LUSH- ingredient labels speak for themselves, they just need a voice!

LUSH= Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, 100% vegetarian, ethically made, fair-trade vanilla. Great line, right? ABSOLUTELY, POSTIVELY NOT. One of the worst Greenwashers, in my opinion. Clicking through their ingredient labels is a horrible experience for a label reader such as myself. Bar soap is something very easy to make safely. Many of the lines on my So-So & Greenwashers lists make bar soap with absolutely no ingredients of concern. Please take a  look at the men’s bar soap by LUSH- ingredients:

Water (Aqua) , Propylene Glycol , Rapeseed Oil , Coconut Oil (Brassica napus; Cocos nucifera) , Sodium Stearate , Sodium Lauryl Sulfate , Fragrance , Glycerine , Spearmint Oil (Mentha viridis) , Thyme Oil (Thymus vulgaris) , Menthol Crystals , Sodium Chloride , EDTA , Tetrasodium Editronate , Sodium Hydroxide , *Limonene , *Linalool , *Farnesol , Hydroxycitronellal , Methyl Ionone , Mica , Titanium Dioxide , Iron Oxides , FD&C Green No. 5. http://www.lushusa.com/Dirty-Soap/03581,en_US,pd.html#q=soap&start=4

Propylene Glycol is the main ingredient after water?!?! I would hope, even if you’re not a super educated label reader, you can look at that & know it screams TERRIBLE.

Their shampoo: Water (Aqua) , Sodium Lauryl Sulfate , Ammonium Laureth Sulfate , Cocamide MEA , Fragrance , Propylene Glycol , Lemon Oil (Citrus limonum) , Fresh Papaya Juice (Carica papaya) , Fine Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride) , Carrageenan Extract , Sweet Orange Oil (Citrus sinensis) , Fresh Pineapple Juice (Ananas comosus) , Fresh Kiwi Juice (Actinidia chinensis) , Fresh Mango Juice (Mangifera indica) , *Citral , *Limonene , Benzyl Alcohol , Methylparaben , Propylparaben. http://www.lushusa.com/I-Love-Juicy/9999902007,en_US,pd.html.  Methylparaben AND propylparaben– WOWWWWWWW!

Honestly, I don’t even have words for this. Again, TERRIBLE! I thought, ok, maybe the shampoo bar is safer. 1st ingredient=SLS! Just about everything in their line contains Red and/or Blue #something. I just wanted to share this info, as someone asked my thoughts. Again, the reason I recommend Poofy Organics over & over & over, is it is REALLY, TRULY the safest on the market. Take a look at a bar soap from Poofy: Ingredients:  Saponified Organic Oils of Olive Oil, Coconut Oil Palm Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Coconut Extract, Organic Burnt Sugar Extract.

And their very popular orange/lavender shampoo: Ingredients: Purified Water, Decyl Polyglucose, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Yucca Extract, Organic Orange Essential Oil, Organic Lavender Essential Oil, Xanthan Gum.

And yes, I benefit if you purchase Poofy Organics via this link: https://mypoofyorganics.com/ecofriendlyusa

But I’m not recommending it because I’m selling it. I’m selling it because I recommend it over & over & over, as it’s everything it says it is= safe, effective, organic. Here’s more info on my decision: https://ecofriendlyusa.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-decision-to-become-a-diva-with-poofy-organics/

Please, if anyone you know is using LUSH, share this info with them!

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Homespun Northwest Review

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Review of Homespun Northwest, based in Portland, OR (and I know we have many Pacific Northwesterners on the page). I really like the variety of basic personal & home care essentials, all made with minimal & organic ingredients, and at reasonable prices. She even offers organic dog treats which I’m thinking about ordering for our 9 year old black lab.

67 items in her Etsy shop, including samples of everything she offers. The samples are small, but cheap, and you can get a couple uses out of them. I was sent samples of:

Dry shampoo (she couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before, have you?) Ingredients: organic cornstarch, organic cocoa powder, organic arrowroot powder, kaolin clay. Available unscented or in a choice of several scents. Description from the site: “Finally, a dry shampoo that is perfect for brunettes! Not only will it leave your hair looking cleaner and more voluminous, but the cocoa powder gives brunettes a better solution than commercial white dry shampoo. It is best not to wash your hair too often so that your scalp can restore its natural balance and produce the perfect amount of sebum for healthy hair. Twice a week is really all you need! This dry shampoo is the perfect thing to use between washes. It will keep oily roots at bay and also give your hair some serious volume!” I have mixed feelings on this product. I do only wash my hair a couple times/week, I know many on this page do & it’s truly best for your hair not to wash it daily. But, part of my desire to only wash it a few times weekly is to use less product. When it does get greasy, I usually just don a bandana or hat But, I did use this sample when my hair was quite greasy, and I really do like how it looked. She recommends applying it with like a blush brush, which I don’t own so I rubbed it on both my hands & just worked it in as best I could. It really did take away the greasy look & I liked the results. But I don’t feel the need to keep it around as a product. I did want to review it though as I love highlighting unique products, and as mentioned, this was the 1st time I’ve seen a dry shampoo.

Grapefruit Facial cleanser/mask- ingredients: kaolin clay, grapefruit essential oil, organic oats. I did use this as a mask, while I soaked in the tub & used the cleansing cube listed below. I enjoyed my sample of it! I know kaolin clay has numerous beneficial properties for our skin!

Cleansing Scrub Cube: Ingredients: organic turbinado sugar, organic pure virgin coconut oil, organic mild castile soap, organic dutch cocoa powder, fresh ground organic raw almonds, organic sweet almond oil. I really like this idea of a convenient cube. 10 cubes sell for $6, and I felt a cube was more than enough to do my body, I think I could’ve gotten away with ½ one & been happy. I was surprised that it contained soap, I wasn’t expecting that when I started using it. So it cleans & exfoliates very nicely. And of course, you have to resist the temptation to eat it, as it’s looks & smells like a piece of brownie. Is using food ingredients as personal care concerning? I do know from my own experience that sugar scrubs can grow mold, if not used relatively quickly. You definitely don’t want to put it on a shelf & forget about it for a year before using the items. Here’s a statement from her site: “These cleansing sugar scrub cubes are a convenient alternative to traditional body washes. Each cube gently cleanses while the pure cane sugar exfoliates, buffing away dead cells, as the oils moisturize to reveal healthy, glowing skin. Indulge yourself with this guilt-free dessert for your entire body! Unlike commercial products, Homespun Northwest handcrafts products once a week in small batches, using only high quality natural ingredients.” So, since they are freshly made I have no concerns in that regard, I would just advise against stocking up too much in one order…

The only ingredient of concern to me is Borax which is used in the dish & laundry products. Many in the natural community have no problem with Borax, but I do not use it in any products in my home. It can be a skin irritant, and receives an F from the EWG Cleaning Database. Please, research this ingredient from many sources before using it. Many have, and continue to use it .

You can even make custom order requests, something I really like to see offered! I hope you’ll take a look at her shop & browse her nice variety of products, and use the 10% off coupon included below to try a few items!

10% off code: HNW10
Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/homespunnorthwest
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/HomespunNorthwest

My search for the safest, made in USA tableware

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And Anchor Hocking was my choice! I’m thrilled with it for several reasons: it’s very reasonably priced, it’s completely free of lead & cadmium, and it’s made in the USA, meeting all my criteria. I already owned several Anchor storage containers, they’re very similar to Pyrex, and they come in every size & shape imaginable. I  had been considering Fiestaware which many adore for it’s bright, beautiful colors, and the fact that it’s lead free, but guess what? Those colors contain cadmium 😦  From the research I’ve done, just about anything painted yellow, orange or red will contain cadmium. And, it’s quite expensive. I could not be happier with my new tableware from Anchor. You should shop around a little, I purchased my mugs & bowls from Amazon for a very reasonable price, but the plates were twice as much on Amazon as they were from Bed Bath & Beyond. Some Target’s, Wal-Mart’s & other big box stores even carry the line, although none local to me do.

Anchor Hocking confirmed that all their offerings, even the colored glass, are free of cadmium & lead, which are the main concerns in just about all tableware. I went with the Presence line: I got 6 mugs for $20.  The bowls were the most expensive, I should’ve shopped around a bit more, these were $24 for 4 of them, they didn’t qualify for Prime shipping, but I applied for the Amazon credit card which got me a $30 Amazon gift certificate, so they were free basically, and I will never use the credit card 🙂  The plates were 6/$9.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond, and shipping was $7.99, so I got 12 of each size plate (8″ & 10″) shipped for $50 total, coming out to only $2/plate. This comes out to ~$13 for the 4 piece setting, and I think I could’ve found the bowls cheaper had I shopped around more. This is less than 1/2 price compared to Fiestaware, which even on sale is hard to find under $30/ 4 piece setting. We drink from glass Mason jars, although we’ve been drinking from these mugs quite a bit, they’re certainly not just for coffee! Ball & Kerr  Mason jars are made in the USA.  The pint wide mouths are my favorite, and a case of 12 is less than $10. We keep the smaller sizes around for my 3 year old, it’s all he’s ever drank from other than a stainless steel or glass bottle when we’re on the go. I’m really, really happy with my purchases. I haven’t had them all that long though, so will certainly update as to how everything’s holding up over time. But, I did hear from 1 person who had the mugs for 8 years now & they are in great shape still, which is encouraging!

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Amazon links: Cafe Mug (on left): http://amzn.to/1GwtkWI

Rio Coffee Mugs (on right): http://amzn.to/1yMAaDR

8″ Salad plates- 12 pk: http://amzn.to/1xzndar

10″ plate-I’m not seeing these on Amazon? But here’s the direct link & I’m sure they’re available elsewhere: http://www.anchorhocking.com/prodd_4810_cat_17_presence_10_plate.html

bowls- http://amzn.to/1sZhXAu

2 gal beverage dispenser- http://amzn.to/1wp3U2c

PLEASE read this article about the dangers of using glassware in the oven. Properly cared for it can last a lifetime. http://www.household-management-101.com/glass-bakeware.html

On our credentials

I love this comment, wanted to share, Jolene & I often have our backgrounds questioned. No, we are not chemists. We are label reading Mamas who have an addiction to research! From someone Jolene has done a review for in the past (Shepard’s Harvest): “I have found you to be a very reasonable source…and VERY conservative/cautious when it comes to ingredients. Thank you for that! And my background is in Electrical Engineering/Manufacturing with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics Education (sorry, no PhD, LOL!). You have been as thorough as possible, and I use your site as a reference. Greatly appreciated”

This was Jolene’s response when asked about her background as a qualifier to publish a safe make-up list: “I go to the source of the product (their website) to get official ingredient lists and I will individually research them online. I don’t typically go into EWG and just put the name of a product in because companies reformulate all the time and I want to know the risks of specific ingredients. In EWG they have several (sometimes hundreds) of published articles on findings for that ingredient…it’s safety, any negative reports/reactions, etc. Sometimes there is no or limited information and I have to scour the internet for other reports from people that ARE chemists and have ran tests (EWG is NOT perfect and I am NOT a chemist) and read their findings. I try to find as current as information as possible. When it’s all said and done, I am just a label reader and a researcher. Experience and time is my background I offer. If I am not sure about something from a company, I will email or call and ask. Most companies are forthcoming, some are not. I research this information to use for my family too…I would never want to put anything even questionable on my kiddo’s skin (mostly because I have one kid with a lot of allergies, and one that is chemically sensitive). Everyone has their level of comfort though. I am not the hard, fast makeup police or anything (lol) but I feel that I have done a lot of work finding good information on these products/ingredients and I am hoping that other people can benefit from my work to use in their life. I am human though, if anyone ever finds information to the contrary, I would love to see. I learn something new everyday. My official background as far as education goes is that I am about to graduate with a BS in Education.”

Me: I have a BA in Spanish Education. What does that have to do with this, nothing, but college got me in the habit of researching via multiple sources, and gave me so much fabulous background knowledge that I use daily. I’ve grown up in the greenhouse business, worked in a ton of different settings, and am just on a mission to provide the best products for my family. So, those are our credentials.

 

All this being said: I would love to share some info from guest bloggers. Do you have a topic you’re passionate & knowledgeable about that you think will interest our community here? Please let me know, I love hearing from a variety of sources on a variety of topics!

For the record, regarding my mission…

The need to make this statement comes up every couple months, so I thought I’d do it as a blog post I can share when the need inevitably arises again. Today I received an email from a person saying I should be ashamed of myself, all I’m doing is spreading paranoia. Her friend follows my page & is so paranoid about everything that she scrutinizes everything she feeds her child & puts on her child’s body. This person went on to say that we all survived all the chemicals fed to us & lathered on us as children, so why worry about any of it. I should get off my high-horse & feed my kids a bowl of fruit pebbles like she was doing at that moment….

When I 1st started this page, nearly 2 1/2 years ago now, and received messages like this they truly upset me. I have definitely grown a thick skin since then as I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it all, and been called plenty of names: chemophob being a favorite. I’m 100% tolerant of others points of view, as long as they’re voiced respectfully. I’m actually honored by the info she shared with me about her friend scrutinizing her decisions regarding the products & food she’s using with her family– that’s my mission!! But I don’t consider myself to be paranoid at all. It’s all about education, and the sharing of information, which Facebook is a great platform for. The “we lived through it, so why do anything different for our kids” excuse, which comes in various forms is probably my biggest pet peeve as a blogger, and mother. WHEN WE KNOW BETTER, WE DO BETTER. I want what’s best for my family, and knowledge gained since the 70’s-80’s, when many on my page were being raised has given us the ability to make better choices in some areas. I do not at all feel limited by my choices to live a healthy lifestyle. I also respect the fact others make different decisions than I do. I could tell everyone that wears make-up, uses disposable diapers, formula feeds, etc that they are making the wrong decision because it’s not the decision I make. But that is not my mission, and would not get me very far towards my goal of helping educate. Instead, I strive to provide you with the best options I know of, whether for make-up, disposable diapers, or whatever you are looking for, and do so without passing judgment.

My page passed 9,000 likes today. I know there will always be a few naysayers & negative Nancy’s out there (wonder where that expression came from?). For the most part, I’m so thrilled & honored by the level of respect in the interactions that take place on my page amongst total strangers. THANK YOU for that!!

Jolene’s safe make-up list!

Jolene Marty has been the co-admin of my main Eco-friendly USA page for ~3 of the 4 years I’ve had the page. I personally don’t wear make-up, she does & she is as devoted to label-reading as I am. So make-up questions go to her, and she has compiled this, it is a work in progress.

 

BEST OF THE BEST (100% of products have safe ingredients, are either certified organic or made with all organic ingredients, made in the USA, cruelty free)

Poofy Organics

Suncat Mineral Makeup

Au Naturale

Lauren Brooke

Simply Rustic

**If you happen to choose Poofy, purchasing through this link costs you no more than shopping directly from Poofy, it ships straight from them, I earn a bit of commission: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

 

STILL REALLY GOOD (these are still pretty darn good in terms of ingredients, just not the absolute best. They are cruelty free, might have an exception or two, and worth a look!)

Willow Tree Minerals (reviewed makeup line only, with a few exceptions in a few products, everything looks good. Do NOT recommend mascara)

NYR Organic (makeup line reviewed only most, ingredients are safe, not certified organic however many products have several organic ingredients in them also NOT made in US)

Faerie Organics (mineral makeup line ONLY, except their mascara, cruelty free, products are not certified organic but they use a lot of organic ingredients sourced in Oregon)

RMS Beauty (except their mascara and lip2cheek, line has safe ingredients in it, not certified organic but many organic ingredients, all ingredients are non-GMO)

Epic Mineral Beauty (except mascara due to non disclosure of ingredients; will update at later time, non-GMO ingredients, cruelty-free, made in the USA)

Cowgirl Dirt (except for the mascara, this line has safe ingredients, not certified organic but made with many organic ingredients, made in the USA)

Everyday Minerals (safe ingredients, not organic, doesn’t specify non-GMO or not on the few items that have corn, cruelty free, made in USA)

Rejuva Minerals (safe ingredients, except for pressed powder & pressed bronzer, made in USA, several organic ingredients used)

 

GREENWASHERS (I would avoid these, minus maybe a few items in the line, they are unsafe in their majority)

Jane Iredale (with a couple of exceptions in the face line)

Bare Essentials (original forumula loose powder is good only, everything has icky ingredients in it)

Physician’s Formula (filled with horrible ingredients)

Physician’s Formula Organic Wear (is it possible this line is worse?! A lot of bad stuff here)

Please don’t judge that kid having a tantrum…

For the last 3 years our life has been ruled by nap times. We’ve been down to 1/day with my son for quite some time now. We have a routine, with is something very important in the life of a child, especially a toddler/pre-schooler. He’s never slept in a crib or pack-n-play. We’ve bed-shared since day 1. Nap time has involved cool, quiet (but some white noise too), and rocking until he’s almost asleep, then lying him down on our couch in the center of our wide-open downstairs where I can keep an eye on him him while I do other things. Every, single day. So, next to my concern for inclement weather while camping, nap time was my next greatest concern. But, I really wanted to get away for a week & make some great memories on a family camping trip. Weeks of planning & advanced prep went into preparing & trying to ensure we were as comfortable as possible, but at the same time took only the basics as our Forester is quite small with 2 car seats in it. Day 1: 4 hr drive, which of course coincided with nap time & I thought for sure he’d sleep, which he did. For 20 minutes. His Sister was sleeping at the same time (which she did for ¾ of the car ride), so there was a brief period of me being able to relax as I looked back at both my kids sleeping. Ahhhh, I thought, this is going to be all right. Everything will work out; he’ll sleep if he’s tired. 20 minutes go by, a loud vehicle passes us & he’s awake. And tired. Oh well I though, he’ll go to bed early. We had a nice afternoon, got our tent set up in the hot sun, but then evening came & it cooled down & we had a good time exploring our new surroundings. Being it was the day before the Summer Solstice, it stayed light so long, that it was 10:30 pm before he finally fell asleep in our tent. Hopefully he’ll sleep in I then thought. Nope. He never, ever sleeps past 7:30, ever, and there was no exception this time.

 
We had a fun morning exploring a beautiful state park, had a nice lunch & he started saying “I’m tired Mama”. I made a comfy bed in some shade under a big beautiful tree, there was a gentle breeze blowing, it was absolutely beautiful out. I tried to get him to lie down, he looked so tired. That’s when things started going downhill. I won’t go into detail, but he had the worst tantrum of his life. On a Saturday afternoon as this state park was starting to fill up with people. Others were staring, or some were trying not to stare. Why am I sharing all this? Because I have certainly been guilty of seeing a kid flipping out & being judgmental. “Wow, that kid has some issues” or worse thoughts about the parent even, have crossed my mind when I’ve witnessed the very behavior my Sweet Pea was now exhibiting. Now, I was the one installing my rabid 3 year old into his car seat kicking & screaming, there was no talking him down. He was asleep in the car within seconds. We went back to camp, tore down, threw everything in the car & made the 4 hour drive home. He is napping in his spot on our couch now, where he has napped every, single day for the last 3 years. SO, please, next time you see a child having a very rough time, please try not to be judgmental towards him/her, or the parents, it will happen to you someday, just about guaranteed. As for camping, I’ll be giving it a go again for sure! In about 3-4 years when nap times are a thing of the past. While they do rule my life now, I know they won’t forever, and I know that I will miss snuggling my Son & rocking him to sleep in the not-so distant future when that ceases to happen daily. The rest of my Summer will focus on short trips close to home. We live in the country & are surrounded by woods, hiking trails & plenty to do. Those of you camping with little ones this summer, I sure hope you have a more pleasant experience than we did. I know not all kids have such rigid nap requirements & can sleep anywhere. Good luck to you! I actually had someone tell me “maybe someday the fun will be more important than the nap” when I said I couldn’t do something that was mid-day. Sorry. Doesn’t work like that, not for my child anyway. There is NO fun if there is no nap…

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