Archive for May, 2009

dearlm100x100Q: Have you tried Jane Iredale products?  Any thoughts on the products?

So far neither of us have tried any of these products but in the interest of hopefully finding something new I went investigating.   I went hunting around on to see what kind of ingredients we were dealing with.  So far, from what we can tell Jane Iredales products are free of some of the top nasties we usually avoid like parabens, phthalates, free of chemical dyes and preservatives, and are never tested on animals.  So her products are a better choice when it comes to make up.  Comparing a label off a Jane Iredale foundation to one of the “big ones” is a joke… you can actually pronounce the ingredients and they have less than 87 letters in each word.

Her products have won awards like Natural Health Beauty Awards Best Foundation Award so performance sounds like it’s not an issue.  I can’t say with 100% confidence that all her products are 100% chemical free if that’s what you’re looking for.  For example almost every product contains Dimethicone, and I have found one or two products that contain Phenoxyethanol, but in the grand scheme these are a much better choice. Compare hers to any L’Oreal product and you’ll see the difference.

Find Them: You can pick up Jane Iredale’s Cosmetics on

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Categories: Ask LovelyMama, Jane Iredale, Uncategorized

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honey lime bee soapEvery once in a while I spend a little time browsing Etsy, as many of us do.  Etsy is such a great place to find safer bath goodies and we’ve reviewed some before. My newest find is a store full of handmade soap and spa goods made by Catherine Filippeli.  Her store is chock full of bar and guest soaps that look good enough to eat.  With scents like Oatmeal Lavender, Ginger Mint Fig Coconut Milk, and  Pomegranite Sage you are sure to find something that suits you.pomegranite sage soap

I was attracted to her lovely Honey Lime Bee Soaps full of lime oil and honey to boost circulation and clear  congested pores.   Plus the unusual shape makes this great for guests or just for something new and fun.  Sometimes it’s nice to depart from the usual rectangle bar.  Along with lip balm, my other collection habit is bar soap – so I’ll be ordering a few to get me through the summer.  Nothing like a shower with a fresh bar of soap that smells like citrus, honey or herbs.

Many of her soaps are made with only essential oils but a few do use other scents. A quick note to Catherine and she confirmed that all of her scents and oils are phthalate free.  Sweet!

Get Soap: You can check out Catherine’s shop on Etsy at

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Categories: Bar Soap, Etsy Finds

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kmfI bumped into the new skincare line Potent & Pure from Kiss My Face during my morning errands and of course had to check it out.  I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Kiss My Face since I was young.  First it was because it’s all my parents bought.  I was shaving my legs with one of those funny round pink razors you give teenagers in 7th grade when they realize they have the fuzziest legs in gym class.  But now, mostly due to ingredient discrepancies.  I have in the past run into a few of their products that do contain parabens or “fragrance” and not known what to make of it.

However I think more of their newer lines, while not 100% chemical free, are a safer choice than some of the mainstream chemical cocktails available.  Potent & Pure is a new skincare line they’ve released boasts its free of parabens, phthalates, SLS, artificial colors and fragrances.  You could probably look up one or two ofhte synthetic ingredients and find something incriminating but I chose to share this for one simple reason.

Based on the volume of email we got asking about a daily moisturizer with sunscreen, as well as my own quest for something more natural in that area, I felt it warranted a mention.  They have a Facial Creme & Sunscreen with SPF 10 using titanium dioxide as the sunscreening element.

It’s not greasy, does have a sliiightly whiteish tint if not rubbed in totally and is a little more fragrant that I usually like but it’s not too overpowering.  Living in Florida I could use some better sun protection on a day to day basis so this might be something I can use for now without looking like an oil slick.

Find It: I found mine at Target but you can also order it and their other products online on

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Categories: Kiss My Face, Moisturizer, Sunscreen

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honeybeeBack in February, we published a guide to safer nail polishes.   Now that sandal weather is upon us, I wanted to pick up a safer nail polish for the summer.  Since I can get Honeybee locally, I purchased a bottle and set out to get a much needed pedicure.  I have to admit, that I was a little bit leary about using a water based nail polish.  It seemed a little clumpier, but I figured this was the price I pay for wanting to avoid chemicals.

I will say that it went on smoothly.  Smoother than I expected and dried pretty quickly.  Because I didn’t have a safer base or topcoat, I declined the salon’s and just went with just the polish I brought with me, which is chipping.  I wouldn’t say its chipped any more or less than conventional polish, but I definitely think it would have had more staying power with a base and top coat.   Honeybee’s site has lots of information about wearing their polish and how to keep it lasting longer.

Two of the best things that I love about this nail polish, though, is that it’s low VOC (volatile organic compounds), and it comes off with regular rubbing alcohol.    I don’t have to use highly smelly acetone!  Overall?  I highly recommend Honeybee Garden’s nail polish.  But invest in a bottle of the clear nail polish too!

Get it: Order Honeybee Gardens directly from

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Categories: Honeybee Gardens, Nail Polish

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bubblesThanks to the SafeMama’s for inviting me to be a guest blogger!  I’m kicking this off with some research I’ve been dying to get out!  It’s all about the ingredient called “vegetable emulsifying wax.”

Both Statia and I have talked about how, although it’s a great starting point for learning about chemicals in personal care products, the Cosmetics Databse is not the end-all source for determining product safety.  Today, I’m going to show you how an ingredient that scores a “0” in the database, should really score much much higher.

Vegetable emulsifying wax is used in a lot of products, from lotions to conditioners–even makeup–to make oil and water combine in to a lotion form.  It’s the emulsifier of choice for home crafters and larger companies alike because it’s easy to work with and it’s relatively cheap.  At first glance it looks natural (after all, it’s made up from “vegetable” material, right?) but once you learn what it really is, it’s not so great after all.

I did some digging and found out what vegetable emulsifying wax is actually comprised of:

  • Cetearyl Alcohol (a blend of cetyl and steareth alcohol)
  • Polysorbate 60
  • PEG-150 Stearate
  • Steareth-20

Let’s look at these chemicals one by one.

Cetearyl Alcohol
Although cetearyl alcohol scores a “0” risk score in the Cosmetics Database, the two ingredients that it’s made up of, Cetyl and Steareth Alcohol, both score a “1” for a mild risk of skin irritation and tumor formation at high doses.  Not a terrible score, and I’m not particularly outraged by this ingredient.  However, is it a synthetically produced chemical?  Yes.  Is it truly natural?  No.

Polysorbate 60
Also scores a “1” risk score for possibly being a reproductive toxin and for tumor formation at high doses.  When it’s in small amounts in a lotion, you’re probably pretty safe.  That said, it’s the same story as the cetearyl alcohol–it’s not truly natural and it’s still a chemical.

PEG-150 Stearate
This is where it gets hairy.  PEG is short for polyethylene glycol.  Polyethylene glycol is an ethoxylated compound, meaning that it’s been processed with ethylene oxide, a known human carcinogen.  Traces of this compound can be left in the product, along with byproducts such as 1,4-dioxane, also a known carcinogen.  (Read more about the latest 1,4-dioxane scandal here.) PEG-150 Stearate scores a 4-7 risk score in the cosmetics database, “depending on product usage.”  So, in a product that would remain on your skin, like lotion or deodorant, I’d imagine that they’d give it a “7”.

Even though this ingredient only scores a “1” in the database, it too is an ethoxylated compound, and can also contain traces of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.  It’s created by taking stearyl alcohol (a naturally-ocurring fatty alcohol) and combining it with ethylene oxide.  The number following the “steareth” is how many units of ethylene oxide reacted with the stearyl alcohol.  So, steareth-20 has been reacted with 20 units of ethylene oxide.  There are a lot of steareths that range from 2 on up.  Steareth-20 is the highest–meaning it’s been processed with the highest amount of ethylene oxide.

So, how does this happen? How does an ingredient with all these chemicals end up with a “0” risk score in the Cosmetics Databse?  Tune in tomorrow to learn about how these ingredients slip through the cracks of the database, and learn how you can spot ethoxylated compounds on labels.  I’ll also give you some safer alternatives that contain no “vegetable emulsifying wax.”

About  Our Guest:  Stephanie Greenwood is the beauty and brains behind Bubble & Bee, an organic personal care product company based online and now in her own store in Utah.  Bubble & Bee specializes in pure organic products free of synthetic ingredients or  fragrances and uses as many organic ingredients as possible.  Learn more about her and Bubble & Bee on her website.

Thank you Stephanie!

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Categories: Ingredient Spotlight

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