For as long as LovelyMama has been around, people have been asking us for a safer facial moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30.   And at the time, the most of the recommendations were to wear an SPF of 15.  Well, John Masters Organics realizes that just isn’t enough (something all of us realized a long time ago).   I have been having some laser treatments on my face for age spots.   And people, I’m only 35.  So while I totally am in the age gracefully camp, I’m not going down that early. Not without a fight.   Because of the costly procedures, my esthetician has been badgering me that I now have to wear an SPF of at least 30, on my face, every single day.   At first, I was like, yeah yeah.  I’ve long gone on about not being in the sunscreen camp, for daily use, as to not block absorption of vitamin D.   If I’m going to spend all day outside, I will apply apply it until the sun has set.  But if I’m going to spend an hour in the sun playing with my kids, I generally didn’t wear the sunscreen.   But then it dawned on me:  An hour here, an hour there.  We spend A LOT of time outside in the summer and all that time adds up.  So I accepted my fate and invested in one of my favorite brands: John Masters.

This is by no means cheap.  A 2 ounce bottle is about $32.  Ouch, but it is wonderful.  It coats evenly, leaves absolutely no white, or ghost looking mask to it.   It moisturizes perfectly.  My face feels soft and not at all greasy or heavy.  A big plus in my sunscreen must haves.

I realize that not everyone wants to spend as much on a sunscreen, and there are cheaper alternatives out there.  I’ve used Badger on my face, and it works well but it is a little heavy and greasy.   It was fine when we went on vacation, and I do use it on my body.  It’s our go-to sunscreen for the summer.  But for every day facial use, the heaviness of it on my face would drive me nuts.

Get it: You can find John Masters at your local Whole Foods, and at places like Saffron Rouge and Amazon.com

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Categories: John Masters Organics, Sunscreen

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EOS Lip Balm Spheres

I think I learned about these EOS lip balms on Green and Clean Mom a while ago and thought they looked cool.  How neat to have a lip balm in a sphere shape.  As the Lip Balm Queen, I could not let it go that there was a lip balm out there I haven’t tried.  Coincidentally, while traveling last November I spotted one in a Happy Harry’s (Like CVS but in places like Delaware) and snatched two up to try out.

Three of these lip balms are USDA Certified Organic (90% organic ingredients) and utilize shea butter and jojoba oils to keep your lips moisturized.  I love the shape of the balm and makes it easy to find in my tote bag.  My toddler thinks its a bouncey ball so it gets thrown but it keeps its shape and doesn’t come apart when it hits the wall. Not that I make a habit of it. The top half screws off and reveals a smooth bubble of lip balm.  It goes on smooth and smells fruity.  One of the flavors I picked up was Summer Fruit and it has a soft fruit scent.

It doesn’t go on as smooth as other lip balms and I suspect it has a slightly more “waxy” feel to it because they need it to be a bit stiff to stay in that ball shape.  It doesn’t particularly last very long compared to a Badger Lip Balm or a LuSa Organics lip balms (my favorites and ones I carry with me all the time).  My only disappointment with the product really is the Lemon Drop version.  I purchased the Lemon Drop along with the other one I chose and didn’t realize it has an SPF of 15.  Initially I was excited because it’s not easy to find natural lip balms with SPF.  Since these were certified organic I assumed it had a bit of zinc or titanium oxide.  Wrong.

The Lemon Drop uses Octinoxate 7.5%, Oxybenzone 3.0% as the sun blocking ingredients. Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor which can affect the nervous system, has been linked to cancer in some laboratory studies, and creates free-radicals when exposed to the sun which are harmful.  Don’t believe me? Ask the EWG what they think of Oxybenzone.  EOS also has a “Medicated Tangerine” that seems ok but it contains Phenol 0.5% and I don’t know much about that ingredient to make a judgment but Phenol rates a 9 in EWG’s Skin Deep database so I’d probably skip it.

So aside from the SPF and Phenol issue these are good little lip balms in a fun container.  Just avoid the Lemon Drop and the Medicated Tangerine  flavors.

Get Them: I found these at CVS and similar stores.  You can also purchase them from their website Evolution of Smooth.

Skin Deep Rating: The Summer Fruit version rates a 1 in EWG Skin Deep and they don’t have the Lemon Drop with SPF 15 listed at all.  I wonder why…

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I don’t wear a ton of make up.  I know there are parts of the country where women tend to wear more make up than others (*cough* Long Island *cough* and I can say that because I grew up there) and I do wear some… enough to make myself acceptable for public consumption.  I do like my girlie must haves and here is whats banging around in my make up bag:

Foundation: I don’t wear a lot of it and I never really did.  But as I’m getting older I have rosacea and some flaws and I just need a light overall cover to make me happy.  I am using mineral foundation which I have recently read to be less than great due to breathing in particles.  But I loathe liquid foundation.  Hate it.  So I hold my breath and hope I don’t get some funky lung disease from it.  My favorite is Alima Pure Mineral Satin Matte foundation after switching from Bare Minerals when I learned that it contained Bismuth Oxychloride which can be an irritant to rosacea sufferers.

I also use SukiColor Liquid Formula Concealer in Flax (which I can’t find on their website right now) for spot treating under eye circles, zits or whatever weirdness shows up. Blends well and has a more respectable ingredients list than most commercial liquid make up.

Blush: I hide from the sun so much so that I need an extra boost (I wear hats and sunglasses all the time) so I use Alima Pure  Luminous Shimmer Blush in DianthusDr Hauschka makes a nice blush bronzer too but the cost difference is amazing.  $15 for Alima vs $30+ its an easy choice for me.

Eyes: NVEY Eco Organic Eye Shadow Palette in Palette 3.  I had a palette of this before which I had gotten as a gift and it lasted me forever.  So when I was digging the last of it out I decided it was a worthy investment.  It’s $60.  Yeah I know.  But it lasted me well over a year to a year and a half.  So I figure I’m spending that over a course of time on different ones anyway and this is organic.  So I splurge.  I also have a small Dr. Hauschka Eye Shadow Solo in Shimmering Ivory.  But I may try the 4 color palettes they have next time instead of the NVEY.  $44 vs $60 on that scale.

Eye Liner: I have a basic black eye liner from Sephora. Nothing green or safe about it.  I need to find a better one.

Mascara: I use Tarte Lash Hugger Eco-Friendly Natural Mascara.  Tarte uses better ingredients than most and avoids things like parabens, phthalates and mineral oils and is in a recycled tube.  It works great… can’t complain.  I tried out one of the “natural” brands at CVS and it was awful so I’ll stick with this.

Lips: My favorite topic!  I don’t wear lipstick.  It’s a pretty rare occasion if I do.  I am a lip balm kind of girl and when I get dressed to go out (haha) I am a fan of lip gloss.  Although since I started greening my make up I haven’t found too many lip glosses that do it for me. I have a million lip balms including: Badger Lip Balm in just abut every flavor but I love Tangerine and Lavender Orange, Bubble & Bee Lip Balm in both Coconut Lime and Rude Raspberry (which is Certified Organic now), a Burt’s Bees Radiance Lip Shimmer as well as a Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Lip Gloss in Sweet Pink, LuSa Organics lip balm (love) and an Earth Mama Angel Baby Lip Balm which I use at night.

Nails: I know we did a whole round up of safe nail polish but to be very honest – I hate almost all of them.  They don’t stay on and yes I used them while I was pregnant if at all but my vanity is at stake here so I ave been using Zoya Polishes for my mani pedis.  Zoya is Formaldehyde, Toluene and DBP Free so I feel somewhat better using them.

Anyone have any eye liner or lip gloss recommendations?  Hope you enjoyed the peek into my bathroom!

I had no idea people would love to know what products I have as much as they did, so here’s what’s on my bathroom counter top and a few things from inside “The Drawer”:

Deodorant: I use a couple deodorants.  I have found that switching my deodorant from day to day lends to the effectiveness of natural deodorants. But they don’t all work for me so I rely on three to do the job. The first is Bubble & Bee Geranium Lime Pit Putty.  Love this one and when it runs out I’m going to get their Geranium Lime Pit Putty with Baking Soda.  I also use Soapwalla’s Cream Deodorant which I like to use on days when I take a more decadent shower… I don’t know why exactly but just go with it.  I also use Weleda’s Rose Deodorant Spray.  I use the Weleda mainly when I take a shower at night.  The alcohol seems like it should be a bacteria fighter so in my weird brain I think “ok this will keep the stinky away all night and then I can put on regular deodorant in the morning”. I have no idea if that is even true or remotely accurate but it makes sense in my brain. I’ve also been making friends with Miessence products (Ely Organics) and one I do like is the Miessence Deodorant.   If you prefer roll on deodorants this might be the one for you. If you are new to natural deodorants here’s a primer to get you started.

Face: Depending on the time of day I am using two face creams.  This is one area I struggle because as I mentioned, I have very sensitive skin, plus rosacea, plus aging, plus occasional breakouts.  So finding something gentle and effective is really hard for me.  For night I am trying out Yes to Cucumbers Facial Hydrating Lotion and it seems to do ok.  I also have a pack of Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes which I thought would be good for quick sweat wipes or lazy nights to remove make up.  But they kind of burn a little so I think they’ll get tossed. For daytime, its Burts Bees Radiance Day Lotion with SPF 15. It contains phenoxyethanol though so I’m on the lookout for something better. When I last visited the dermotogolist they told me to use Aveeno and I did for a while until I saw what was in it.  I’m constantly trying to find a good replacement.  Have yet to find something I really love.  I’m open to your suggestions ladies.

Eyes: I haven’t used an eye cream much since I had to stop using my beloved Clinique eye cream which was my favorite thing on the planet. I have a small bottle of John Masters Organics Firming Eye Gel but I often forget to use it.

Body: This also depends on the shower.  Showers where I have time for a scrub allow me to skip lotions and potions.  I towel off and get dressed. Quick showers tend to leave me wanting a little extra moisture so I opt for body oils.  While I do like the occasional rub down with a lotion or body butter, oils don’t require any processing or chemical emulsifyers.  And if you find a great body oil it can double as perfume. Right now I use Soapwalla’s Luxurious Body Oil.  It’s light enough for day use and smells lovely.  I also have Burt’s Bees Vitamin E Bath & Body Oil which has a great citrus scent but it’s pretty heavy and greasy so I haven’t used it in a while.  Also making appearances on my counter is The Body Deli Coconut Body Souffle, Weleda Seabuckthorn Body Lotion, and Badger Balm Vanilla Coconut Body Balm (I use this primarily at night).

Hair: This is definitely one area where I need improvement.  It’s sad really. I do own several natural hair products but I shamefully admit that I use one or two NOT natural hair products.  I have one or two natural ones I do like.  One is John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray.  I use this for curly hair days to give my curls that “fresh off the beach” wind look.  It works great.  The other is Giovanni Frizz Be Gone which is great for straight hair days.  It seals and protects my hair before being tortured by a flat iron.  My shame lies in my use of John Freida’s Fresh Curlz.  I also use Aveda’s Curl Cream which is like the best hair stuff ever for curly hair. See? Not perfect but trying.

Part 3: You get a peek into my make up bag!

LovelyMama Skin Care Cheat Sheet

Ok, you know how much we SafeMama girls love our cheat sheets.  And I know you’re thinking, sure, our kids are covered, but what about us?   We get a lot of questions asking about particular products, and while we would LOVE to try every single one of them, there is just not enough time or money possible for us to do so.  But with that in mind, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t compile a list of products for you to have at the ready when you’re looking for information on whether or not we think your favorite product is safe enough to use.

Notice: Please do not redistribute this list anywhere without our prior written consent. If you would like to share this information with your readers, please use the handy little button we created for doing just that and link back here. We spent time away from our kids, pouring over ingredients lists, digging in the Skin Deep Database and learning about chemicals and processes. Please help us make that worth our time and energy by not copy/pasting our work on other websites.  Thank you!

Please keep in mind that this is not a full list of products.  This is what we’ve found so far, and this will be a constantly updated list as we find things, or as you submit your findings to us. But we think this is a great starting off point. [Last updated April 5, 2014]

Best Choices – Our top picks

These are the products that are free of all of the chemicals we avoid along with labels that have ingredients you can actually pronounce.

Better Choices

These are the products that are free of all the big chemicals we like to avoid, such as parabens, phthalates, phenoxyethanol, SLS’s, PEGs, propylene glycol, dimethicone, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Benzoate as well as some others, but they just weren’t squeaky clean enough for us to warrant putting them on our “best” list.  Maybe they have a couple of stearates or a few more synthetics than we’d like to see. However, they’re still pretty great and we even use some of ‘em.

Good Choices

These are brands that may have a few products with questionable ingredients on our list of ingredients we like to avoid or maybe they have more synthetic ingredients than we’d like to see, however, they are FAR better than your conventional, chemical counterparts.  While they’re not going to make you sprout a second head, this is something where you’re going to have to be the one to make the judgment call whether or not you want to use these products.

* The ever wonderful Stephanie Greenwood of Bubble and Bee and publisher of the Chemical of the Day Blog, brought to our attention, sadly, that there are “hidden parabens” in some of our favorite products (as noted by the asterisk).   We were bummed to find out that great brands like John Masters and 100% Pure are included in this list of products.    Go over and read the article and then make the call for yourself on whether or not you would still want to use these products.   It may not be every single product in the brand, just a select few, but she’ll tell you what to look for and breaks the slight chemical difference down into layman’s terms.   This is where she helps you become empowered to read labels and learn how to decipher bad ingredients vs. the good ones.   Stephanie is one of the true good people in this business.

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Categories: Bath & Body

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badgerSince a huge majority of you are snowed in, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite every day products.  It’s no secret that I love the Badger Balm company and I love supporting them.  They are such a conscious company and all their products are natural and many, certified organic.  I love knowing that when I use a balm or soap, I am using the safest ingredients and that they don’t bother with making products that require emulsifiers or chemical involvement.

My latest love affair is with their new Vanilla Coconut Every Day Moisturizer.  They sent me a sample a little while ago and it;s almost empty.  It earned a spot on my night stand and I use it nightly on my hands, cuticles and feet.  The scent is perfect.  I usually really love coconut scented anything since it makes me feel like I’m indulging on a tropical island or reminds me of summer time and beaches. That’s a good feeling to have when its chilly out and you need some extra moisturizing.

It comes in a large tin and the scent is a warm but subtle coconut … but toned down with the vanilla to make a really wonderful scent.  As always, Badger Balm uses a natural formula and only the best ingredients… like coconut oil, vanilla and rosemary.  This balm is also Certified Organic and Fair Trade.

Get It: Seriously, you need this.  And you need their lip balms which are hands down one of my absolute favorites.  My particular fave is the Lavender Orange.  It’s the one I brought with me to the hospital when I had my son.  Only the best!  Pick up a Vanilla Coconut Every Day Moisturizer on their website BadgerBalm.com

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Categories: Badger Balm, Body Balm

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Badger Organic Lip Balms

Hello, your friendly neighborhood lip balm addict here.  I’ve come to a very important conclusion lately about lip balms and I need to share it with you.  Lately, I’ve been lamenting about how many of my natural lip balms start out great, and then turn into lumpy bumpy sticks that aren’t that pleasing to apply.  (And I type lip BLAM every single time…why can’t I get it right?). badgerorganiclipbalms I always thought that maybe it got too hot in my bag and the ingredients were revolting against each other or something but I think I figured out the real reason.  Shea Butter?  Every lip balm I have that contains shea butter seems to eventually turn into a bumpy lip balm.  I don’t know if it ‘s the formulation or the ingredient itself or a lack of beeswax or if it’s even that at all, but it seem to be a common theme.  If anyone can enlighten me, please do.

Anyway, I came to this conclusion because I have a couple lip balms that seem to stay intact… smooth and lip balmy just like I like them.  One of those lip balms are Badger’s Certified Organic Lip Balm.  The main ingredients are Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax and Castor Oil (all organic) which seem to keep these in their smooth state so applying them is like a lip balm should be.

They have a zillion yummy flavors, my favorites seem to be the citrus-y ones like Pink Grapefruit and Tangerine but they all perform.  They use all Certified Organic ingredients when possible as well as fair trade cocoa butter.  I just love the conscientiousness of this company and can’t stop singing their praises (as evident by my love for their sunscreen and anti-bug balm too).

Get Your Balm On: You can purchase Badger Lip Balms in many places, but if you want to grab one (or 10) online you can find them on their website BadgerBalm.com and on Amazon.com!

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Categories: Badger Balm, Lip Balm

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lm-vdayI think Valentine’s Day is one of those days you’re either fond of or you’re not. In general, I’m not a fan of the commercial aspect, and on another level, I feel that you can tell someone you love them any day of the week. BUT, that doesn’t mean that we’re going to hide our really cool Valentines Day finds from you. Afterall, even if you aren’t into the commercialism aspect, you’re still into being eco-conscious, sexy AND green all year ’round. Right?

We’re starting off the week with candles. Who doesn’t love candles? They’re great for romance. They’re great home accents, and they’re great when you just want a refreshing pick me up in the form of a pleasant scent. I absolutely LOVE getting candles as a gift. For the home, it always makes a great gift, and from that special someone with a little nudge nudge wink wink, it takes on a whole different meaning. And it’s also something that lasts a while, unlike candy and flowers (although, I still LOVE getting candy and flowers. *hinthint*).

But you don’t want to just go out and get any kind of candle.   You want to find a candle that is phthalate free AND made of soy.

A lot of conventional candles are made from artificial fragrances that are impossible to create from nature.   Therefore, they’re made with parfums, which are made with phthalates.   Like we need more of those in our house than are already floating around.   Stick with candles that are made from natural essential oils.   This limits your choices, of course, but you still find some really great scents.

Why soy?  Soy is a cleaner burning wax that, because of its organic nature, doesn’t emit toxins into the air when burning, unlike paraffin, which often has petroleum based ingredients in it.  Soy also burns cooler and lasts longer than regular paraffin.  Another bonus to soy is that it cleans up much easier with soap and water.   The benefits of soy wax are just all around better.

Soy candles are becoming increasingly popular, but it’s a little harder to find them without phthalates.

Our top picks!

than2Timothy Han candles are beautifully simple.   They’re completely unobtusive and fit in well with any type of decor.   I really love the plain design of these candles.  They are a bit expensive at about $50 US dollars, but they’re about 6.5 ounces and provide about 50 hours of burn time.   Try saying that about any phthalate laden paraffin candle!

breadbadger2 There is NOTHING you can’t find on Etsy.   I stumbled across these really great soy candles that are contained in a hand cut recycled wine container.  I don’t know about you, but I love anything that features recycled goods.   There are many scents to choose from, and while not all of them are phthalate free, a great deal of them are and are noted as such.     The jar also features a hand etched design of your choice.   For $28 dollars, this is an absolute steal!

Do it yourself!

It’s also really easy to make your own soy candles.   There are really great directions on ehow and you can find soy wax at just about any craft store.  The beauty of making your own is that you can be really creative in the scents you choose as well as your container.   It’s a great way to recycle old candle containers, instead of throwing them out.  You can use an old glass, a mason jar, or find something eclectic looking at a yard sale.   It’s a a great thing to do with older children.   And an inexpensive way to give a gift.    Nothing says love like a homemade gift!

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Categories: DIY Recipes

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