SanRe Organic Skinfood

After all my searching for a facial sunscreen I realized that I also needed a sunscreen for my lips, very important but commonly overlooked (which also seems to be the case with ears and feet)! So I checked EWG’s Skin Deep and came across SanRe Organics.  They were offering a 10 or 20% discount for new customers and free shipping at the time so I figured why not order both of their SPF lip balms! They arrived promptly and I loved them both the minute I tried them!

The SPF 15 lip balm in a twist up tube is appropriately named “Chocolate Kiss”.  It smells and tastes delicious while not being overly sweet or foody. It’s very moisturizing and leaves no white cast as you might expect from an SPF balm. Note that SanRe Organics does NOT use nano particles in their products.

The SPF 30 balm “Sweet Kiss” has a very subtle vanilla lemon scent. It’s also very moisturizing and leaves no white cast. I love that this one has a higher SPF, but it comes in a round tin and personally I prefer twist up tubes. Neither of these lip balms are tinted, so perfect for children and men too!

SanRe is a cruelty-free company. It’s owned by a mother and daughter team based in Sarasota, FL. If you happen to live in Florida check out your local Whole Foods for SanRe products! From their website  http://www.sanreorganic.com/catalog/ “SanRe products are: Paraben FREE; Phthalate FREE; Petrochemical FREE; Propylene Glycol FREE; Synthetic Fragrance FREE; Sodium Laurel Sulfate FREE; Chemical Preservative FREE;and Artificial Color FREE!”

In addition to fantastic lip balms SanRe also offers a whole range of skincare products from eye creams to toners. My next purchase from them will definitely include their Sparkling Aloe facial moisturizer with SPF 30 for oily skin (their Supple Sunshine SPF 30 moisturizer is for those with dry to normal skin).

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Fun in the Sun

Okay I admit it, I don’t wear sunscreen everyday–which is horrible from what I hear/read!  Not only does sunscreen protect you from future skin cancer and damage but it also prevents wrinkles and “age spots”.  I guess the reason (or excuse rather) that I haven’t completely committed myself to a daily sunscreen regime is due to the fact that until recently I had not found one that I really liked!  My face is already prone to oiliness and breakouts and most sunscreens just exacerbated this!  Not mention the fact that many sunscreens contain some questionable chemicals…

There are two types of sunscreen (abbreviated as ss from here on): chemical and physical.  Chemical ss absorbs the rays, whereas a physical one blocks the rays. Anything with hard to pronounce active ingredients ( like avobenzone or octinoxate) is usually a chemical ss. Physical ss usually contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. Personally I prefer to use a physical ss, especially for my face as they are often less irritating.

When looking for a physical ss it’s best to try and find one that does not contain nano particles, which some studies have shown to increase absorption into the blood stream and free radicals (again I’m not a science person, so Google if you want a real explanation). Most companies use micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which from my understanding is not the same as using nano particles, it just means they are finely ground (that’s how they make them translucent–I clearly recall using some pasty white zinc ss as a kid that must not have been micronized because it made my nose snow white).

Most sites I’ve visited recommend a high zinc  oxide based ss for children as it is the most gentle formula and blocks UVA and UVB rays. So with that information I decided that I wanted to find a zinc only based ss for my sensitive/clog prone face. Zinc is also said to help calm irritated skin (hence the inclusion of it in many diaper creams). In my search I found a few that met my criteria:

Badger SPF 30– haven’t tried it, but most reviews say it’s very thick, chalky and pasty so doesn’t sound like something I would want on my face all day everyday!

BurnOut SPF 32– on my list to try, isn’t supposed to be too greasy nor chalky

Devita Solar 30– I LOVE this ss! I ordered a sample pack from Lucky Vitamin and it came with a small pot of this. It goes on very smooth, just like a moisturizer would. It’s not greasy but also not dry or chalky! Those with very dry skin may need to use a moisturizer first (though I think their new formulation now has hyaluronic acid). My mineral make up goes on really well after this, unlike a lot of ss that leaves my foundation and blush splotchy. My only complaint is that this ss isn’t officially SPF rated (probably because it’s expensive to get SPF rated and they are a small Arizona company), so I don’t know if I would trust it for a super sunny day at the beach or pool, but it is a great daily ss! Many people use Devita’s body block on their face instead, as it has almost the same ingredients but it’s way cheaper!

Epicuren Zinc– also on my list, I’ve heard very good things about it!

Loving Naturals SPF 30– yet another one on my to try list, it rates as a zero on EWG’s Skin Deep!

Pratima Neem Rose– I really want to try this ss, I’ve heard/read really great things about it! Unfortunately it’s only available through Pratima’s site and shipping is a ridiculous $12 for this $16 tube of ss. I just can’t justify that (especially since it would only be going from NYC to DC, not far)… They have a brick and mortar store in New York City so if I ever happen to be there I will go pick it up and save myself the money!

Soleo Organics SPF 30– rates well on EWG’s Skin Deep (only a 1), I haven’t tried it because reviews say it’s greasy, so it may work well for dry skin (mine is already on the oily side so would be a bad match for me)

UV Natural SPF 30– also supposed to be more on the greasy side…

This is a really good compilation of zinc based ss , it even lists approximate prices and ingredients!  http://www.makeupalley.com/user/notepad/zincsunscreens

You may be wondering why I mentioned only SPF 30 ss. Well, many studies have shown that anything above 30 doesn’t necessarily protect better (it’s more of a false sense of security and people tend to not reapply as often). The U.S. doesn’t have regulations regarding SPF number labeling. Australia only allows SPF number ratings up to 30 and the European Union’s limit is 50.

It’s also important to remember that SPF ratings can NOT be added up. For example, if you put on a moisturizer with SPF 15 and then a ss with SPF 30 that does NOT mean that your protection adds up to 45, it means that your protection is 30 (or whatever the highest number rating is of the products you applied).

Lastly, your mineral foundation powder with an SPF 20 rating ultimately does not cut it. Powder ss ratings aren’t that accurate in the end because you would have to use A LOT of powder to achieve that rating, it would need to be caked on, which obviously most people don’t want to do with their foundation.

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Who Owns What? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…

These days it’s almost impossible to know all of the brands that are encompassed by a single company!  We have such a variety and so many different brands to choose from at our stores, but the reality is that there are actually only a few very large corporations that own it all.  In my last post I listed some of the major conventional companies and their brands, which were actually pretty surprising to me at first, but imagine my shock when I found out that companies such as Burt’s Bees and Tom’s of Maine are owned by “the big guys” (aka Clorox and Colgate).  This isn’t a phenomena limited to natural cosmetic/personal care companies, it’s also the case when it comes to organic food companies as well (yes your favorite Odwalla juice drink is in fact owned by the mega giant Cocoa Cola).  Here are some great articles to check out for more titillating details and shockers:

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_17306.cfm

http://awesome.good.is/features/009/009buyingorganic.html

So after you recuperate from the shock, what do you think?  Are they sell outs that went against everything they stood for?  Or could it possibly, just maybe, be a good thing?

Many people are utterly outraged when they find out that they’ve actually been giving their hard earned money to a big corporation because they were under the impression that they were making the “right choice” and buying products that encompassed their own values (ie no animal testing, green manufacturing, non toxic/safe ingredients, etc.).  They simply feel deceived.  Burt’s Bees is a cruelty free company, yet they are owned by Clorox who participates in animal testing…  It’s blatantly contradictory right?

There are always two sides to an argument though and one should consider both.  Many people see the large company’s acquisitions as a positive sign.  Organic food and natural care products have become such big business, this is due to the fact that consumers are demanding healthier options (so that’s a good thing right?).  The public wants pesticide free fruit and non toxic lip balm!  So the big corporations are listening and delivering.  Some people argue that maybe these small natural companies can help re-shape the big guys for the better, maybe they’ll see that you don’t have to use animal testing or potentially toxic ingredients to be a successful and profitable company.  Perhaps they’ll see that people aren’t fooled by the scientific gimmicks they put on products (ie scientifically proven to reduce wrinkle by 25% in just 7 days) and they like when their lip balm contains ingredients that they can pronounce and understand.

When big companies own natural brands they also become widely available–Burt’s Bees is sold everywhere from Target to Walgreens to Border’s!  If you haven’t at least seen a Burt’s Bees lip balm for sale somewhere I would be truley astounded!   So why is this a good thing you may ask.  Well, now that natural and organic brands are available in mass virtually everyone has access to them.  In the past many people may have been interested in such brands but just were not able to obtain them, now they can pick natural stuff up at their local drugstore or grocery store.  Also, people who maybe were not apt to buy a natural brand before may do so now simply because it’s there on the shelf when they are looking for a new lip balm or what have you.

The jury’s still out on what I think, plus I’m not writing this to convince you either way.  There’s good and there’s bad to it all.  It seems like it’s near impossible for any company to find and maintain that happy medium, it a very fine line and there are numerous argument s either way.  Does it all come down to money and greed or is about a true and sincere interest in healthy product alternatives?

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Caring Consumer: Animal Testing

Another indispensable website  is PETA’s database of companies that do participate in animal testing and those that are cruelty-free:  http://search.caringconsumer.com/.  Many companies that do not test on animals put a little bunny logo on the product or say so on the packaging.  However, a lot of great companies that don’t participate in animal testing don’t include the logo on their products or make a point of stating it on the product so it’s always beneficial to look up specific companies and not rely solely on the package.  PETA also lists which companies are vegan.

The first time I started looking up products I was shocked that I owned so many that were made by companies that test on animals.  Here’s just a short look at some animal testing companies and some of their brands:

Johnson & Johnson (which includes brands like Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, Lubriderm, Listerine, etc.)

Procter & Gamble (Always, Crest, Clairol, Downy, Febreze, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Iams, Ivory, Old Spice, Olay, Pampers, Pantene, Puffs, Tide)

Church & Dwight (Arm & Hammer, Kaboom, Nair)

Clorox (Glad, Fresh Step, Formula 409)

Unilever (Dove, Suave, Vaseline)

L’Oreal (Garnier, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Lancome, Maybelline, Redken)

I won’t go into the gruesome and horrific details of animal testing here–please do some research if you are interested as there is a lot of information available on this subject and many articles, etc. that are much more informed than myself.  It’s actually very difficult for me to even read about this subject, it just hurts my heart too much!!!  So I at least make an effort to not give my money to companies who choose to participate in this unnecessary cruelty.  Like they say, every time you a spend a dollar it’s like a vote that encourages the ethics (or lack there of) of a particular company.

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Skin Deep

In my last post I mentioned the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/.  I use this site ALL the time because it is such a great resource, it’s definitely one to bookmark!  This site allows you to look up products, anything from toothpaste to eyeliner, and it rates the particular product on a scale from 1 to 10 in terms of safety.  1 being the safest and 10 being toxic.  It will give you a breakdown of all the ingredients and a safety rating for each ingredient along with the concerns associated with the rating.

Now here’s something fun to do: rummage through your bathroom cabinets and pick out a few items to look up!  The database is pretty extensive and has most major brands and even a lot of small ones as well.  Warning: it just might make you want to throw away half of the things in your cabinet lol!

You can also use this site before you’re planning on buying a certain product.  Say you need some new sunscreen, well you can just put “sunscreen” into the search function and then sort the results by lowest rating (aka by safest first).   I’ve found a lot of great products this way that I never would’ve even known about!

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Natural Deodorant: Can You Smell Me Now?

So of course we all know what antiperspirants do, they stop us from sweating!  It’s a miracle in a twist up tube–or is it!?  The aluminum, which is the active ingredient in conventional antiperspirants that stops you from sweating, has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Many people use natural rock crystal deodorants which contain mineral salts instead.  These crystal deodorants are a good alternative for a lot of people.  They come in spray and solid forms, are available at most drug stores and are comparable in price to conventional deodorants.  There are some claims however that these are “dangerous” as well!  Crystal deodorant still contains a form of aluminum (I won’t go into the science of it all, you can easily search google if you want all the scientific details), albeit this is a natural salt form.  So nothing is safe apparently!!!  Regardless though, we can rest assured that the crystal rock  is somewhat safer than conventional antiperspirants due to the fact that it does not contain synthetic fragrances, coloring, preservatives, etc. (and is not tested on animals).

Crystal deodorant never really worked all that well for me.  I tried both versions, the solid and the spray, and didn’t have very promising results with either.  The spray was particularly bad because the salts in it immediately clogged up the spray nozzle!  And so I had to continue my search!  I finally found my “holy grail” when I tried Tom’s of Maine long lasting unscented.  I like Tom’s because it’s readily available at places like Target and most drugstores, also it’s inexpensive.  The only negative thing I have to say about this deodorant is that it does contain propylene glycol, which isn’t a terrible ingredient but it also isn’t the best.  PG helps the formulation penetrate the skin, it is also a petroleum derived ingredient in products like antifreeze.  The FDA classifies it as “generally recognized as safe” but many argue that it’s just a cheap filler…  Regardless, this deodorant still only rates as a 2 on Skin Deep’s Cosmetic Safety Database (scale rates from 1 being the the safest to 10 being toxic).

If you want a deodorant that’s natural, fresh, super inexpensive and works surprising well then try this DIY homemade recipe:

Coconut oil (can substitute with olive oil, jojoba or any other oil of choice; can also use a combination of them)

Raw shea and cocoa butter (optional skin conditioners)

Witch hazel

Baking soda

Cornstarch (can substitute with arrowroot powder)

Tea tree and lavender essential oils (optional, can also use other essential oils of choice)

This recipe is great because it only takes about 5 minutes to make, you can basically just use whatever you happen to have in your cabinets and it doesn’t have to be precise.  You just mix the above ingredients until it reaches a consistency that you are happy with.  Use equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch.  If your underarms are feeling irritated you should add less baking soda and more cornstarch, and if you added essential oil this may also be an irritant.  If any of the oils or butters need to be melted do that first before adding the other ingredients.  If you want more of a solid stick add less oil (though that may leave you with a bit of white residue).  I made a small batch of this deodorant a few weeks ago.  I put it in an old jam jar and use a mini spatula to apply it (you can also just use your fingers).  If your feeling especially adventurous you can try and put the mixture into an old deodorant tube!  The results actually amazed me, I was pretty skeptical that this little batch that I just haphazardly whipped up would actually work!  It even lasted through my workout!

If you don’t feel like making your own deodorant there are many great natural ones on the market today.  Many people think that just because they are natural and not laden with chemicals that they won’t work, but I beg to differ!  It’s true that they will not stop you from sweating, but isn’t that a natural function of the body!?  If your willing to experiment with different formulations I’m confident that you will find one that works for you!  There is usually an adjustment period for you body so make sure to give it at least a week before giving up.  Some great sites to order from that offer a lot of different brands at huge discounts:

http://www.luckyvitamin.com/

http://www.vitacost.com/

http://www.iherb.com/

Some other natural deodorants that I’ve tried:

Burt’s Bees Herbal Spray– this is alcohol based so it’s pretty much just a perfume and that’s what I’m going to use the rest of it for because it sure does not work as a deodorant!

Alba Botanica Clear Enzyme Tea Tree- nice consistency, doesn’t leave any residue, works pretty well

Trader Joe’s Unscented with Cotton– like Tom’s this also has PG, it just didn’t work for me in terms of odor control

Vitamin Shoppe Brand Aloe Vera– this one was probably the worst I’ve tried, it smelled bad before I even started sweating!

Dr. Clark’s Purity Zinc Deodorant- worked alright, the only ingredients are zinc oxide and water (it’s basically a liquid deodorant and you have to rub it in and let it dry, it’s also VERY white)

Nourish Organic Citrus Deodorant– I really like this one, it smells great and is very moisturizing (great for after shaving, it is a bit greasy though), all ingredients are USDA certified organic. The ingredient list is very similar to the above DIY recipe: Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Corn Starch, Shea Butter, Saccharomyces Ferment, Sweet Orange Oil, Lime Oil, Grapefruit Peel Oil.

NOTE: This sounds weird but in my experience what kind of soap you are using in the shower effects how well natural deodorants work!  For me Dr. Bronner’s works the best!  I use the lavender scent soap but if you have sensitive skin you should try the baby/mild unscented and dilute it with water.  It’s also best to NOT apply deodorant right after getting out of the shower (I know that’s when everyone does it lol) but it will work better if you wait a bit!

Here’s another weird tip for ya: zinc oxide is also a great natural deodorant solution!  There are some brands that are zinc based but if you want an easy fix you can use Burt’s Baby Bee diaper ointment (many diaper ointments are zinc based) and dust their talc-free baby powder over it and your set!  The dusting powder has cornstarch and baking soda in it which are both great ingredients for a deodorant :-)!

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