How Safe is Your Skin and Haircare Routine?

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

CosmeticsFor many of us, our skin and haircare routines are habits we stick to like glue.  We find products we love, and we remain loyal to them for years.  But what if your trusted skincare go-to’s are doing more harm to your body than good?  Our health is most impacted by the things we do regularly — foods we eat every day, products we use everyday, behaviors we partake in everyday.  Those are the things that add up and have measurable effects that can either lead to a longer, healthier life, or a higher risk of disease, reproductive issues, and even psychological or mood imbalances.

So how do your products add up?  Is your skin soaking up healthy, nutritive ingredients, or is your skin a sponge for harmful chemicals that are finding their way into your bloodstream?  For example, did you know that CoverGirl mascaras, Blistex lip balms, Neutrogena face washes, Banana Boat suncreens, Biolage shampoos, and Lubriderm moisturizers all got some of the highest scores for toxicity and health hazards? {Tweet it!}  These are brands millions of Americans use everyday, none the wiser that they are exposing their systems to carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, organ and reproductive toxicity, and more.

So what can you do?  First of all, get really familiar with the most toxic ingredients, and avoid them like the plague.  (Check out 5 Skincare Ingredients to Avoid for a few of the top big bads).  Second of all, search the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for each and every one of your products.  If any product has a score over 3, (yes 3!) toss it!  It’s just not worth the risk!

Still confused about what is safe to use?  Skin Deep’s searchable database gives you tons of options for the safest, healthiest products, as well as information on where to buy them.  Some of these products are even available at your local pharmacy or big box store.  Convenience or brand loyalty are just not good enough reasons to continue exposing yourself and your family to harmful toxins.  And until our government regulations for cosmetics catch up with the science of safety, YOU are in charge of making sure you’re buying and using the safest products possible!

The EWG is working on a mobile app for Skin Deep, so you can check out a product’s safety on the go!

Donate $10 or more today so EWG can put critical information about cosmetic safety right at your fingertips. They need $45,000 by July 15 so they can deliver this smartphone app to you by September.

{Image: cleanandhealthyme.org}

Get Shiny, Lustrous Hair with Surface

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

In the winter time, I am always struggling with dry, lackluster hair and split ends, which is always getting in the way of my tireless goal of growing out my hair.

I try a gazillion products every year to try to nail down the perfect combination that gives me consistent results.  Most products start out working great, but then my hair gets accustomed to the routine, and I’m back at square one.  So I’m thrilled to finally find a great line of products that hydrate my hair, and make it shiny and lustrous, with results that don’t diminish over time.

Surface Hair is a line of products by stylist, Wayne Grund, which are formulated with sustainably harvested ingredients and certified organic botanicals like babassu oil and amaranth protein.  The products are free from toxic chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, mineral oils, and animal products.  Most of the products are also designed to work at maximum potency with heat styling, so they protect your hair and prevent breakage, over drying, and damage.

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I’ve been using the Trinity Protein Cream ($24.95) on wet hair after washing, which is super strengthening and really prevents breakage.  The Trinity line is specially formulated for colored hair, but works great for anyone with dry or damaged hair.  The Protein Cream has babassu oil and amaranth protein to smooth the hair, and offers wonderful heat protection.  I only wash my hair a few times a week, so if I do a little styling touch up after a few days, I’ll spray it on dry hair as well for a little extra smoothing and protection.  It smells delicious and doesn’t leave a filmy or greasy buildup like many other heat protection products I’ve used.  Plus, I’ve noticed that my hair gets less damaged between trims and color!

I follow the Protein Cream with Bassu Hydrating Oil ($23.95) on the length of my hair.  This lovely, light oil is super healing and hydrating, and really intensifies hair’s shine and luster.

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It protects hair from color and heat damage, and keep color from fading. WhatI love about the hydrating oil is that I can use it on wet or dry hair. Again, since I only wash my hair a couple times a week, sometimes my hair needs a little freshening up or boost between washes.  The Hydrating Oil is amazing for that. It’s lovely light texture removes frizz and seals the cuticle. It’s amazing to use with a flat iron, or just to smooth flyaways and hydrate dry, stressed hair throughout the week.  This potent product can also be used to moisturize skin!

The Surface line has a slew of amazing, safe, potent and effective products for every hair type and concern.  As part of a healthy, natural hair care routine, these products will boost shine, protect hair, and make dry, winter tresses and thing of the past!

Best Organic Beauty Products of 2012

It’s that time of year again!  We are so lucky to have been able to try some of the best in organic and natural beauty and self-care products, and we’re thrilled to present the Organic Beauty Talk Best in Green 2012 Award Winners, featuring so many of our favorite brands.  A lot of these products and brands are featured in our ebook, Four Steps to Naturalizing Your Life, which you can download for free by signing up for our newsletter!

Using healthy, natural products for your skin, hair, body, and home is just as important as what you eat and how often you work out.  And by using the products below, you don’t have to sacrifice effectiveness or ease of use!

Have a favorite from the list below?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Face

  • Best Natural Facial Line for Problem Skin – S.W. Basics (formerly Sprout Skincare, $24-$32)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Normal & Dry Skin – Grateful Body ($22-$36)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Sensitive Skin (can also be used on all skin types including blemish-prone) – Pai ($35-$55)
  • Best Holistic Facial Line for Normal & Dry Skin – Dr. Hauschka ($26.95-$89.95)
  • Best Organic Anti-Aging Facial Line – Intelligent Nutrients ($24-$55)
  • Best Organic Facial Line (including sensitive and blemish-prone skin) – Spiezia ($37.50-$85)
  • Best Natural Value Facial Line – Zum Face ($9.50-$24)
  • Best Up & Coming Natural Facial Lines – Sequoia Beauty ($24-$50) & Stark Skincare ($22-$48)
  • Best Natural Face Moisturizer – Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer ($100) & Izlla Fresh Sweet Carrot Facial Day Creme ($29.95)
  • Best Organic Facial Scrub – HollyBeth Organics Grits & Honey Scrub ($25)
  • Best Natural Facial Mask – La Bella Figura ($60)
  • Best Natural Face Serum – Lina Hanson Global Face Serum ($85)
  • Best Natural Eye Cream – 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($19) & Tata Harper Restorative Eye Treatment ($90)
  • Best Natural Facial Sunscreen – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 30 ($22)

 

Makeup

  • Best Natural Mineral Makeup Line – Alima Pure ($11-$22)
  • Best Natural Liquid Foundation – Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation ($48)
  • Best Natural Luxury Makeup Line – Kjaer Weis ($44-$54)
  • Best Natural Tinted Moisturizer – 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer ($32)
  • Best Natural Bronzer – 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Bronzer ($25)
  • Best Natural Creme Blush – Youngblood Luminous Creme Blush ($27)
  • Best Natural Eyeliner – Lavera Soft Eyeliner ($14.50)
  • Best Natural Mascara – Josie Maran GoGo Instant Volume Argan Mascara ($22)
  • Best Natural Lip Color – 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze ($15) & Ilia Beauty ($24)
  • Best Organic Lip Gloss – Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Lip Delivery Antioxidant Gloss ($24)
  • Best Natural Lip Exfoliator – Ilia Beauty Balmy Nights ($24)
  • Best Natural Multi-Stick – Ilia Beauty ($34)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Makeup Brushes – EcoTools (6.99-$15.99)
  • Best Natural Makeup Remover – Desert Essence Jojoba Oil ($5.89)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Nail Polish – butter LONDON ($14) & Priti NYC ($13.50)

 

Body

  • Best Organic Body Bar Soap – Dr. Bronner’s Soap ($3.99)
  • Best Organic Luxury Body Bar Soap – Osmia Organics Handmade Bar Soap ($12)
  • Best Natural Body Wash – Patyka Absolis Body Wash ($45)
  • Best Natural Body Oil – Indie Lee Moisturizing Oil ($34)
  • Best Natural Body Lotion – HollyBeth Organics Geranium Jasmine Lavender Body Lotion ($37)
  • Best Natural Value Hand & Body Lotion – Jason Vanilla Hand & Body Lotion ($5.79)
  • Best Natural Body Butter – Moksa Organics Body Butter ($16)
  • Best Natural Body Scrub – Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Body Scrub ($42)
  • Best Natural Hand Soap – Avalon Organics Glycerin Liquid Hand Soap ($4.89)
  • Best Natural Hand Cream – Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream ($12.50)
  • Best Natural Value Body Care Line – Deep Steep ($6.95-$10.95)
  • Best Spa Private Label Line – St. Julien Spa
  • Best Natural Perfume – Tsi-La Organics ($38-$95)
  • Best Natural Solid Perfume – Ituri ($30)
  • Best Natural Deodorant Cream – Soapwalla Natural Deodorant Cream ($12)
  • Best Natural Deodorant Spray – Blissoma Natural Deodorant Spray ($10.99)
  • Best Natural Sunscreen – Soleil Organique ($18-$55)
  • Best Natural Cure-All – Pratima Healing Neem Oil ($29)
  • Best Natural Essential Oils – Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils ($1.75-$45)

 

Hair

  • Best Natural Shampoo & Conditioner – Acure Organics ($10)
  • Best Natural Hair Styling Products – Intelligent Nutrients ($12-29)
  • Best Natural Styling Products for Kinky, Curly & Wavy Hair (including color treated hair) – Shea Radiance ($16-$18)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Must-Have Product for Curly Hair – CURL-ease ($19.99)

 

Men

  • Best Natural Facial & Shave Line for Men – John Masters Organics Men ($22-$28) & Ursa Major ($24-$36)
  • Best Holistic Organic Line for Men – Dr. Alkaitis ($40-$80)
  • Best Ingrown Hair & Bump Preventer – SheaMoisture Tea Tree Herbal Bump Preventer ($9.99)
  • Best Natural Fragrance for Men – Tallulah Jane Yiska Natural Eau De Parfum Pour Homme ($48)

 

Children

  • Best Natural Lines for Children/Baby – Erbaviva ($10-$22) & Weleda ($7-$17)
  • Best Natural Line for Ethnically Diverse Children – Cara B Naturally ($8-$10)
  • Best Natural Sunscreen for Children/Baby – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 15 ($22) & Alba Botanica Kids SPF 45 Sunblock ($5.16)

 

Fashion

  • Best Eco-Friendly Clothing Line for Men – Threads For Thought ($14-$268)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Basics for Women – Threads For Thought ($10-$48)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Fast Fashion Clothing Line – H&M Conscious Collection (prices vary)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jeans – AG Denim ($148-$215)
  • Best Organic Work Dress – Elsa & Me ($240)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Casual Shoes – Toms ($44-$69)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Women’s Boots – Naya Shoes ($200-$265)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Underwear, Tees & Socks – PACT ($10-$30)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jewelry – Kyler ($48-$138)

 

Home

  • Best Natural All-Purpose Cleaner (even cleans tough grime in bathtubs & can be used as a laundry detergent) – Savon Noir 100% Natural All-Purpose Olive Oil Soap ($20)
  • Best Natural Homecare Line – Seventh Generation ($3.99-$22)
  • Best Natural Aromatherapeutic Household Cleaning Line – Mrs. Meyers ($3.99-$15.99)
  • Best Natural Candles – Red Flower Petal Topped Candles ($34)
  • Best Natural Air Freshener – Intelligent Nutrients ($40-$68) & Neom Luxury Organic Room Mist ($26)
  • Best Natural Value Air Freshener – Pure Citrus Air Freshener ($4.97)
  • Best Natural Reed Diffuser – Neom Luxury Organic Reed Diffuser ($56)
  • Best Eco Savvy Paper Products – Ecojot ($4.75-$17)

Pet

  • Best Natural Pet Shampoo & Conditioner – John Masters Organics Lemongrass & Flaxseed Pet Shampoo and Conditioner ($20)
  • Best Natural Dog Spritzer & Deodorizer – Cloud Star Buddy Splash ($5.95)
  • Best Natural Dog Treats – Cloud Star Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits ($3.99)

2010 Fall Beauty Guide

We’re halfway through August and our healthy glows are still in full bloom, but as the balmy, sweltering nights start to get just a hint of that pre-autumnal crispness, there’s no denying fall is on its way.  Yes, the thought of packing away the beach towels and itsy-bitsy bikinis is more than a little depressing, but fall brings a whole host of great things to look forward to… think scarves, rosy cheeks, shiny hair that will finally get rehabbed from a summer of sun, saltwater, and wind.  Read on to find the best organic and natural products that will help you welcome fall with your most beautiful face!

You’ve spent all summer inching your way to a beautiful, bronzed glow under all that SPF 45..  Watching it fade is one of the most depressing signs of summer’s end.  But you can ease the transition with Josie Maran’s amazing, chemical free Bronzing Argan Oil, that will keep your summer glow going well into the fall.  Use it on your face, body, even hair for a shimmering, citrusy glow!

Despite the appeal of beachy, windswept hair, summer can wreak havoc on your lovely tresses.  The combination of sun, wind, saltwater, and chlorine strip your hair of moisture and can leave you with a dry, dull mess come fall.  Try Phyto’s Phytospecific Revitalizing Treamtment, which revitalizes and hydrates your hair and scalp, restoring all its pre-summer shine and health.  Use a few drops on damp hair, style as usual, and watch that summer frizz disappear!

Another amazing thing about summer is the freedom from having to wear foundation… My daily summer beauty routine was pretty much limited to a few swipes of waterproof mascara, and a peachy pink lip stain.  But come fall, even the clearest complexions need a little bit of a boost.  My absolute favorite is Korres Ginger and Vitamins SPF 10 Foundation.  It is super lightweight, and absolutely packed with amazing ingredients like Vitamins C and E, and ginger, that work to tone, clarify, and act as powerful antioxidants on your skin.  All this, formulated without parabens, sulfates, or synthetic dyes and fragrances.  PLUS, you get a great SPF protection built-in, which though a little too low for summer sun safety, is perfect for fall.

Along with the need for a little more foundation in fall, comes the opportunity to go bolder with makeup.  Whereas summer was all about peachy pink lips and shimmery gold-toned lids, fall brings bold blues, lips in pale beige or dark sultry reds, purples and browns, and pale pink or blush-free cheeks.  Tarte’s Eye Couture Day-to-Night Eye Palette has all of fall’s hot colors in a beautiful, quilted purple case.  Navy blue, bronze, charcoal shadows, and a double sided brown/black eyeliner, all formulated without parabens, sulfates, or petro-chemicals.  For lips, try Bare Escentuals’ Bare Minerals 100% Natural Lip Color in Butter Pecan for a nude, barely there look, or Spiced Rum for bold, autumn color.  The go-to natural makeup line uses natural oils, extracts, and vitamin infusions for products that are totally on-trend, without compromising your health.  

Nails follow a similarly bold path this fall, with navy blues, dark purples, and greyish hues dominating the runways.  Try non-toxic, formaldehyde-free nail polishes from Priti NYC in bold hues like Schwarkopf, Bachelor’s Buttons, and Oleaster, brushed over short, almond shaped nails.


All this talk of bold, dramatic colors almost has me anxious for October!  And isn’t it great to know you can indulge in all of the season’s trends, while still keeping your body safe, and chemical-free?