Berkeley Researchers Test Toxic Beauty Detox

There’s so much gloom and doom in the story about beauty products. From the “Stink!” documentary’s exploration of the “fragrance loophole” to tests that found lead in 60% of lipsticks (yes, really) getting ready is like walking through a haunted house: fear at every turn. My thought process tends to go something like… This sample mascara is amazing, but is the company that makes it is hiding mercury in the formula? I love my new deodorant, but am I dousing my lymph nodes with cancer-causing chemicals?  I’ve swapped out hair dye for henna and greened my makeup routine, but the fear of hidden chemicals means sometimes I feel like hiding my (unwashed) head under a rock, rather than further subjecting it to another toxic product stew. Which is why a new study has me pretty excited… [Read more…]

4 Steps to Natural Acne Remedy

beautiful model with red acne bumps on her cheek.A lucky handful of us get to kiss acne good-bye forever when we grow up. Me? Not so much. Particularly during periods (pun intended) of hormonal flux, I find myself fixated on the lumps and bumps that congregate around my chin.

I’m not alone. According to Total Beauty, 54 percent of women over 25 suffer from acne, in some form or another.

Unfortunately, most of us resort to a harsh chemical acne remedy to treat it. But it just doesn’t make sense that blemish-free skin would come from an acne remedy made with chemicals that irritate it, right? Or maybe it does, if you’re selling products to consumers that create the exact problem you’re claiming to solve, thus creating a perpetual market for what you’re selling. Hmmm…

Fortunately, I’ve found a skin-care regimen of kinder, gentler acne remedy products that actually work—without toxic chemicals.

[Read more…]

Does Natural Hair Color Really Work?

brunette girl dying her hair with rubber glovesAfter a flirtation with auburn hair color in high school and some serious bleach in college, I went au naturale. But recently, the few-and-far-between white hairs that I began to pluck in my mid-30s are now threatening to become a bald spot if I keep up the practice.

It’s time for natural hair color.

Natural hair colors typically eschew coal tar, peroxide, benzene, ammonia, toluene, paraphenylenediamine and other toxic chemicals omnipresent in conventional hair dyes—things that I most definitely want to avoid.

Even the FDA warns that conventional hair dyes can cause respiratory problems, hair loss and skin irritation—among other problems. [Read more…]

Why You Should Care About Chemical Safety

capitol building with white clouds behind itAutism, ADHD, asthma and allergies — increasingly, they’re all being linked to chemicals in our environment. Babies are now born pre-polluted with more than 200 industrial chemicals in their blood, just from pre-natal exposure. How can that not have an effect?

Yet the manufacturing industry’s position remains firm, lobbying that regulating chemicals will hurt small businesses, leading to increased production costs and job losses.

As a result, there are still 84,000 chemicals used in commerce that have never been tested for children’s safety. They are supposed to be regulated by the Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TSCA) but it doesn’t have a lot to do with chemical safety.

Guess how many chemicals have been restricted since TSCA was passed in 1976? Five. Yes, you read that right. Five. But luckily, there are changes afoot. [Read more…]

Want a Natural Pregnancy? 12 Tips to Protect Your Baby for Life

little girl listening to her mom's natural pregnancy bellyGetting ready for baby—or pregnancy? Congratulations! Going green for your growing belly—or for when you bring that baby home—sounds good on paper, but is a natural pregnancy doable in reality? Yes! Here’s how:

1. Eat organic: The dangers of common pesticide exposure are equal to those of smoking during pregnancy: low birth weight and early labor. Studies have shown that eating organic for just five days can eliminate many of the pesticides—linked to cancer, among other health problems—in our bodies. Following the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen lists can reduce your family’s exposure by 80 percent. [Read more…]

3 Tips to Ditch Dangerous Sunscreen

brunette girl sitting in beach chair applies sunscreen from a bottleIt’s sunscreen season—there are aisles devoted to it in drugstores and stacks at supermarket checkout stands.

A new study published in Pediatrics shows that melanoma rates have increased among children and teens at two percent a year from 1973 to 2009—the American Cancer Society predicts that the condition will affect nearly 80,000 people in 2013.

Yes you know that UVA fights aging and UVB combats burning. But do you know what’s safe—and what works? You could get a degree in toxicology and try to decipher the ingredient list on the back of the bottle, or you could take the lazy mom’s way out. [Read more…]

1 Minute + 3 Ingredients = How to Make Perfume, Naturally

beautiful blonde model sniffing her wrist with a perfume bottle in handThere’s nothing like meeting your future mother-in-law only to realize that you wear the same perfume.

Not only does this mean that your fantastically expensive bottle of sweet nothings must go straight to the recycling bin, but it also brings to mind a whole host of questions.

Does he not know and has some some sort of olfactory problem? Does he just not care and would love you even if you smelled like you hadn’t showered for a week? Or maybe he likes the fact that you and his mom would be indistinguishable in a blindfolded sniff test—and in that case, you’re in a whole lotta trouble, sister.

[Read more…]

3 Steps to Natural Beauty

red-haired model in drugstore aisle looking at a labelGot a minute? Take a look at your bathroom shelves. If you’re like most women, you’re using about 12 different beauty products each day.

Now flip to the ingredients panel of your favorite product—a lotion, perhaps, or sunscreen—and settle in for a good read. Do the ingredients number a dozen or more? Probably. Can you pronounce them? Probably not.

Yet those 12 beauty products deliver an average 168 potentially toxic ingredients to your body each and every day.  [Read more…]