on using this over a little bit on concealer.
    •  Base Sample Kit
    These each have a Skin Deep Rating of 2
      You can get a free sample kit of bases (foundation powders) whenever you want - no purchase necessary! If you don't make a purchase, you just have to pay for shipping. These are really nicely sized. According to the website, each sample lasts for five to seven applications. This is the Fair kit (there are four different kits - the darkest is called "Tan") and as you can see it really covers all the possible fair skin-tones. Between these samples and the ones I got from my recent Alima Pure Haul I should be able to figure out what my matches my skin tone PERFECTLY!
      • Face Promo
      These each have a Skin Deep Rating of 1
      I'm not exactly sure what these powders are for. I'm guess that the Bamboo Face Powder in Yellow is a correcting powder, the Kaolin Powder in Soft Bronze is a bronzer, and the Kaolin Powder in Sunlight is a highlighter.
      • Travel size 10 piece eye shadow kit
      The eye shadows have a Skin Deep Rating of 2
        This kit contains eight neutral eye shadows and two eyeshadow brushes.  Though the eye shadows are "travel-size," they contain 0.02 oz of product which I feel will last me a long time. For comparison: a MAC eyeshadow is 0.05 oz while one from Bare Minerals is 0.02 oz; so, this is actually a good-sized eyeshadow.

        The eye shadows come in a roller-ball applicator which seemed a bit weird, but I tested it out on my arm and there wasn't any extra product coming out though I'm still curious as to how it will work on the eye. I'm also wondering why this kit came with two eye shadow brushes, considering that they're unnecessary due to the roller-balls. It's always cool to get new brushes, though!

         Here's how it looked on my arm. On the left is one swipe, on the left is three.

        Now I have enough samples of non-toxic foundation to keep me going for a looooong while. I'm confident that I will find the perfect shade of foundation when I'm done trying them all out.

        I actually kept searching the Everyday Minerals website after I made this purchase... and ended up buying some more stuff. I'll post the other stuff I got tomorrow. :)

        Saturday, September 10, 2011

        Verdict: Fragrance

        So, I'm still not sure if fragrance is always a bad thing, but I will definitely avoid it from now on. My man and I each went to annual checkups this week. Both of our doctors advised us to stay away from soaps and other products with fragrance. In the words of my doctor: "People take showers thinking that they're getting clean, but frangrance stays behind in the skin and can cause irritation." Both doctors said that fragrance-free Dove is the best soap on the market. (This is a bit funny - my spray-on tanning salon specifically told me to stay away from all Dove products because they leave a film on the skin which messes up tans.)

        From now on fragrance is something I'll be avoiding whether a product is phthalate-free or not.

        Wednesday, September 7, 2011

        Question: What's up with fragrance?

        I know that fragrance is bad and something I should avoid on ingredient labels. But, is it bad just because it could be masking phthalates, or for other reasons as well? A couple of products I've recently purchased have "Fragrance (Parfum)" listed on the label. I bought them because the labels also specifically said that the products were free of phthalates. So, my question is, if a product does contain fragrance, but does not contain phthalates, is it safe?

        Here's an example of a product that's raising some questions. My general plan is to use up all of my products that I currently have and then replace them with non-toxic products. However, I didn't feel very comfortable with shaving my legs with my normal shower gel. (I feel that shaving, which strips off a layer of skin, makes me more vulnerable to ingredients in my shaving aids.) I purchased Alba Botanica natural very emollient cream shave in coconut lime.

        The back of the label says that this contains "no: animal testing, artificial colors, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sufate or sodium methyl sulfate."

        I'm pretty happy with this shave cream. It clings to my legs well - I just slather it on, then shave. Usually my shower gels slides off and I use more that what's really necessary. It works just as well as shower gel; my legs are super smooth when I'm done. I checked on Skin Deep and it has a rating of 4... because fragrance is listed in the ingredients.

        So, should fragrance always be avoided, even in phthalate-free products?

        Tuesday, September 6, 2011

        Going Green at the Doctor's

        I had my annual check up today. In the waiting room, I noticed a pamphlet about "Green Choices." It went over how your daily environment can affect your reproductive health. It was basic information, but I thought it was really neat that my doctor was encouraging people to "avoid toxic chemicals."

        You can find the information they provide on making green choices here.

        Monday, September 5, 2011

        Haul: Lavender Moon Company

        I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend!  I spent the weekend in Winchester, Va., where I happened upon the Lavender Moon Soap Company. I've been looking for some good, natural, wonderfully smelling soap and I was happy to find what Lavender Moon had to offer.

        Lavender Moon was started about thirteen years ago in New Hampshire by LynneAnn Trask. LynneAnne's twins were born prematurely with very dry, sensitive skin. Because their skin was so sensitive, LynneAnne set about developing a product that she could trust for use on her own babies. After a lot of testing, she came up with the products that she sells today, including  hand-poured, moisturizing vegetable glycerin soaps. They are all created on the store's property using "only what is necessary." Plus, over 90% of the packaging is made in America and can be recycled. Lavender Moon does no animal testing and uses no animal by-products.

        I decided to make a purchase after I read the ingredient list (and after I smelled the soaps!).

        Ingredients: cocoate, sodium palmate, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, glycerin, water, sorbitol, sorbitan oleate, glycine soja (soybean) protein, fragrance oil, color, titanium dioxide 

        After I got home, I put the ingredients into Skin Deep and it gave the soaps a rating of 2 due to the "fragrance oil" and unspecified "color." I spoke to LynneAnne about the fragrance, and she said that essential oils are too harsh for babies' skin and that she uses fragrance/aromatic oils. When I asked her about phthalates, she seemed to be unsure what I was asking, and assured me that nothing was in the soap that didn't need to be. After putting the ingredients in Skin Deep, I also did a search for aromatic oils. These came up with a score of 0, while unspecified oils came up with a score of 4. Overall, I feel pretty good about these soaps. Plus, they smell great!

        There are over twenty different scents. While the scent is definitely present, it's not overpowering or headache-inducing. My initial favorite is luna. I also purchased: baby, indigo, fabulous, ti amo, chrome, girlie girl, mint mint mint, bella notte, and milk & honey. I meant only to get a few, but after smelling them all I ended up with about half of the scents that were available. Luckily the packaging is pretty, so I'll enjoy looking at them before I use them up. :) LynneAnne mentioned that each bar should last about 3-4 weeks, so it looks like I'm set in the soap department for a while!

        I'm really pleased. I got my desired soap, and I can feel good about supporting a small business with laudable business practices.

        Even if you don't live near Winchester, you can check out Lavender Moon Soap Company here.

        UPDATE: these soaps do not last 3 to 4 weeks. When used  in the shower, each bar was used up within a week. Instead, I put these out on soap dishes. When used to just wash hands, they last over a month.

        Friday, September 2, 2011

        Labeling Fail

        Labels can be confusing, can't they? A couple of months ago, when I had the first inklings that some of my products might not be all that good for me, I picked up a few things that I thought were a bit healthier. L'Oreal has a sulfate-free hair care line (EverPure, EverSleek, and EverStrong), so I bought a shampoo and conditioner from them. Luckily, I read the ingredient list before purchasing a new set. These products contain both parabens and parfum/fragrance. Why did they decide to go sulfate-free but not paraben or phthalate-free? Their whole marketing scheme is centered on the absence of sulfates.

        I've also been using St. Ives' Blemish & Blackhead Control Apricot Scrub. St. Ives seems to be proud of the fact that their products are paraben and phthalate-free, because it clearly states this fact on the packaging. In much smaller print, in the ingredient list, I found that my scrub contains sulfates. This was particularly annoying because I thought I had a good face scrub. (I really hate trying out new face products, because I often break out.)

        Weird labeling can work both ways. I recently purchased Renpure's Amazing Miracle deep penetrating reconstructor. I was drawn to this product because it's label said it didn't contain any sulfates, parabens, colors, or dyes. When I got home, I realized that all of the other Renpure products had said they were phthalate-free as well. I checked the ingredient list and there it was: "fragrance." I was bummed, but then I thought - what are the chances that I picked the ONE product in the line with phthalates. I emailed the company, and I was informed that Amazing Miracle, like all of their products, is phthalate-free. So, how come this is the one label that doesn't say it?

        Labels can be confusing, and right now I'm finding it a bit stressful to read all the tiny print in a store before I make a purchase. (I also feel a bit suspicious. I wonder what the salesclerks think of me.) I find making online purchases is helping me to make good choices because the information is (usually) readily available, and I have as much time as I need to check ingredients out. I'm really liking Do you have any helpful hints for someone who's making a switch over to less toxic products?

        Thursday, September 1, 2011

        Haul: Alima Pure

        I'm almost done with my MAC Select SPF 15 (which I've decided to use up and then never repurchase), so I decided to start looking for a less toxic foundation. A quick search on google showed me that a bunch of people have been loving Alima Pure, a cosmetics company committed to  making completely safe, 100% pure mineral pigment makeup. They have a really awesome sampling program: you can get samples of all of different mineral makeup (foundations, blushes, and eyeshadows) for $1.50 each.

        ...I ended up ordering a lot.

        Many foundations. Even more blushes. I need to be sure that I've got the perfect shade, right? I never find good matches in foundation - everything is ALWAYS too dark... and my friends are always so helpfully pointing out that my blending skills are lacking. (There's usually a noticable difference between my face and my neck.) Alima's website noted that pale people often have difficulty finding the correct shade and that their lightest shade should suit even the palest of the pale. Just to be safe, I got their three lightest shades (0, 1, and 2) in both Cool and Neutral, since I've never been sure which I am.

        Foundation ingredients: titanium dioxide (CI 77891), zinc oxide (CI 77947), mica (CI 77019), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI77400)

        I also basically ordered every blush that I thought looked pretty. Recently I've been really into blush. Even on days when I forgo eyeshadow and lip products I still apply blush.

        I also bought a full-sized blush, because I felt like it. Here's a comparison shot of the full-size and sample-size blush containers.

        Blush ingredients:  mica (CI 77019), titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI77400)

         I also got some samples of some purple eyeshadows. I picked one of each type that they have - luminous shimmer, pearluster, and satine matte - so I can figure out my favorite variety.

         Eyeshadow ingredients: mica (CI 77019) May contain: [+/-]: Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), ultramarines (CI 77007), ferric ferrocyanide (CI 77510), and ultramarine blue (CI 77007)

        On top of all this, I also got two free samples, and a special gift of three "Alima Birthday"eyeshadows

        Samples of Luminous Shimmer Eyeliner in "Carnevale," and Luminous Shimmer Powder in "Dolce."

        I'm very excited about trying all of these out! Expect a review of my favorites of these soon. :)