Inspiration: Sustainable Summer Soiree!

We love a good party. And now that we live in beautiful and sunny Santa Monica, with tons of indoor and outdoor space to entertain, we were itching to throw a little housewarming party to take our space for a test ride.

In typical Organic Beauty style, we focused on elevated entertaining — using sustainable party accessories, fresh local produce, and an affinity for organic style.

Check out my inspiration board for a sustainable summer soiree, then peep some photos and recipes from our housewarming party where we put it into action!

 

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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

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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.

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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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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!

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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

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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!

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Bikini Showdown: Sugaring vs. Wax

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

It 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!

First 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!
  • A 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!

The Healthiest (and Yummiest) Snack Bars!

Those of you who are no stranger to The Organic Beauty know that I am not a huge proponent of snacking. Excessive need for snacking means you’re not getting enough substantial nutrition, and it can lead to weight gain from unnecessary added calories, as well as constantly fluctuating blood sugar. That said, sometimes you really need a frickin’ snack! Maybe you didn’t have time for a big healthy lunch, or don’t want to arrive at your nephew’s birthday pizza party famished. It’s times like these (hopefully not too often!) that you want to have access to a delicious, nutritious and quick snack that get’s the job done, without setting your diet back.  An ideal snack bar gives you a good bit of protein to keep you full, fiber to keep things moving, and healthy carbs to give you energy.  I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 snack bars that fit the bill…  Plus, I’ve added the snack bars you should avoid at all costs, just for good measure.

  • LARA BARS:  These are consistently my number one top recommended snack bar.  They are made of nothing but nuts and dried fruit… no additives, no sugar, no chemicals, no crap.  Simple, whole food ingredients means more complete nutrition! This also means they’re gluten-free and vegan.  A typical Lara Bar provides you with a full serving of fruit, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber, making it the perfect snack!  My favorite flavor is Cherry Pie… delish!

  • JOURNEY BARS:  These are a relatively new bar on the market, and I have to say, I am super impressed!  The bars are savory, which means you’re not getting that god awful blood sugar spike, and come in yummy flavors like Rosemary, Hickory Barbecue, and Coconut Curry (my current fave).  The bars feature amazing organic, gluten-free whole grains like amaranth and millet and savory spices and herbs that do great things for your body.  They also pack about 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

  • BUMBLE BAR:  Here’s another delicious, organic, gluten-free bar filled with nutritious seeds, grains, nuts, and dried fruit.  The bars come in great flavors like Awesome Apricot (my favorite), Chai Almond, and Lushus Lemon, and many are sweetened with naturally low-glycemic sweeteners like organic agave or organic brown rice syrup.  They pack anywhere from 4-7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and an average of 7-10 grams of sugar!

  • PURE BAR:  These are another line of delicious, organic snack bars that have perfectly simple and pure ingredients.  Dried fruit, nuts, brown rice protein, and agave make up the vast majority of their bars, that come in flavors like Banana Coconut, Wild Blueberry, and Dark Chocolate Berry (that last one is more of a dessert bar, but I’ll tell you what, it is sooo good, and still super healthy!).  They have around 6-7 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and are loaded with antioxidants!
  • RISE BAR:  Rise has three different lines of breakfast bars, energy bars, and protein bars, all with simple, healthy ingredients like organic fruit, nuts, and whole grains.  Depending on your needs, you can select bars with as much protein as 20 grams (in the Almond Honey Protein Bar),  and all the bars have about 4 grams of fiber and are sweetened with healthy brown rice or tapioca syrup, or honey!  The bars are designed to keep you sustained and energized for 3 hours, which is definitely the mark of a great snack!
Now what you don’t want out of a snack bar is unfortunately what the vast majority on the market have to offer:  chemical additives and sugar replacements, processed or refined carbs, processed soy, processed dairy, and all kinds of other allergens (I love this image on the left from A Healthy Kitchen, which illustrates all the harmful crap found in most “diet” bars).  As with anything you put in your body, LESS IS MORE!  Any product with a super long list of ingredients is no good for you.  A good rule of thumb is to only eat foods with 5 or less ingredients, and if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, stay away!  Anything with “hydrolyzed” or “partially hydrogenated” ingredients typically means a low quality product.  Some bars to stay away from are:
  • “Diet” and meal replacement bars like Atkins Meal Advantage, Zone Perfect Bars, South Beach Diet Bars, Slim-Fast Snack Bars, Balance Bars, Nutribar, Special K Meal Bars — which are all full of tons of processed soy, fake sugars, chemicals and additives.
  • Protein bars and sports bars like Pure Protein, PowerBar, Solid Protein by Nature’ Best — also full of processed soy, palm and canola oils, dairy, and unhealthy chemical sweeteners.
  • Pseudo-healthy bars like Kashi Go Lean bars, FiberOne Bars, Think Thin Bars — which, although slightly better than the bad guys above, are still full of processed ingredients, unhealthy oils, and sugar substitutes.
If you’re trying to bulk up your muscles and are working out a ton, a much healthier alternative to protein bars is a great shake with organic rice or hemp protein powder, fruit, and water or a nut milk!
Bottom line, derive your nutrition from REAL FOOD, not fake food substitutes.  If you need something quick to grab and go, grab something that is REAL FOOD (i.e.: nuts, fruit, whole grains) and not a food facsimile!  Just because something is “high protein,” “high fiber,” “low calorie,” or “sugar free” does not make it healthy — in fact, usually, it means the exact opposite!
——
Natasha Uspensky, chhc
Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor

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)
 

Organic Mania!

Photo source: Rodale.com

Obviously, we here at The Organic Beauty are super pumped about the recent data that shows a whopping 60% of Americans, across all age groups, prefer organic foods to the conventional options.  An even higher percentage of respondents 35 and under reported the same preference as well!  This is great news!!

As the consumer demand for high quality, organic produce and foods increases, the supply (and therefore the price) decreases substantially.  The primary reason that organic foods are more expensive than conventional varieties is that there are fewer farmers and food manufacturers producing the foods, and significantly fewer subsidies that support organic production.  Organics have, until only very recently, been in the realm of the luxury market; something only the privileged classes could afford (or even gain access to!).. Remember when organic food was #6 on the hilarious blog, Stuff White People Like?  Yeah…

All you faithful OB reader know by now that eating and buying organic is incredibly important for your health, the environment, and even those radiant good looks.  Let’s all keep voting with our wallets, and supporting organic farms in our supermarkets and farmer’s markets, and organic beauty products in stores and online.  The more we show that buying organic is important to us, the more amazing organic products will be available to us and our fellow Organic Beauties and Beaus across the country, who may not already have ready access to pesticide, hormone, antibiotic and carcinogen free foods and products.  Let’s make that 60% into 100% of Americans that say DON’T FEED ME CRAP!

Nut Butter Death Match: Almond vs. Peanut

Image via fitsugar.com

Peanut butter has long been a standby of moms and lazy 20-somethings nationwide… More recently, it has gained renown in the world of dieting as a healthy snack and protein-rich breakfast option.  But is peanut butter really the best choice?  Many signs point to no.

Eating peanuts or peanut butter in any quantity beyond a taste here and there carries the danger of introducing mycotoxins into the system, which, even in low doses can have immuno-compromising effects.  Peanuts often times are contaminated with aflatoxins, which are a result of molds that grow on peanuts as they are harvested from underground.    Although the USDA monitors levels of aflatoxins in peanuts and peanut products, the levels they consider reasonably safe are, as usual, a lot higher than what is advisable for smart people who want to limit their exposure to carcinogenic and otherwise harmful toxins. 

I first became aware of this less than favorable characteristic of peanut butter when I received a list of dietary recommendations from my doctor to help me fight off some potentially pre-cancerous cells a little over a year ago.  (Incidentally, after adopting all of her suggestions, including eliminating peanuts from my diet, the cells cleared up without the need for any medical procedures).  Being a lover of nut butters myself, I was eager to find a replacement for peanut butter that had just as potent nutritional benefits.  When I started eating raw, organic almond butter, I was so thrilled to find that it not only tasted loads better than peanut butter, but also was arguably healthier! Almond butter has less saturated fat, more calcium and iron, and is substantially higher in vitamin E than peanut butter.  Combine that with the lack of harmful mycotoxicity, and the winner is clear!

ALMOND BUTTER TAKES THE CAKE!

My favorite brand is Once Again Raw Organic Almond Butter. I love the consistency of the crunchy almond butter.  And looking at the ingredients just makes me so happy… nothing but almonds!  There are other good ones out there, but just make sure to read the label.  There should be nothing in there but raw, organic almonds.