Baby (and Mama) Stuff You’ll Love!

Being a mother of two lil ones, and a green enthusiast,  I have tried a lot of different products. I just love this stuff. It’s natural, organic, and some are even made locally. You can’t get any greener! –Arwen Rassmusen

LüSa Organics Booty Balm does wonders on a sore bottom. Organic, natural and locally made in Baraboo, WI. lusaorganics.com

Motherlove Nipple Cream is organic and safe for baby to ingest  You’ll love it, I guarantee it. motherlove.com

Kids overtired and wild? Swipe LüSa Organics Sleep Potion behind their ears and watch the transformation. It’s amazing! I’ve witnessed it! And I use it, so it’s not just for kids, either. lusaorganics.com

Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash is organic, natural, and made with love. It makes bath time awesome. earthmamaangelbaby.com

Clean Aura Baby’s Bottom Soap is mild and gentle on baby’s skin. You’ll love it because it’s organic, natural, and locally made in Fond Du Lac, WI. cleanaura.com

Looking for a family safe bug spray that includes the baby, look no further than Happy Camper Bug Spray by Clean Aura. cleanaura.com

Spring-Clean Your Makeup

Spring cleaning means more than just your windows and your fridge. When you dig those summer shorts out of the basement this May, you should really take a look into your makeup bag too. How long have you had that mascara? That blush that’s almost gone, how old is that?

The truth is that cosmetics have expiration dates too and if you can’t remember when you last bought foundation, it is time to replace it.

Like groceries, fragrances, moisturizers, and makeup only last so long—and what you put on your skin is almost as important as what you eat.

“The moment you open a new tube of mascara or bottle of lotion, the clock starts ticking,” says Anne Marie Fine, an Arizona-based naturopathic physician and skin specialist.

High end, conventional, or organic products all start to harbor germs the minute they make contact with your skin. Although it may sound like good savings to use them for as long as they last, it isn’t good for you. Remember that what you put on your skin is as important as what you eat. It’s all absorbed and used by our bodies and if they are expired they can irritate or cause infection.

“An expired moisturizer, for example, might irritate your skin,” says Fine. “But it could further harm you, especially if it contains certain ingredients that eventually break down into carcinogens.”

Because we don’t know how badly expired products can harm us, it’s best not to take the chance. Each time you open a new product, mark it with a Sharpie. Then you’ll always know when it’s time to toss it.

POA. What?

If you haven’t noticed this on your product, look for it. It’s the Period After Opening icon and it’s there to keep tabs on the product’s freshness. The number will tell you how many months the product should be used after breaking the seal.

Mascara, liquid liner

Lasts: Three to four months
Toss it sooner if: You get an infection, such as pink eye, or it dries out.
Insider info: Replace often. “Bacteria gets transferred easily from your eyes into the container via the brush,” says Fine. If you do contract an eye infection, toss all eye makeup and start fresh after it has cleared up.

Powders: eye shadow, blush, face powder

Lasts: Up to two years
Toss it sooner if: It gets suspiciously crumbly or shiny.
Insider info: “You can literally see powder going bad,” says Fine. “When it glistens or disintegrates, that’s a sign the moisture has evaporated from the cakes.”

Lipstick, lip gloss, balm

Lasts: A year with wand, two years with direct or brush application
Toss it sooner if: You get a cold sore or other lip infection.
Insider info: Like mascara, you transfer germs and bacteria back into the tube with every application. Swap the wand that comes with the gloss with a washable wand. If you get an infection, toss all lip stuff and start over.

Pencils

Lasts: Up to three years, with sharpening
Toss it sooner if: It becomes either unusually dry or melty.
Insider info: Sharpen often. “Every time you sharpen a liner or lip pencil, you get rid of the part that touched your face where bacteria lives,” says Fine. Cap pencils firmly when not in use to avoid other contaminants.

Liquid foundation

Lasts: Up to two years
Toss it sooner if: The color changes or separation occurs.
Insider info: Did you know that the oxygen that gets into the bottle when you open and close it can help it break down faster? Close caps right after use or get one with a pump dispenser.

Moisturizer: face or body

Lasts: About two years in a pot; up to three years in a pump
Toss it sooner if: You notice a change in the smell or consistency.
Insider info: Pump dispensers minimize bacteria. If you use moisturizer in a pot or jar, use a spatula to get it out to minimize bacteria transfer from your fingers. Organic and natural creams and lotions may last longer when kept cold in the fridge.

Sunscreen, sunblock

Lasts: Up to a year
Toss sooner if: The expiration date on the tube or package has passed.
Insider info: Active ingredients in sunscreens and sunblocks occur when they are opened and sit in the hot sun. Fine suggests being conservative. “Always toss them within a year of opening.”

Fragrance

Lasts: About two years
Toss it sooner if: It doesn’t smell the way it used to.
Insider info: “Resist the urge to display your favorite scent on your vanity,” says Fine, “no matter how pretty the bottle.” Instead, store it in a cool, dry, dark space to keep air and light from degrading its quality.

Leading the Way with Lead-Free Lipstick

by Heather Rothbauer-Wanish

Think of the multitude of products we use each day. For women, these products probably include make up and other beauty products. Many women finish applying cosmetics by adding a splash of color  to their lips. But, did you every stop to wonder what might be inside that lipstick tube besides a beautiful color?

A group of concerned citizens has started a movement to curb the unhealthy ingredients utilized in today’s cosmetic products. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began in 2004 as a way to influence legislators and to establish reforms to eliminate dangerous chemicals and other ingredients in cosmetic products. This is especially important for lipsticks, as most women inadvertently consume approximately four pounds of lipstick during their lifetime.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website (safecosmetics.org), during October 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 popular brands of lipsticks for lead content. The study found that 61 percent of lipsticks contained lead, with some of today’s most popular cosmetic lines having the highest levels. For example, certain lipsticks produced by Cover Girl, L’Oreal, Maybelline, and Revlon all contained lead. These products continue to be produced, even though science dictates that there is no safe level of lead exposure.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics stated that exposure to lead can cause a multitude of health issues including: fatigue, sleeplessness, headaches, mental impairment, irritability, hearing problems, and abdominal pain. “Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure,” according to Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.

Fortunately for lipstick lovers everywhere, there are products available that are free of lead and other questionable health ingredients. One Chippewa Valley resident represents a company that contains a full-line of lead-free lipsticks, along with other healthy, natural, and herbal products. Pam Jaffke has been a Sunrider independent business owner since 1998.

For Jaffke, the Sunrider products have been a welcome relief from her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1995. According to Jaffke, her multiple sclerosis was advancing rapidly; however, she feels that the Sunrider products have allowed her to stop taking medications and have caused the multiple sclerosis symptoms to occur much less frequently.

“I have found what a huge difference the skin products make for me,” explained Jaffke. Of course, Jaffke always stresses the natural ingredients of the Sunrider product line. When she is explaining the Sunrider cosmetic products to potentially interested customers, Jaffke is sure to explain the dangers of other lipsticks, which are petroleum-based. The Sunrider lipsticks use bee’s wax, instead of the candle wax that is found in petroleum-based products.

In fact, Jaffke does a demonstration to ensure people note the differences between a petroleum-based lipstick and a plant-based lipstick, such as that provided by Sunrider. “During demonstrations, we actually heat up the two lipsticks. Those that are petroleum-based have a foul smell and people have a better idea of what these types of products can do to their lips and bodies,” said Jaffke.

Jaffke is very pleased that consumers are becoming more health-conscious and aware of what they are using as cosmetics. “For the quality and safety of the products, I believe the products are a bargain,” Jaffke said. The Sunrider line of skin care, personal care, and cosmetics, known as Kandesn, is only advertised through satisfied customers, such as Pam Jaffke. “I really do believe the quality is superior and the products last longer because of the concentration amount in each one,” Jaffke stated.

Although women want to look their best, it is important to remember healthy choices when seeking new cosmetic products. Consumers should research lipsticks and other cosmetics prior to purchase to ensure they are obtaining lead-free products. For more information, please see www.safecosmetics.org and www.sunrider.com.

Beet Red Lip Gloss

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup beeswax
  • ¼ cup castor oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • beet juice

Instructions:
Melt beeswax, remove from heat and add oils. Add as much beet juice as desired for color. Store in jar.

Lip Balm

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons grated unbleached beeswax
  • 5 teaspoons carrier oil (sunflower, castor or jojoba)
  • 6 or 7 drops essential oil (such as lime, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit or peppermint)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, for flavor

Instructions:
Melt the beeswax and carrier oil together in the top of a double boiler, stirring to combine. Remove from heat; add honey and essential oil. Mix thoroughly so the honey does not clump. To add a little color, stir in a tiny dab of lipstick with a coffee stirrer. Pour the mixture into containers; let sit 20 minutes before covering or moving. For glossier lip balm, use 2 teaspoons wax and 8 teaspoons carrier oil.

Here is a link to the site: http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=233#lips

The Green Guide’s Tips to Nail Products

While nails seem hard and impermeable, they are actually porous and absorbent. Be aware that even water-based polishes and plant-based removers may contain potentially irritating ingredients that could be absorbed either by your nails or by the skin surrounding your nails. Use products with the following ingredients with care:

Acrylic, Styrene/acrylate polymer and acrylate copolymers: These polymers could cause dermatitis and nasal irritation, and repeated exposure to nail salon workers may lead to asthma. There’s also the potential for them to be contaminated with more problematic methacrylic resins.

Benzophenone-1: This compound is a suspected hormone disruptor.

Ethyl lactate: Ethyl lactate is a volatile solvent that is flammable and can irritate the skin and respiratory tract. The EPA has noted some possibility that prolonged, repeated exposure to ethyl lactate may cause neurological damage.

Polyurethane formers and binders: Toluene diisocyanate (TDI), a component of polyurethane, can cause airway sensitivity and chemically induced asthma.

(www.greenguide.com)

Changing Things Up – Without the Chemicals

January is a common time when people are ready for a change – winter has thoroughly set in, New Year’s resolutions are being made, and nails and hair are starting to need a little “boost.” This year, when you consider pampering yourself with a new hair color or a nice set of nails, you don’t have to settle for traditional chemical, fume-ridden products and services. Now there are organic options! But do they work as well?

1. Does organic hair color still stink?

No! At last, you can get your hair colored without having to put up with the burning eyes, tingling scalp, headaches, and stinging throat that some people experience during chemical hair coloring. What causes that pungent odor is the chemical reaction taking place; it creates ammonia that in turn swells the hair and makes the color penetrate. With organic colors, most people notice an herbal, pleasant scent.

2. If there’s no ammonia, does an organic color last as long?

Yes! Here’s how it works: gentle dryers are used to swell the hair during an organic color service (instead of ammonia), which allows the color to absorb into the hair. There’s less damage to the hair and no absorption into the skin/scalp, unlike traditional colors. Organic hair colors last anywhere from 6-8 weeks, depending on the rate of outgrowth, with no fading.

3. Are ammonia-free and organic color services the same?

No. Ammonia-free hair colors are safer than traditional hair colors, but there are still harmful ingredients in them. They can go darker, but not much lighter. They can be used to change the tone of hair, but tend to be less effective in changing color significantly.

Organic colors are still chemical services, but they are made from totally organic ingredients. (Chemical service in that natural color is being removed and another color is being applied.) Organic hair colors are effective for everything including hi-lights, lo-lights, foils, lightening, darkening, changing tones, etc. They work as quickly as chemical colors without the chemical ingredients.

4. What part of an organic manicure or pedicure is actually organic?

The oils, lotions, salts, and polish are all organic and therapeutic. In our salon, we use vegan nail polish, which lasts as long, dries as quickly and is as brilliant in color as traditional nail polish. Another nice thing about organic nail colors is that they are available in smaller bottles. This means less is thrown to waste as the polish gets old (most people find their polish goes bad before their bottle is even close to empty) – easier on you and on the earth.

If you’re not a salon type and want safer at-home products, be aware that not everything labeled “natural” or “organic” truly is. Check for the USDA’s National Organic Program seal, read the label, and become an ingredient detective. If the company only lists key ingredients and doesn’t include a full list of ingredients (on the products themselves or on their websites), that’s a red flag. And of course, if you want to go totally natural and organic, skip the colors and nail treatments altogether. There are several organic hair products, such as Pureology, that work fabulously and provide beautiful luster and shine to hair. Great natural nail care includes cleaning and trimming, natural buffers, good lotions, etc.

If you want something new, but don’t want the harmful chemicals of traditional hair and nail services, try going organic. As a cancer survivor, choosing to use products and services which would not subject me to so many harmful and carcinogenic substances was an important choice. As with many of my clients, I have enjoyed being able to “change things up” without suffering from all the negative side effects!

Geri Falch is a breast cancer survivor and owner of Spring Street Studios in Chippewa Falls, WI, the only full-service salon in Northwestern Wisconsin which offers organic hair colors, manicures and pedicures.