Spring Break Travel Essentials

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: traveling is no excuse to get off your heathy routine, overindulge, and throw your body off track.  If you feel like you need a detox after you return, you know something is up!

We got back from our baby moon in Mexico the other day, and I knew I had to share some of the goodies that helped make the trip super awesome (and a whole lot healthier) — as well as a few that I totally spaced on (and paid the price!).  From looking radiant and gorgeous, to staying healthy and balanced, these spring break essentials will change the way you travel.

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A Natural Wellness Spell for Your Skin

A Natural Wellness Spell for Your Skin | The Organic Beauty Blog

By: Kristina Tortoriello

Witch hazel is my skin savior at the moment. Specifically, Thayer’s witch hazel astringent pads are kicking bad skin’s butt.

Sales in similar products have picked up of late, the trend has seen an internet boom with health blogs (hi!) singing it’s praise- so what exactly is the craft behind this covetous self care must-have?

To start, this favored foliage is deciduous, found in mild, temperate regions of Canada and the US. It’s garden-friendly, and not a particularly fussy plant, so upkeep stays simple. When in bloom, the flowers are fairly acidic which enhances natural astringent qualities. Like magic! All of these factors point to a practically ready-made home remedy. (And it strikes a resemblance to the hazelnut plant- which would explain the ‘hazel’, but jury’s still out on the ‘witch’…)

The medicinal properties of witch hazel have long been cultivated for personal use. Apart from clearing the skin, it retains the skin’s moisture, refreshes pores, soothes troubled under-eye bags, and staves off irritating derma-dilemmas like rashes, sunburn and razor burn. Bonus points: It removes the grease and grime from your hair line!

…It’s also a pretty effective, high quality product, I’ve found, for the low price it averages.

Bewitched yet? For a face the fairest of them all, check out any of the Thayer’s Natural Remedies products.

Raise Your Baby in Royal Style

By Callie McBride

Newsflash! Princess Kate had her baby! We know, we know, how have you not heard about it before?

We kid. The media is having quite the field day following just about every second in the brand new life of His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. From the entire history of his name to his luxurious nursery in the works, this little guy has already made it big. What we are most anticipating, though, is how Princess Kate plans on raising her firstborn. She is known to be health-conscious and focuses on healthy eating and exercise in order to maintain the, ahem, proper lifestyle. Can the same be said for little prince George? We think yes. The same can be said for you and your expanding family as well, with some help from companies like The Honest Company and Earth’s Best!

The Honest Company

Honest-Company-Jessica

Actress and organic beauty Jessica Alba, along with co-founder Christopher Gavigan, have succeeded in their goal to redefine the “family brand” and turn it into one that focuses on safety, style, convenience, and even the environment with their Honest products. Geared toward babies and a healthy and happy home, the full range of products offered include eco-friendly diapers, non-toxic personal care, organic home cleaning products, and health and wellness goodies.

Alba and Gavigan have put their heads together and thought of everything that they have always struggled to find on the market-wholesome, eco-friendly, sustainable, stylish, affordable-and have wrapped it up with a bow to give to you. For instance, the Baby Arrival Collection features all natural shampoo and body wash, healing balm, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and a jumbo pack of diapers. It gets better: the Diaper Cakes Collection, perfect for a baby shower gift, actually could not come any cuter.

diapercakes-300

For the home, Honest offers everyday essentials such as laundry detergent, bug spray and sunscreen, aromatic soy candles, toilet and floor cleaners, as well as surface cleaners and dish soap-all of which are 100% non-toxic and biodegradable.

If you’re not quite convinced, you have the option of signing up for a free trial of supplies to test out yourself (paying just $5.95 shipping and handling). Um, thanks Jessica!

Earth’s Best

eb_logoSo your little one is decked out in adorable diapers and being pampered with organic goods; now for food! Earth’s Best is an all organic brand of baby food that focuses on one-ingredient products for the ultimate nutrients and ease for your child.

The cute jars of food are completely GMO-free and hormone-free. Their line of foods start with “1st Foods”, such as “1st Apples”, “1st Bananas”, and “1st Carrots” to introduce babies to single ingredient foods. 2nd Food jars combine foods for more flavor, and then 3rd Foods include texture and more ingredients. This the most basic and natural you can get, making the task of raising your child in a holistic way ridiculously easy!

As we wait with bated breath for each move that little Prince George makes over in England, add these brands to your list of holistic goods for children, and be prepared to fall in love with their message.

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Best Organic Sunscreens For Summer

By Callie McBride

Best Organic Sunscreens For Summer | The Organic Beauty Blog

Summer solstice has rung in the season of summer, which calls for more time spent outside in the sun. Hopefully your beach bag looks a little something like this: a bikini, your current beach read, coconut water, perhaps…and SUNSCREEN! Don’t ignore your mother’s age-old advice, protect your skin! How you treat your body now will either show up later on in life, or won’t, depending on your actions. Here are some great sunscreens to try out this summer that are paraben-free, organic, and filled with necessary SPF.

Best Sunscreens for Summer:

1. Coola Sport Sunscreen Spray 

Branded as “Farm To Face Sourced”, this unscented sunscreen has 70% certified organic ingredients to protect your skin in the most natural, chemical-free way. It contains algae, cucumber fruit, and raspberry seed oil for extra nutrients, and its easy spray-on application makes it the perfect spray to throw in your bag and head for the beach.

2. Anthelios 40 by La Roche-Posay

A special sun filter-approved formula, Mexoryl™ SX, makes this sunscreen a great pick this season. Strong protection against UVA and UVB rays is guaranteed, and the ‘screen is fragrance-free and PABA-free as well.

3. Yes to Cucumbers Natural Sunscreen

97% natural, minimal processing, and with aloe and vitamins to help soothe and hydrate skin; what more could you ask for? This natural sunscreen can be used on the face and bodies, for kids and adults alike, and is a great bang for your buck.

4. 100% Pure Argan Oil Facial Moisturizer

The words ‘Argan Oil’ is enough indication that this product is a prime choice for summer; you’ll be nourishing, softening, and protecting your skin all at once. The moisturizer also has rosehip oil, green tea, and herbal extracts, which can tighten skin and improve appearance. Yes please!

5. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer

Just check out the list of benefits that this super-product boasts: fragrance free, cruelty free, vegan, paraben free, recyclable, made with natural ingredients. Its everything you could want in a daily use product. Its SPF 40 offers broad protection from the sun, and the lightweight feel compliments a relaxing day by the pool.

6. Beeyoutiful Bee Shade All-Natural Sunscreen

Aloe Vera! Beeswax! Shea Butter, Green Tea Extract, Coconut Oil…just stop me! The ingredients in this fabulous sunscreen are unbeatable for sun protection. Just like we want it, its toxin, chemical, and paraben free. The company is very candid about its ingredient list in order to ensure customers of true quality in all of their products.

With any of these products, you can feel safe under the sun and know that you are only putting entirely natural and organic ingredients onto your skin.

No-Cost Holistic Living

By: Callie McBride

If a fear of costliness is preventing you from delving into the wonders of a holistic lifestyle, you are not alone. But, you may also be confused. Its no secret that organic meals and bi-weekly yoga classes can burn through your pocket quite quickly, but there are ways around those bright green dollar signs that offer you the same incredible benefits of living naturally and healthfully. The trick is to simply open your eyes! Scour the web, check out coffeehouse postings, and chat with your fellow yogis to learn about free deals; you will be amazed with what you will find.

Yoga, etc.

Often times yoga and pilates studios, as well as fitness centers, will offer complimentary classes to new customers. Core Power Yoga , Lulu Lemon retail stores, and YoGoer all offer free trials, just to name a few. Let Google be your friend and check out what studios in your areas do the same. Take advantage of those introductory classes to both try out different locations around your city and possibly discover a new favorite spot. I recently browsed the Internet for a martial arts class in Manhattan, and in about ten minutes I was registered for a free one-on-one lesson for the following week, that easy!

There are also studios that generously run classes by donation; if $5 is all you’ve got, they will gladly take it. Both Yoga To The People and Brooklyn Yoga School in New York boast this deal.

During the summer, outdoor yoga skyrockets and prices dip lower than ever. In fact, they disappear. Well and Good NYC puts together an annual Summer Fitness Guide for New Yorkers filled with free yoga, pilates, and bootcamps around all 5 boroughs. Classes include Bryant Park Yoga, Sixth Street Pilates, Washington Square Park Yoga, and much more.

Let’s not forget the wonderful online world of Youtube, home to plenty of fantastic fitness instructors that post free videos to do at home-my favorites are Tara Stiles and Cassey Ho of Pop Pilates. These women are consistent with uploading new videos and have mastered the art of training through the camera.

Meditation

Another important aspect of a holistic lifestyle is meditation, which can always be free. This summer, grab a blanket and pick a park to visit during your free time. Of course, chanting is optional, but ultimate relaxation and peace of mind is garaunteed. My NYC picks are Central Park, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and Riverside Park on the Upper West Side. With no shortage of parks wherever you live, meditation can be a quick and effective way to check in with your body and maintain a focus on your goals of healthy living.  If you need some guidance on how to start meditating, keep your eye out for guided meditation challenges from Deepak Chopra and other wellness experts!  There are also tons of free guided meditation apps available for your phone or iPad.

Organic Produce

No-Cost Holistic Living 2 | The Organic Beauty Blog

Organic and healthy foods generally aren’t free–though if you know of a place, shout it out. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the bounty of organic food made available to us. For those of you who like to stock up on organic fruits and veggies, consider shopping wholesale. In New York, the Wholesale Greenmarket is your best bet. The vendors there grow their own produce, and “straight from the farm each morning, their products travel a very short distance ensuring premium quality, and greater food safety and traceability”. (grownyc.org/wholesale) By purchasing your fresh produce in bulk, or least in larger quantities, you’ll save both money and daily trips to the grocery store. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market is another example that looks great and includes a huge list of merchants who deliver fresh produce each morning (www.sfproduce.org).  A local CSA can also be a super affordable option to eat organic.  NextDoorganics is an amazing CSA delivery that sends a huge bag of local organic produce and other goodies to your door for as little as $35 a week!

To sum up, cheap healthy living is entirely possible with a little determination and research. Once you find your collection of free and/or cheap spots, spread the word and get others in on the wonders of holistic living on a budget. Enjoy your mission to locate deals and steals throughout your city, and share what you find in the comments below!

Bikini Showdown: Sugaring vs. Wax

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Bikini Showdown Sugaring vs. Wax | The Organic Beauty BlogIt may not be getting warm outside yet, but listen ladies, it’s time to get your business in order. When you’re taken care of, you feel prettier and sexier… When you feel sexier, you feel better about yourself… This leads to a happier relationship with your partner and/or yourself! So start shaving those legs, and get in there for some grooming.

I actually often get asked if there is a healthier alternative to waxing, and there is! Behold, a waxing vs. sugaring, a comparison:

Waxing

Ingredients

There are a lot of different waxes out there, with ingredients that include resins and chemical ingredients like dyes, fragrances, and preservatives. Depending on the quality of the wax, there may also be some harmful additives like BHT and parabens, bad guys you definitely don’t want anywhere near your special lady parts.

Method

There are a few different types of wax. Hard wax goes on hot and hardens, it can then be pulled off without the use of cloth strips. The extreme heat and hardness of the wax can be especially painful for sensitive skin. Soft wax also goes on hot, and then is removed with a cotton or muslin cloth. It can be slightly less painful, and is often not quite as scorching hot. There is also soft wax that goes on with a roller, which typically has more harmful ingredients and is less effective. Lastly, there are cold wax strips. They typically come pre-applied and do not need to be heated. They often have more chemical ingredients and are not as effective as hot wax.

Waxing Pros

  • Really effective at removing hair
  • Different types to choose from to suit different kinds of hair (from course to fine)

Waxing Cons

  • Can burn skin
  • Lower quality and chemical ingredients
  • Bacteria can grow in wax and cause infection
  • Can remove a layer of skin, in addition to hair

Sugaring

Ingredients

Sugaring is made from natural ingredients — sugar, lemon juice, and water. Sometimes essential oils or glycerin are added.

Method

Sugaring is performed in the same way as wax. Typically, the sugaring mixture isn’t quite as hot as hot wax, which can be less painful.

Sugaring Pros

  • Natural, skin-healthy ingredients
  • Effective at removing hair
  • Bacteria is not as apt to live in sugaring mixture
  • Less hot, so won’t burn skin
  • Won’t remove skin

Sugaring Cons

  • Often times slightly more expensive

Clearly, sugaring wins out with way more pros than waxing. It is also super easy to do at home! I really like Moom Organic Hair Removal Kit, which is all-natural and works really well. You can also make your own at home!

At-Home Sugaring Recipe

Combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup fresh lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat, mixing regularly. Once it’s hot, remove from heat and let cool slightly before applying. Apply to hair, use muslin waxing cloths to remove.

CAUTION: BEWARE DOUBLE-DIPPING

If you get your sugaring or waxing done at a salon, make sure to go a NO DOUBLE DIPPING salon. Most salons will use the same application stick for a client’s entire waxing session, transferring all kinds of bacteria into the wax or sugar mixture. A salon that doesn’t double dip will use a different applicator stick every time they dip into the mixture, ensuring that no bacteria is transferred from client to client. This is crucial to preventing infection, and even STD’s!

Your Eco-Friendly, Healthy Emergency Go-Bag!

Your Eco-Friendly, Healthy Emergency Go-Bag! 2 | The Organic Beauty BlogFirst of all, I want to say that our hearts go out to all of the families and communities in the Northeast that have been effected by Hurricane Sandy. Our thoughts are with you!

All the recent dramatic aftermath of the hurricane here in New York really got us thinking about creating our own emergency go-bag, in the event that we need to evacuate, or in case of a power outage.  Luckily, we haven’t lost power or had any lasting effects in our area, but with crazy hurricanes hitting pretty much annually now, I figure better safe than sorry!

Though there are plenty of places where you can buy pre-made “green” emergency kits (Quake Ready Kit, Inc. makes good ones for 1-3 people), I really like the idea of personalizing our go-bag with healthy options and more eco-friendly alternatives to ensure the best quality possible. I know it might seem frivolous to be concerned about being green or healthy in an emergency situation, but it actually will keep you charged up longer to go battery-free (and green), and the healthier you are able to keep yourself and your family throughout the whole ordeal, the better you’ll be able to deal with whatever comes your way!

I’ve compiled a list of all the necessities your go-bag should be stocked with, emphasizing green and healthy versions of everything you need! With the proper preparation, you can ensure that your family still has access to healthy foods and the most efficient and eco-friendly options to stay safe and dry.

  • A solar-powered eco-friendly backpack.  In the event of a power outage, a backpack such as this one from Traveler’s Choice or this one from Sppark, is super roomy and features a large solar panel, so you can keep your cellphones, iPad’s and GPS devices charged.  Lining your backpack with a biodegradable trash bag will ensure that everything stays dry!  If you have a large family, it’s best to have a backpack for each member, to ensure that everyone has what they need.
  • Copies of your important documents (insurance cards, house deed, photo IDs, passport, bank information, physician contact information, family contact information) in a waterproof container or biodegradable ziplock bag.
  • Contact and meeting place information for your household, and a small map.
  • $50-$100 of cash, in small bills, in a ziplock bag.
  • A gallon of purified water, per person.  You can also include a water bottle with a built in filter, in a pinch.  Clear20 makes BPA-free, recyclable bottles with carbon filters.
  • Healthy non-perishable food items, like BPA-free canned beans (Eden Organics makes great ones) that can be eaten hot or cold, healthy granola bars or snack bars, healthy whole grain crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers is great!), almond butter, and dried fruit.  Don’t forget a can-opener!
  • Ziplock bags with your pet’s food.  In a pinch, pets can eat human food as well, as long as it doesn’t have any of the ingredients dangerous for them (check out 10 Most Dangerous Household Toxins for Pets).
  • Self-charging LED flashlights.  LED flashlights last up to 10 times longer, and the self-charging kind means you’ll never run out of juice!  I like this one from Dynamo, which also has an FM radio (see below).  This one from Freeplay Energy also has a radio, cell phone charger, and has self-crank, solar, or external charging options!
  • Self-charging FM radio.  A must-have for staying on top of evacuation instructions and updates, not to mention entertainment when the TV goes out!  See above for two self-charging flashlight-radio combos!
  • Lightweight, waterproof thermal blankets.  These recyclable Bencore blankets are great for staying dry and warm, are reflective, and are 100% recyclable, unlike the traditional Mylar version.
  • Matches or a fire-starter.  After watching my fair share of disaster movies, I have a pretty big fear of that whole last-match-in-the-box-gust-of-wind combo.  To avoid this, I recommend the more sustainable option of a magnesium emergency fire-starter, which can be used for a super long time without fear of running out!
  • Your Eco-Friendly, Healthy Emergency Go-Bag! | The Organic Beauty BlogA first-aid kit.  I like the Adventure Medical kits at REI, which you can get for 1-4 people with a variety of needs (the Women’s Edition Kit features OB feminine hygiene supplies and more!).  You can also assemble your own kit… Here’s a great guide to a natural first aid kit!  You’ll also want at least a few days supply of any medication you or your family members take, with dosage information.
  • Feminine and personal hygiene supplies.  I recommend a creating a variety pack of organic products (I like Natracare) in a variety of sizes.  As for your personal hygiene, a little dopp kit of your favorite necessary products in travel sizes works great.  In a pinch, you can buy a pre-assembled kit of multi-purpose products, like this one from Suki Organics (which includes face/body wash, moisturizer, shampoo and conditioner, lip balm and a washcloth.  Don’t forget a miniature bottle of contact solution and lens case!
  • Child care supplies or other special care items, as needed.
  • A whistle, to signal for help.
  • A dust mask… preferably one made of organic cotton, like this one from Vogmask, to avoid inhaling all kinds of toxins.
  • Personal sanitation items like natural moist towelettes, garbage bags, and ties for if the water goes out.
  • If you don’t opt for a solar charging backpack or flashlight with built-in charger, make sure to include a solar charger for your cell phone.
  • A complete change of clothing, including a long sleeved shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes, and undergarments.

Stay safe, stay alert, and stay healthy!

Best Organic Beauty Products of 2011



2011 was a huge year for organic and natural beauty products.  Not only did a whole slew of incredible new products hit the shelves, but many conventional beauty companies came out with their own organic lines that really do meet our stringent standards for quality. Organic Beauty Talk released it’s super comprehensive list of all the best green and natural beauty and grooming products of 2011, and we have to say, we couldn’t even begin to review this many products throughout this crazy year!!  After having reviewed the whole list, we are way on board, and super excited to provide this reference to YOU, our fabulous readers.


Skincare

  • Best Natural Facial Line for All Skin Types (including sensitive and blemish-prone skin) – OSKIA ($52-$83) & Zum Face ($9.50-$18)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Normal & Dry Skin – Grateful Body ($18-$30)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Sensitive Skin (can also be used on all sky types) – Pai ($35-$50)
  • Best Natural Line for Acne/Blemish-Prone Skin (can also be used on all sky types including sensitive) – Dr. Alkaitis ($40-$80)
  • Best Natural Facial Cleanser for Acne/Blemish-Prone/Sensitive Skin – Orjene Organics CoQ10 OliveVitale Foaming Face Wash ($6.47)
  • Best Natural Facial Line for Aging Skin – Trilogy ($24-$55)
  • Best Natural Spa at Home Line for All Skin Types (including sensitive and blemish-prone skin) – Spiezia ($37.50-$85)
  • Best Natural Facial Scrub for All Skin Types – OSKIA Micro Exfoliating Balm ($74) & Zum Lemongrass Sugar Facial Scrub ($12)
  • Best Natural Facial Exfoliator for All Skin Types – Living Nature Vitalising Exfoliant ($35)
  • Best Natural Facial Mask for All Skin Types – Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($55), Blissoma Clay Renewal Treatment Mask ($26.75)
  • Best Natural Facial Mask for Normal, Dry or Aging Skin – Annmarie Gianni Coconut Honey Mask ($29.95)
  • Best Natural Eye Cream – 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($19)
  • Best Natural Spot Treatment for Blemishes – Living Nature 100% Pure Manuka Oil ($19.95)
  • Best Natural Facial Sunscreen – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 15 ($22), True Naturals SPF 20 ($17.99) & Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea SPF 45 Sunblock ($4.69)
Makeup
  • Best Natural Loose Mineral Foundation – Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation ($22)
  • Best Natural Pressed Mineral Foundation – Tarte Pressed Mineral Powder ($30)
  • Best Natural Liquid Foundation – Organic Glam Luminous Antioxidant Foundation ($59.95)
  • Best Natural Bronzer – Alima Pure Mineral Bronzer ($17)
  • Best Natural Blush – Alima Pure Mineral Blush ($17)
  • Best Natural Eyeshadow – Alima Pure Mineral Eyeshadow ($11)
  • Best Natural Eyeliner – Lavera Soft Eyeliner ($14.50)
  • Best Natural Inner Rim Eyeliner – Tarte EmphasEYES Natural High Definition Inner Rim Eyeliner ($18)
  • Best Natural Mascara – Josie Maran GoGo Instant Volume Argan Mascara ($22) & Lavera Volume Mascara ($20)
  • Best Natural Lip Color – Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint ($24) & 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze ($15)
  • Best Natural Multi-Tasker – Revolution Organics Freedom Glow Beauty Balm ($34), Vapour Organics Aura Multi-Use Blush ($28), & 100% Pure Fruit Pigment Lip Cheek Tint ($15)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Makeup Brushes – Alima Pure ($12-$29) & EcoTools (6.99-$15.99)
  • Best Natural Makeup Remover – Desert Essence Jojoba Oil ($5.89)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Nail Polish – butter LONDON ($14) & Zoya ($8)
Body
  • Best Natural Body Soap – Dr. Bronner’s Soap ($3.99-$16.99), Moksa Organics Bar Soap ($6.50), Zum Bar Soap ($5.75)
  • Best Natural Body Oil – Shiffa Soothing Body Oil ($81), Weleda Pomegranate Body Oil ($28) & Moksa Organics Body Oil ($18)
  • Best Natural Body Lotion – Jason Vanilla Hand & Body Lotion ($5.47)
  • Best Natural Body Butter – Deep Steep Body Butter ($10.95)
  • Best Natural Body Scrub – Glowology  Exfoliant ($12) & Deep Steep Grapefruit Bergamot Sugar Scrub ($7.25)
  • Best Natural Hand Soap – Deep Steep Foaming Hand Wash ($4.37)
  • Best Natural Hand Cream – Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream ($12.50)
  • Best Natural Spray Perfume – Tsi-La Organics ($95) & Tallulah Jane Hope Eau De Parfum ($48)
  • Best Natural Roll-On Perfume – Tsi-La Organics ($38) & Pacifica ($12)
  • Best Natural Solid Perfume – Ituri ($30)
  • Best Natural Deodorant – Soapwalla Natural Deodorant Cream ($12) & Blissoma Natural Deodorant Spray ($9.25)
  • Best Natural Lip Balm – Organic Indulgence Lip Butter ($2.95)
  • Best Natural Body Sunscreen – True Natural SPF 40 ($17.99) & Alba Botanica Hawaiian Green Tea SPF 45 Sunblock ($4.69)
  • Best Natural Cure-All – Pratima Healing Neem Oil ($29)
  • Best Natural Skincare Oils (for face, body & hair) – Kahina Giving Beauty Organic Argan Oil ($36-$82) & Now Foods/Solutions Oils ($5-$10)
  • Best Natural Essential Oils – Mountain Rose Herbs Essential Oils ($1.75-$45)
Hair
  • Best Natural Shampoo for All Hair Types (including color treated hair) – Rahua Shampoo ($32) & EO Lavender French Lavender Everyday Shampoo ($8.99)
  • Best Natural Conditioner for All Hair Types (including color treated hair) – Rahua Conditioner ($34) & EO Rose Chamomile Protective Conditioner ($8.99)
  • Best Natural Leave-In Conditioner for All Hair Types (including color treated hair) – EO Lavender Coconut Style Nourishing Hair Cream ($8.99) & Giovanni Direct Leave-In ($4.71)
  • Best Natural Line for Curly Hair (including color treated hair) – SheaMoisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus ($9.99-$14.99)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Must-Have Product for Curly Hair – CURL-ease ($19.99)
  • Best Natural Hair Mask/Deep Conditioner/Scalp Treatment (including color treated hair) – Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Purification Hair Masque ($9.99)
Men
  • Best Natural Facial & Shave Line for Men – Bulldog ($9.99-$13.99)
  • 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), & SheaMoisture ($9.99)
  • Best Natural Sunscreen for Children/Baby – Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 15 ($22) & Alba Botanica Kids SPF 45 Sunblock ($5.16)
Fashion
  • Best Eco-Friendly Shoes for Women – Coclico ($149-$545)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Casual Shoes – Toms ($44-$69)
  • 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 Fashion Clothing Line – H&M Conscious Collection ($24.95-$79.95)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jeans – AG Denim ($148-$215)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Underwear & Tees – PACT ($10-$30)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Jewelry – Kyler ($48-$138)
Home
  • Best Natural All-Purpose Cleaner – Method All-Purpose Pink Grapefruit Surface Cleaner ($3.99)
  • Best Natural Glass Cleaner – Method Mint Glass + Surface Cleaner ($3.99)
  • Best Natural Dishwashing Liquid – Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid ($3.69)
  • Best Natural Powder Cleaner – Bon Ami Powder Cleanser ($1.09)
  • Best Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Greenworks Toilet Bowl Cleaner ($3.49)
  • Best Natural Candles – Aquiesse Soy Candles ($35) & Red Flower Petal Topped Candles ($34)
  • Best Natural Air Freshener – Neom Luxury Organic Room Mist ($26) & Pure Citrus Orange Air Freshener ($5.39)
  • Best Natural Reed Diffuser – Neom Luxury Organic Reed Diffuser ($56)
  • Best Eco Savvy Paper Products – Ecojot ($4.75-$17)
Pet
  • Best Natural Line for Pets – Castor & Pollux ($1.99-$40)
  • Best Natural Dog Treats – Cloud Star Soft & Chewy Buddy Biscuits ($3.99)
  • Best Eco-Friendly Pet Feeding Products – Ore Pet ($7-$25)
  • Best Pet Shampoo & Odor Remover – Fresh Wave ($13.99)
  • Best Natural Dog Spritzer & Deodorizer – Cloud Star Buddy Splash ($5.95)
 

The Sephora of the Organic Beauty World

Ok… This is a little embarrassing.  I literally JUST stumbled upon a site that is going to change my life!  (And hopefully the lives of my lovely readers)  It’s no secret that there is a huge shortage of quality online stores that carry a wide variety of all-natural and organic beauty products that have been carefully edited to exclude harmful ingredients.  Enter:  Spirit Beauty Lounge!  Kind of like a Sephora for Organic Beauties, they carry a wide range of organic and/or natural products that adhere to a strict list of do’s and don’ts (including NO harmful chemicals, no animal testing, recyclable and/or biodegradable packaging, and actual potency of the product), and they carry some of my favorite brands!  Check out great beauty gear by SkinnySkinny, RMS Beauty, Priti, and Pangea Organics.

Just from my initial, super excited sweep of the site, here are some of my top picks:


RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek
has been one of my favorite products since I got one in a gift bag from the release party for Pure Food & Wine’s latest cookbook.  It comes in a great palette of colors that look great on lips AND cheeks, and the ingredients are organic and super potent.

RMS also makes this amazing and versatile Raw Coconut Butter, which serves as a great moisturizer for face and body, a super nourishingleave-in product for hair (great for dry ends!), and an easy makeup remover.  Coconut oil is deeply moisturizing, and has anti-aging, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties.

In addition to all of their awesome, non-toxic nail polishes, in all the best seasonal colors, this Soy Nail Polish Remover by Priti is an absolute must-have.  It is totally green, with no formaldehyde

Intelligent Nutrients Organic Volumizing Spray is another great, organic, multi-functional beauty bad-ass.  It embodiesthe hair with tons of volume, activates curls, and is great to use between showers as a water-free hair refreshing tonic! Plus it won awards from everyone that matters, like Elle Mag and Fig+Sage.  A+

Safer Sunless Tanning

Safer Sunless Tanning | The Organic Beauty BlogAs the weather heats up and those pasty white legs start emerging from their layers into the late spring sun, many people (male and female alike) feel the need to quickly get some color to lessen the glare (and embarrassment) of those day-glo limbs.  Often times we remedy this by baking in the sun, SPF-free, for as soon as the weather permits, working on that “base tan” that will usher us into the summer months.  Though I myself have been known to commit this offense, let me be the first to admit this is a TERRIBLE idea.  Coming out of the colder weather, when our skin has not been receiving much sunlight, we are significantly more susceptible to getting a dangerous sunburn if we’re exposed to UV rays without the necessary protection.  Risk of developing melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, doubles for people who have experienced a sunburn 5 or more times in their lives.  Think about all those innocent summer sunburns in childhood… do you really want to compound that risk?

Some people, presumably those who have no exposure to media, advertising, or common sense, still favor a few sessions in a tanning bed to get that preliminary summer color.  People, this isn’t 1995.  There is now irrefutable evidence that points to tanning beds as even more dangerous than the sun.  I’m not even going to go into the multitude of ways that tanning beds are terrible, aging, carcinogenic monsters (that’s a whole different article).. but needless to say, just stay away!

The much safer option of sunless tanning has long been a popular solution for people looking to get that summer glow without the cancer risk.. But is it really safe?  A closer look reveals that not all sunless tanners are the same.

Most sunless tanners, particularly sprays, contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a color additive that is still largely controversial.  For what it’s worth, the FDA has thus far only approved topical uses of DHA, but not sprayed methods during which the chemical could be inhaled.  Some adverse reactions to DHA inhalation include fainting, dizziness, coughing, and rashes, which are definitely not symptoms of a healthy and safe chemical.  Until more research is done, experts suggest avoiding spray tanning altogether.

This leaves lotion self-tanners as by far the safest choice for sunless tanning.  As with all beauty products, the majority of conventional, pharmacy bought self-tanners feature ingredients that read like a laundry list of chemicals to avoid.  Parabens, dioxane, BHT, and pretty much anything with a long, chemical name that is difficult to pronounce are best to avoid.  These common additives have been linked to birth defects, many forms of cancer, and liver, kidney, and skin problems, just to name a few.  But luckily, there are lots of more natural self-tanning lotions out there, some even with organic, anti-oxidant ingredients.  If you take the time to read your ingredients, educate yourself about what common chemicals to stay away from, and maybe even do a little research to find brands that create safe, quality self-tanning formulas, you can totally have your beautiful, pre-summer base tan without compromising your health!

Some healthy sunless tanners to try:

  • Lavera Self-Tanner is non-toxic, and features organic ingredients like jojoba oil, soy, lavender and aloe to soothe skin while gently providing color, and it doesn’t have that terrible, self-tanner smell.
  • Chocolate Sun Cocoa Glow Sunless Tanning Cream smells amazing, is 92% organic, and has super rich, antioxidant ingredients that actually moisturize, soothe, and protect skin.
  • Josie Maran’s Argan Self-Tanning Cream isn’t quite as impressive with its ingredient list (it has DHA and some other mostly innocuous chemicals), but it is still chock full of good stuff like organic argan oil (obviously), caffeine (to fight cellulite), and antioxidants like matcha and ginseng.  Not quite as natural, but definitely super effective.

[From my feed on One Minute News]