Holy allergy season Batman.
I’ve never had allergies until this year, but before you think I’m on some random non-beauty tangent… I beg differ! Incessant sneezing, red eyes, and a runny nose are all very real beauty problems. Not to mention that allergies feel like crap!
Word is they’re getting worse with climate change—something about a longer growing season, more pollination and something something. To boot, according to this NPR piece, pollen got going even earlier this year in LA, which may explain why I’ve felt like I have a cold for two months. A cold that mysteriously appears and disappears over the course of the day.
Another reason more people are suffering from allergies? We’re too clean and our immune systems are suffering for it.
I’m pretty sure that’s not my problem though: As many of you know we’re big proponents of being a little dirty (and skipping the soap sometimes). Whatever the cause, everyone seems to be suffering. Which has got me thinking about possible natural remedies.
Some quick googling lead me to peppermint tea, face steaming, and reminders to wash your pets. Oh, and don’t smoke if you have allergies, you guys. Real remedy gold here.
The Neti Pot was also mentioned on NPR as a good natural way to combat the achoos. It’s a tiny little pot that let’s you poor water through your nasal passage, known more formally as nasal irrigation. This apparently clears our allergens, which sounds like an awesome plan.
I tried a Neti pot once in ashram in India. I know, I’m embarrassed for me too. Anyways, it felt super weird, but I’d totally do it if it works.
Have you tried the Neti Pot? Know of any other good natural allergy remedies?
Well whad’ya know, even though they say it’s not a concern on their website, the FDA has done another study on lead in lipstick. You may recall that back in 2007 they found lead in 23 of the 23 lipsticks they tested—this time they found it in 400.
The worst offenders on the list were Maybelline’s Color Sensation in Pink Petal, which had 7.19 parts per million of lead, and L’Oreal Colour Riche in Volcanic, which had 7 parts per million. Several other brands, including Cover Girl and Nars had products hovering in the 4-to-5-parts-per-million range. (The average lead concentration found across the 400 lipsticks was 1.11 parts per million; click here to see the products ranked.)
The big news is that levels are now higher than the last time they tested. In the 2007 study, none of the lipsticks exceeded 3 parts per million. Never mind that the acceptable level for lead in water is ZERO, that lead accumulates in the body, that women and their boyfriends and their kids end up eating it off their lips, that lead is absorbed through the skin, and last but not least, that any toxicologist worth their salt will tell you that no level of lead is acceptable, because it’s a neurotoxin and proven to wreak havoc even in small amounts.
We’d be lying if this study doesn’t make us want to throw our hands in the air, flip a few birds, and then maybe throw something at a wall. Really, it’s gotten worse? Oh, and hey Maybelline: we meet again! Who wants to guess how many PPMs are in the new 14 hour? Who else is pissed?
A little over a year ago we did a very amusing interview with a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The story never saw the light of day (hey, these things happen all the time in publishing), but the exercise was super fun. His idea: Take the clean girls to Walgreens and send them loose in the aisles to find clean alternatives to common products like Nivea body lotion, Secret deodorant, Pantene conditioner, Tressemme shampoo, Neutrogena face wash—you know, the stuff everyone uses, every day.
This was our first big newspaper interview, and we were pretty caffeinated, and I’d just landed in L.A., and we’d just gotten an email that the TIME article about our book was out, and we were together, and and and—you get the picture. It was such a great day!
But as we wandered the aisles, we were shocked at the dearth of truly natural products. (Maybe that’s why the article didn’t work?) There was garbage in every green-leaf-adorned bottle and tube, to the point where I remember feeling kind of bad for the writer. “Is this one bad too?” he’d ask.
“Uhh, ahhh, I mean… Sorry!”
At one point I picked up a bar of Dove soap that I’d used on and off years ago. It had green tea and cucumber in the name and there was a green leaf the box, so I flipped it over and read the ingredients for what was, I’m pretty sure, the first time. Here they are:
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Stearate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate , Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5.
Heh. No cukes, no tea. Nevermind that cucumber and tea don’t make a ton of sense in a bar of soap anyway—it sort of became a symbol in my head of how much we’d learned, and how little we knew before, without even knowing we didn’t know it.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a major pharmacy for anything other than bandaids, so I thought it would be instructive to explore again. I hit a Walgreens, a Duane Reade and a CVS. Here’s what I found.
I was especially surprised to see a lot of Lavera products, including the sunless tanner Alexandra loves and the sunscreen I lived by last summer. I saw Dr. Bronner’s, a brand that continues to expand in a way I find inspiring (let this be a model for more mainstream expansions, yes?). There was a great selection of the Yes To line, which isn’t as clean as we like, but at the price point and availability, OK in a pinch. There was some Alba, Giovanni and Aubrey (the gateway-brand triumvirate, also better than many in a pinch) and—gasp—100% Pure! They had my sunscreen! I also saw Natracare organic cotton tampons for less than at my health food store, Organic Wear, tons of three-free nail polishes—and each of the three stores had almost all of these on offer.
Bottom line: There was a lot to choose from, and it wasn’t half bad.
So it got me wondering: What, if anything, do YOU buy at the drugstore? Anything? And have you seen any of our beloved lines expanding to major retailers? Share, share.
It’s true. It’s not that I went all that often, but going to get your nails or hair done with a girlfriend is nothing short of heaven, am I right? If you’ve read the book you probably know that that’s what got Siobhan and me in trouble in the first place.
Last time we were together in New York we went with our friend Anna, a real green beauty, for supposedly nontoxic manis. Well, the whole experience was a huge letdown. Not only were they not clean—they carried Essie and Chanel, and the polish remover was certainly not Suncoat—they were terrible! In Los Angeles I sometimes treat myself to a manicure at Recess, a luxey green nail spa on Beverly. The prices leave me gasping for air (but at least it’s not fumes I’m choking on).
Anyway, I was rather excited to discover via NPR that there’s a new clean hair and nail salon in Los Feliz, my usual stomping ground. I’ll have to report back once I’ve gone, but not only are Primrose Organics’ prices reasonable, it looks like they use John Masters products for the hair care. Hello!
I know we’ve asked you ladies a lot this week but if you love a clean salon in your area, please share. We only have each other for guidance!
Image via Life Magazine