Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reader Mail: Yes to Carrots - Not So Fast!

Wanted to share this e-mail from reader K. Take this as a warning about some of the reactions you can have when you use products with questionable ingredients. The Yes to Carrots brand seems fine, except for them using IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA. That's one of the dirty cousins. Aside from releasing Formaldehyde, it is also a known allergen. More here. Bottom line, if you are having any kind of skin issues, you need to pull out all of your products and read your labels. You could very well be causing your own misery.

"First I want to thank you for your blog! I found your blog two weeks ago while researching my one year old's skin problems. We were getting ready to leave for a family vacation, so in the rush I picked up the first paraben free lotion I came across at Rite Aid. It was the Yes to Carrots brand and we took it with us on vacation. Two days later my son and I both broke out in an awful itchy rash. I was shocked because I thought I was going in the right direction with the paraben free lotion. So I went back to your sight and read more and discovered that Yes to Carrots has a nasty cousin in it: Imidazolidnyl Urea. So I followed your link on it and realized that is exactly what was causing this rash on our arms. We have switched two days ago to Burt's Bees and the rash is already going away!

I was wondering if you would post something warning against using Yes to Carrots and the reaction that Imidazolidynl Urea can cause.

Thank you again for your wonderful blog!


Check It Out: Naked Natural for UK Readers

This was forwarded to me by a reader. Naked Body Care has some interesting products and decent ingredients. They list all of their ingredients, so read carefully. I did notice MIT and MCI in a couple of face washes, but those were the only offenders. They also have an online offer of 50% when you join their Facebook. Definitely worth checking out.

Product Reviews: Recent Product FAILS

I've been sitting on my cranky for a couple of weeks. I have gone through a string of products that I purchased and have been using that disappoint or are flat out fails. I have learned some important lessons about not believing all the reviews on product sites and try before I buy.

Mascara: Physician's Formula Organic ($9.00) vs. Tarte Lash Hugger ($18)

Ingredients for both are on linked sites above.

I have been using the PF Organic mascara exclusively since it came out. I love it and my lashes are in better condition now for using it. My tube is starting to dry out a bit and I had been reading great reviews for the Tarte mascara, so I decided to try their brand, at twice the cost.

The PF Organic is definitely the winner for me in this contest. The Tarte mascara is very blase to me, especially for the price. I have a hard time actually getting this mascara on my lashes. I don't know if it is the twisted brush or the product itself. It takes three times the strokes to get the same amount of product on as one stroke of the PF Organic. Acceptable to some people, but not when I am trying to get out the door in the morning. The mascara itself darkens and lengthens but does not build the lashes. It wears off throughout the day so that when it comes time for face washing, there is very little left. I don't see any mascara flakes, it is just gone. Tarte has lots of great reviews over at Sephora, but it was substandard for my needs.

PF Organic Pros: Acceptable price, gorgeous container, good brush, thick product, couple strokes needed for full look, lasts all day. Cons: Need to use makeup remover (I use oil), spots on lids, smears if wet, never actually 'dries', product seems to dry out faster than conventional Paraben-ated mascara.

Tarte Lash Hugger Pros: Good at lengthening, easy to remove, did not spot or smear on me. Cons: Pricey, does not thicken, time-consuming application, fades throughout the day.

Shampoo: Esencia by SAMY($8)

Ingredients on above website.

I hauled this back in March and finally got around to using it. It was free after rebate from Walgreens. I did receive my rebate on it, so that pleased me. I love the bottle design on this. Very sturdy and that cute ball head that pops up. The shampoo itself is just meh to me. I am halfway through the bottle and put it back in the closet. I am now back to my hair miracle Aloe 80 again. A couple days after I started using Escencia, I noticed that my hair was more difficult to comb out after a shower. By the end of the week, it started getting matted again and I had to spend precious early morning minutes working out the tangles. Esencia claims to be 96.3% natural. Must be something in that 2.7% that my hair really hates. Not many reviews around the web for this. Most everyone was talking about how it was free. You get what you pay for.

Esencia Pros: Low lather, smells nice, cute bottle, was free. Cons: Regular price a bit steep, my hair hated it, accompanying conditioner contains Urea.

Mineral Foundation: Meow Cosmetics (23.95)
Puss: 2-Frisky Chartreux Full Size

Remember that haul I did a couple weeks ago on that giant container of Meow foundation? Hated it! Really banging my head against the wall on this one. $24 down the drain. I will be posting this on MakeUp Alley and hope that someone will want to trade me for it. I'm instituting a $5 rule. If something costs more than $5, I am going to buy a sample first. No more buying blind. Meow doesn't take returns. Lesson here: try before you buy. Don't listen to great reviews.

The product itself is standard mineral foundation. I tried it twice and did not cause any itching or irritation. The product is almost a perfect match for my skin color. I am very pleased with Meow's ability to create product that close to true skin tone. My complaint about this foundation is that it doesn't provide any coverage. None at all.

The variety I purchased was the Pampered Puss for sensitive skin. It is supposed to provide 'medium /heavy layerable coverage'. I put on 3 layers of it and I still looked bare faced - with powder on. This is great if you have perfect skin, but if you have anything at all to hide, it's worthless. After 3 layers, I still had to go back and dust on a layer of Everyday Minerals (which can make me itch) and that gave me the coverage I wanted. Just baffled and aggravated. It was like putting air on my face. This might work well as a finishing powder, but I certainly wouldn't recommend a Meow product as a foundation.

Meow Foundation Pros: Good price for a lot of product, easy to match skin tones, powder feels lightweight. Cons: Lack of coverage - buildable or any other kind.

Monday, July 27, 2009

ELF - 75% Off Mineral Lipstick

I haven't tested this yet. Just saw it in my mail. 75% their mineral lipstick. I've been curious to try it. Says there are no limits on the order.


It works! I just ordered 7 lipsticks for $15.70 shipped. We will see.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Well, I'm Horrified.

"100% pure and natural snail extract"

Oh, boy! How could you pass up a temptation like this? Of all the crazy products I run across, this one is now at the top of the heap. There is an entire line of snail juice products available at Walgreens.

Aside from the 'dear God, they are using snails!' aspect, the ingredients are complete junk. Mineral oil and Parabens. I read through the reviews posted for these products and they all sound phoney, which is nothing new for product reviews. I'm sticking to my Jojoba oil!


Aqua , Mineral Oil , Stearic Acid , Cetearyl Alcohol , Snail Secretion Filtrate , Cyclopentasiloxane , Dimethicone Crosspolymer , Propylene Glycol , DMDM Hydantoin , Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate , Triethanolamine , Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Parfum

Monday, July 13, 2009

Haul: Peacekeeper Lippies

For their July 4th special, Peacekeeper was offering a B1G1F along with free shipping on certain lip products, so I finally bit. I have been trying to buy their popular nailpolish remover for 2 months now and I can never catch it in stock, so I figured I would try something else in the meantime.

I picked up a lip gloss in Eternal Equity and a lipstick in Paint Me Accepting. The total was $14 for both shipped. They now offer free shipping on all items, so I will probably be back to try something else.

My swatch photos were miserable, but the product photo does a good job at showing the colors. I like both colors very much. On the website, they recommend particular colors based on your hair and skin. These are the redhead colors.

I really like the design of the lipstick tube. It has a fat bottom so it sits flat and steady, no teetering on the edge of the sink. The color is smooth and solid, doesn't appear to move around much at all. Kind of iffy on the lip gloss. Like the color and a standard doe foot brush. It is castor oil based and I can really taste it on my lips. It also has a bit of grit to it. I can deal with the castor oil, but the grit may be a deal breaker. It's not super gritty, but just enough to be annoying.

My LOL moment came when I saw the shipping box. This box is much too big and too nice to ship a couple of lippies in. I would have expected an envelope. Reminded me of Amazon where you buy a toaster and they ship it in a refrigerator box. But, it will definitely be reused the next time I need to send something out.

PeaceKeeper Cause-Metrics is the first cosmetic line to give all of its after tax distributable profits to Women's Health Advocacy and Human Rights Issues.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Haul: Meow Cosmetics Foundation

Received my first product from Meow Cosmetics today. They were having a free shipping sale about a week ago so I finally bit. I was always a bit put off by the extensive variety (sometimes too many choices are a bad thing) and crazy cat names for their products, but that is their hook.

This is a huge 30 gram jar (jar is 85 gram size, 30 grams of product). I bought the 'Pamered Puss' variety that is for sensitive skin in '2-Frisky Chartreux'. Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides. It was $23.95 shipped with two samples thrown in.

I thought it would be interesting to show this compared to an Everyday Minerals container. The EM is 8 grams of product ($12), Meow is 30 grams of product. I hope my skin likes this foundation, that's quite a bit to get through! LOL.

Makeup Alley Haul: Ecotools Brush Set

Just got this in a MUA trade. I had purchased a set earlier in the year for a Christmas present. This one is mine, all mine! There was even a .50 off other Ecotools products inside. I hear rave reviews for these. They are synthetic and made with bamboo and recycled aluminium for the ferrels. Once I had them out of the package, I was surprised they were so lightweight. They are full size, but would work nicely as purse brushes.

I haven't washed these yet, but they feel wonderfully soft. I need more makeup brushes like a hole in the head, but I just had to try these out. I really like the cotton and hemp roll that comes with them. Can be washed and re-used with other brushes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Why you shouldn't use baby shampoo to clean brushes

..or on babies, for that matter. It seems that everyone on blogs and You Tube like to clean their brushes with baby shampoo because they believe it's gentle. I keep preaching that liquid castille soap is the best and safest product to use to clean brushes - and yourself.

While Johnson's is bold enough to put 3 Parabens in their baby lotion, they did not put any of my big list in their shampoo, or so I thought. I ran across an interesting press release from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics about how they are pushing Johnson's to clean up their act in the States. Sorry, but there is no excuse for putting chemicals like this in baby products.

Now remember, the FDA does not regulate the cosmetics industry, they are self-regulating. Take a moment and think on that. Some of the cringe-worthy highlights:

"The chemicals in question are 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process, and the preservative formaldehyde, which is slowly released by a chemical called Quaternium-15 to kill bacteria. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde both are probable human carcinogens; formaldehyde also is a skin, eye and respiratory irritant."

"Tests by an independent laboratory commissioned by the campaign, Analytical Sciences of Petaluma, Calif., found Johnson's baby shampoo had 210 parts per million of formaldehyde, and about two dozen other products out of 48 tested had similar or higher levels.

Johnson's baby shampoo also had a low level of 1,4-dioxane, a chemical banned by the European Union that was also found in three Aveeno baby wash products made by J&J, Johnson's moisture care and oatmeal baby washes, and about 25 baby and personal care products made by other companies."

"Last month, Sen. Kerstin Gillebrand, D-N.Y., introduced a bill directing the FDA to regulate such products made for children."

"The campaign's letter to Weldon states that other companies make similar products "by using ingredients that do not have contamination concerns." The letter also notes J&J products in Japan do not release formaldehyde because it is banned in products there."

That last bit is my favorite out of the entire article. Johnson's doesn't use dangerous chemicals in their products sold in Japan and the European Union because those governments have tougher regulations and standards. Meanwhile, back in the United States, we have to look after ourselves.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Holy Cow! No Split Ends!!!

Somebody better give me a drumroll, because it's a big day for me. When I decided to go Paraben Free, I did it for my health, I never realized that it would end up helping my hair as well! I haven't had a trim in nearly 6 months and I don't have a single split end on my head.

Back story:
I have mid-back length red hair. In my pre-Paraben days I would use Aussie or Pantene products and still have to spray my hair with a silicone product in order to get a comb through the knots. It was terrible, so bad in fact, I cut off about a foot of it last year because I was tired of the split ends and rat's nest tangles.

Since then, I had my Paraben Purge and started using Jason's brand shampoo and conditioner. I changed over to Aloe 80 a couple months ago because it has even fewer ingredients. The difference since using more natural products has been astounding. I used to get little sore spots on my scalp, all the split ends, rat nests and flyaways. I have none of these now. My hair is naturally wavy and the curls have really picked up. My hair is very shiny. It actually looks shinier now than when I was using the silicone shining spray.

Sorry to the organic naysayers, you can't deny hard evidence. I have to laugh at myself now because I always believed Aussie was a 'natural' product. In comparing ingredients listings, the difference is obvious. Compare the ingredients for my old Aussie shampoo and my current Aloe 80:

Water ,
Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Sodium Lauryl Sulfate , PPG-2 Hydroxyethylcoco/Isostearamide , Sodium Chloride , Citric Acid , Sodium Citrate , Fragrance , Sodium Benzoate , Tetrasodium EDTA , Polyquaternium-10 , Humulus Lupulus Extract Hops , Hedychium Coronarium Root Extract Australian Ginger Extract , Prunus Serotina Bark Extract Wild Cherry , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Sodium Xylenesulfonate , Red 4

certified organic aloe vera gel, sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate and aloe vera gel,cocamidopropyl betaine and aloe vera gel, cocamide MEA, glycerin, sodium chloride, Certified Organic AloeSorb, lemon (citrus medica limonum) peel oil, hydrolymethyglycinate, rosemary (rosmarinus officialis leaf) oil,sodium cocoyl apple amino acids, terasodium EDTA, potassium Sorbate, DL pantheol (vitamin B5), L-Lysine HCI, Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A) Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E).