The current laws regulating cosmetics in the U.S. date back to 1938. That’s just 18 years after women were granted the right to vote.
Doesn’t that seem impossibly long ago? That’s when the Palmolive ad featured above was current, by the way. Loopholes and inadequacies in the U.S. law allow the cosmetics industry, worth $50 billion and growing, to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into their products without any real oversight. Sometimes I get so carried away in my little green bubble, celebrating the latest amazing shampoo or serum, that I forget there is still so much progress to be made.
When I read Siobhan and Alexandra’s book No More Dirty Looks, I saw the cosmetics industry clearly for the first time, and I was forever changed. Yes, it was that dramatic for me. I knew my personal relationship with skincare and cosmetics was in for a serious overhaul on a consumer level and on a more personal, emotional level as well. Probably the most troubling realization I had was that brands I loved and trusted were not, in fact, looking out for my well-being. More bothersome yet, many of these companies were marketing their products in a way that duped me into thinking I was making good choices for myself when I wasn’t. Hello, greenwashing. At least with the L’Oréals of the world, you aren’t being sold the idea that ingredients matter. It’s just wham, bam, now you’re glam. The greenwashing hurt the most. I fell for it, and all because I didn’t know how to read an ingredient list or suspect that I even needed to. Sound familiar? Oh the naiveté.
So we’ve got this regulation problem on our hands, and Congress is not, uh, functioning very well. However, legislative change is not our only hope. Consumer preferences are a powerful thing. The real green beauty industry is booming, and companies are getting the message that there is a shift occurring in how people think about personal care products and their health. Point is, we can laugh about how we don’t even miss those old conventional products and boast about how clean beauty is better than ever, but we need bigger change. People shouldn’t have to worry about what’s inside the bottle of any product. Ever.
I’ve got a little grassroots challenge for you. Think of this as a social responsibility experiment. Thousands of us have committed to cleaner lifestyles and beauty habits, so why not let those old dirty companies know we changed and they should change, too?
Here’s the plan. Pick one cosmetic or skincare company that you loved before going clean. Send them an email and let them know that you used to be a customer, but you broke up with them. Tell them why. Maybe it’s because you found out they use ingredients that are harmful at worst and useless at best. Maybe it’s because they claimed to be natural, but you figured out the game. If you’re feeling sweet, tell them why you loved them in the first place. Let them know that you have standards for ingredient safety, and you think they should, too.
It may seem like a little thing, but the savvy companies are listening. In response to consumer pressure, Johnson & Johnson recently reformulated their baby shampoo to remove formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. Unfortunately, they replaced one questionable preservative with another, but the move was no small thing for a corporate giant like Johnson & Johnson. It signals that consumers can incite change where government laws and regulations do not. We just have to know what to ask for.
How do you feel about current cosmetics regulations? Will you join me in contacting a brand you used to love and share your concerns about ingredient safety?
I have an intense sweet tooth. Not the gummy bears and jolly ranchers kind of sweet tooth — the chocolate, cakes, and cookies kind. Though I am largely in control of my sugar cravings — I eat small portions and don’t binge — I’m not that person who can sub Greek yogurt for ice cream, nor do I really want to be. But all things in moderation, right?
Here’s the thing, though — I have just enough of a problematic relationship with sugar to know that if I don’t have access to a little bite of bliss at some point on most days, I will seek it out. In my darker, weaker moments, that means taking the path of least resistance and grabbing one of the hyper-processed, sugar-saturated candy bars at the corner 7-11. Usually it’s a KitKat. And just like an addict, I know exactly what the fall-out of my decision will be but proceed nonetheless.
Hey, I’m not one to feel guilty about eating sweets. I live a pretty healthy life, but any run-in with the fast food version of candy leaves me with a physical and psychological hangover that is just yuck. First, talk about fast track to jelly belly. I’ve got a mature metabolism now, and I notice the littlest amount of hyper-processed candy on my waistline within no time. And my skin? My complexion looks red and blotchy for the next 24 hours, and boom — a zit or three pops up where there were previously none. The “you are what you eat” mantra is never more apparent than when I eat poor quality, highly refined sugar. Not only are the outward effects manifest, but inwardly I’m left feeling super irritable or downright depressed. Blech. So I made this deal with myself, because I don’t want to give up all sugar — I want to give up that kind of sugar.
Rather than repress it, I try to satisfy my sweet tooth in the most healthful and conscious way possible for me.
My foolproof method for avoiding the most toxic treats is to keep a better alternative on hand. Again, while I love a bowl of fresh fruit, I’m talking about something a little more indulgent. Just a little. With a little planning, I can reliably have something sweet in my kitchen that might include some sugar, but also contains healthy, life sustaining ingredients.
I don’t have a lot of extra time to spare in the kitchen. It takes enough effort to make sure I’m eating balanced meals as often as possible throughout the week. So when I found a recipe that is simple and fast, includes healthful ingredients, and satisfies my sweet tooth in that deep and wonderful way (no crazy side effects!), I kept making it and making it. It’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up or after dinner treat. I’m talking about No-Bake Chocolate Almond Oat Bars.
- 1 cup almond butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 stick butter
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped almonds — toasted if you feel fancy
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and leave an overhang of 2 inches on two sides.
- Melt almond butter, honey, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes until everything is well blended.
- Turn off heat and add chocolate. Stir until it melts.
- Add the almonds, raisins, and salt. Blend in.
- Add the oats and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour mixture into the pan and spread to distribute evenly.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 1 day until it hardens.
- Run a knife around the edges to loosen, and use the parchment paper to lift out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into skinny 2 inch x 3 inch bars and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart Living, but variations abound on the Internet. You can take a lot of liberty with the ingredients. Switch to a different nut butter. Use walnuts instead of almonds. Try chopped figs or apricots instead of golden raisins. Try coconut oil or ghee instead of butter. You get the gist. With all these super healthy ingredients, you might think this sounds more like a chocolate flavored energy bar. Trust me, this definitely has more of a dessert vibe with its fudgey, rich taste. Better yet, this is rich enough that a little hunk goes a long way, but you won’t feel sick after eating it. Nope, just happy and sated.
Do you have a sweet tooth? How does your body respond to super processed treats?
What do you do when you discover a retailer with an incredible stock of all your favorite clean beauty brands plus some you’ve never even heard of? Share!! We love Integrity Botanicals, a small family run retailer that has your wellbeing at heart. We think the feeling must be mutual, because Integrity Botanicals is about to share big time with NMDL readers. Check it out…
Integrity Botanicals is giving No More Dirty Looks readers 20% off site wide! Just use the code NMDL20 at check out. Want more? The first 20 people who spend over $100 will receive deluxe samples of all 5 LURK perfumes in LURK’s art-decorated muslin bags. The deal ends Monday, October 13th at 11:59 PST.
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Even if you don’t take advantage of the Friday Deal, you can enter below to win a $150 gift card from Integrity Botanicals. Happy day!
The details: From now until Monday, October 13th at 11:59 PST, you can enter to win the Integrity Botanicals $150 gift card. You have a few options for how to enter, but the more you complete, the more chances you have to win: follow Integrity Botanicals or No More Dirty Looks on Twitter or like Integrity Botanicals or No More Dirty Looks on Facebook, or sign up for Integrity Botanicals’ newsletter. You’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win. The give away is open internationally. Good luck!
If this morning routine looks really professional, that’s because it’s written by another clean beauty expert! Terri is co-founder of Integrity Botanicals. We’re bringing you a special Friday Deal this week from Integrity Botanicals, so we thought you’d like to know a little bit about Terri and her sweet family.
City: The Woodlands (just outside of Houston), Texas
Current Weather: Warm and humid; just starting to get a little chilly in the morning.
Skin: Fair, dry and sensitive; starting to show fine lines and sun damage.
Hair: Blonde, naturally wavy, dry, long and fine but a lot of it!
Favorite Star From the Past: Madonna, I own every CD and have been inspired by the evolution of her personal style.
So there I was lounging on a pristine white sand beach, listening to gentle waves lap against the shore when I get kneed right in the stomach. The tropics fade away, replaced by our two-year-old son, Jackson, jumping up and down on our bed (and me!) screaming. As I rub my eyes, the first rays of sunlight stream into our bedroom. Another day begins at the Hall residence. After cuddling for a few minutes with the little guy, I make myself a cup of chai tea latte. I love this warm in the colder months and cold in the warmer months. It gives me just the right amount of caffeine to get going without being wired. While my husband makes our son breakfast, I start to prep myself for the day in the bathroom. I mix May Lindstom The Clean Dirt with 4-5 pumps of African Botanics Marula Cleansing Oil and apply to my face using circular motions to gently exfoliate. The Clean Dirt doesn’t foam like it does with water. The combination of May’s dry spices and vanilla scent of the African Botanics oil is so relaxing and the smell is divine! (I do this every other day. The other days, I only use the Cleansing Oil.) I then let the product sit and do its work on my skin while I brush my teeth with Theodent Classic Whitening Mint Toothpaste. Then I rinse and apply Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator to relieve any tightness.
In the Shower…
I alternate with washing my hair with Rahua Classic Shampoo and Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Shampoo and condition lately with Briogeo Curl Charisma Conditioner. I love this combination for letting my hair air-dry, which has been the norm since having a baby. For my body, I use Soapwalla Organic Body Wash in Citrus Mint (such an invigorating, cheerful scent) and use this in combination with St. John’s Natural Whole Sea Wool Sponge… it helps the body wash lather so well and a little product goes a long way when using the wash with the sponge.
Outside the Shower…
The first product I prep my face with is Aster + Bay Brightening Toner. Then I follow up with Kahina Brightening Serum. I also use any excess serum on the tops of my hands. While this all soaks in, I moisturize my entire body while my skin is still damp with One Love Organics Neroli Body Serum (another cheerful scent to help me start my day!) I then unravel my towel tied hair and spritz Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner and comb through with my Widu brush. Next, I apply Aster + Bay Hair Oil with Argan and Ylang Ylang. Then I take a walk to our refrigerator and reach for Aster + Bay Eye Serum and apply this under my eyes. This product is packaged with a rollerball applicator, which I love… and the coolness feels so refreshing on tired eyes. Then I get dressed while the eye serum absorbs (it’s very fast absorbing and doesn’t leave any greasy after feel).
Back to the bathroom sink! I apply Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream, which I also love and it seems to help reduce puffiness and the fine lines around my eyes. It also doesn’t irritate my sensitive eye area. (I have a problem with my eyes tearing from some products.) Then I rub MUN No. 1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum on my face and neck and rub any excess oil into the tops of my hands again.
Back to hair… I comb through my hair and apply Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Cream. These days I don’t have time to blow dry my hair so I just pull it back in a pretty headband and wrap the ends of my hair in a bun to help bring out my naturally curly hair once I let it down. I used to never be able to let my hair air-dry without it looking frizzy or having a funky, ugly wave. The combination of hair products I now use inside and outside of the shower has solved all of this! Finally, I apply Soapwalla Deodorant Cream and wash my hands with Cleanwell Anti-bacterial Foaming Hand Soap in Lavender.
I have been loving and religiously using W3LL People Narcissist Foundation + Concealer Stick for at least a year now. I apply this under my eyes, sides of my nose and blemishes with the W3LL People Basic Foundation Brush. It gives me medium coverage by evening out my skin tone and helps maintain a dewy look. The brush is also excellent for blending. I use 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Eye Shadow in Champagne, then Antonym Blush in Peach (which is really more of a peachy-pink). I blend and reduce excess shine with 100% Pure Healthy Flawless Skin Foundation Powder. All the other makeup tools I use in my makeup routine are with BdelliumTools – they are vegan and super soft. I’ve had no trouble with hairs breaking off either. I’ve been alternating lately between 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Cream Stick in Naked Pink and Antonym Lipstick Pencil in Koral (a shimmery coral). I love them both – they are wider than a lip pencil. I apply them to outline and fill in my lips. I recently started using W3LL People Bio Brightener Powder as my finishing product which I LOVE! It helps reduce excess shine but also leaves my face with a subtle glow. Finally, I brush my brows into place with Bdellium Tools Comb/Brow Brush and use W3LL People Bio Extreme Mascara. I love this mascara because it’s buildable. It can be more natural looking or more extreme with how you use the wand. One last touch to lips…I’ve been rotating between Kari Gran Lip Whip in Radiant (best lip treatment for dry, cracked lips btw!) and W3LL People Bio Extreme Lip Gloss in Sparkling Grapefruit. Both pair well over either lip crayon I use.
Can’t forget our little guy…
While I’m doing my makeup routine above, my husband gets our little guy in the tub. Armed with his trusty natural sea wool sponge and Babo Botanicals Oatmilk-Calendula Shampoo & Wash, Jackson gets a thorough head to toe scrubbing. We like to use the Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Quinoa Co-Wash on his hair. Since it is thick and doesn’t lather, it is really easy to use in his hair and rinses out without getting in his eyes, plus it leaves his hair really soft and smelling great. Immediately out of the tub, he gets a rub down with either the Babo Botanicals Oatmeal-Calendula Lotion or the Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion, both of which smell so delicious that I can hardly resist eating him up!
Next we brush his teeth with Theodent Kids Toothpaste, which tastes like chocolate. Jackson actually likes it so much that he has tried to steal it off the counter to eat it! (By the way, completely safe and non-toxic- SLS free and fluoride free.) Next we work on styling his trademark faux-hawk by first applying Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse to his damp hair. Then we shape it with the blow dryer and finish the look with Josh Rosebrook Styling Cream. Now he’s ready to break all those two-year-old girls hearts at pre-school.
I also want to add that out of the 4 years of testing out products, one product has really stood out for me and I have continued to go back to it. It’s the Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator. I use the AEE at least 1x/ week and let is sit for 45 minutes to work its magic.
So that’s my basic routine. I do tend to rotate in and out a lot of new products as I am evaluating new product lines, but these products are my latest bathroom counter staples. Thanks so much for letting me share!
Stay tuned for an irresistable Friday Deal and giveaway from Integrity Botanicals!
Just as the cold air drifted in this past weekend, turmeric popped into my mind. Turmeric is a warming spice that I associate with fall weather and a soothed belly. It’s part of the ginger family and good for digestion. Personal question: are you fighting a pumpkin spiced latte habit or know someone who is? I’ve got a nice substitute that will beat the pang for a PSL while introducing more turmeric into your life. Plus it costs a lot less than the Starbucks superstar. You probably have a lot of the ingredients already.
But first, let me give you some good reasons to eat more turmeric. Both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine use turmeric as an anti-inflammatory and to treat digestive and liver problems. Curcumin is the little compound in turmeric that is purported to have mega antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body — two things we can all get down with. When I think about health issues I want to address, I happen to worry about inflammation, which ironically may be increasing the levels of inflammation in my body, but hey.
After learning more about the link between inflammation and disease, I try to keep inflammation triggers in check, and I’m willing bet on a dietary choice like turmeric to boost my body’s ability to quell inflammation. I follow the food is medicine doctrine.
Trust me, I know no matter how mindful you are or how much yoga you do, it can be hard to not freak out sometimes when life gets hairy. Turmeric is my little preventative measure against the compounding effects of those moments.
So let me make it easy for you to ditch the pumpkin spiced latte. I’ve got a turmeric-packed alternative that is creamy, sweet, and spicy with ingredients that not only taste good, but also do good for your body. Maybe you’ve heard of golden milk, or turmeric tea, a healthy drink made by blending turmeric powder (or finely grated if you’re lucky enough to find fresh turmeric) into hot milk of some kind. Sometimes ginger is included and often honey. The Internet swears it’s very good for you. I tried it a few ways before settling on my own version, which mellows the sharp turmeric flavor into a note among many. Here’s how I do it…
Gently heat 1 cup of coconut milk. Whisk in 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1 dash of black pepper, 2 dashes of cinnamon, 2-3 dashes of vanilla, 1 pinch of nutmeg, 1 pinch of ginger, and a teaspoon of honey. The spices may settle to the bottom of your cup, even if stirred well, so mind the last gulp! If you have a stick blender or frother, that really helps blend the spices in.
As you get accustomed to turmeric, you can increase the amount you add to your drink. Go slowly though, too much at first may cause an upset stomach! I especially love sipping this drink when the shift in climate leaves me feeling a little raw. When I make this in the morning, I feel strong and nourished. It’s very satisfying — not quite a meal but more than just a beverage. I get this visual of the spices hitting my bloodstream, and I feel certain I am doing good for myself and grateful that it can be so easy. This drink makes a restful nightcap, too. It smoothes the rough edges on any day, and sends me to bed feeling grateful again. Besides, there’s just something wonderfully ancestral about imbibing spices that have been in use for thousands of years. Think about it!
Do you drink something similar? Is turmeric something you enjoy?