Clean Makeup, Clear Conscience

I’m not a huge makeup wearer but when I started switching to safer products years ago I started the search for makeup and skincare products that were safe and at an affordable price. I remember my best friend mentioning that she uses mineral powders cause they work great for her and are supposed to be free of harmful chemicals. So if I recall correctly, that was my first purchase towards cleaner makeup. I headed to my local one stop shop and bought a few items from the Physicians Formula Organic mineral wear line.

If you look them on SkinDeep they have great ratings. Oh and by the way if I haven’t mentioned it before, you have to check out SkinDeep. It’s a database of personal products with ratings on level of toxicity. I was turned onto it after reading Renee Loux’s book. A couple years ago they put out a campaign for donations to aid in developing a smartphone app. And wouldn’t you know, they developed one! It’s so handy. Simply type in your product name or scan the barcode an voila! All the ingredients and rating on each of them at your fingertips. Comes in handy when you’re at the store and you’re trying to decide whether or not you want to buy a new product. Oh I digress. So I bought the Organic Natural Origin Mascara, Organic Translucent powder, and the Organic tinted lotion.

And that’s what I’ve been using for the last few years… until now. What’s my latest discovery? Well, I’ve been waiting for the day when The Honest Company developed either a makeup line or a skincare line. And what did they go and do? They developed an entire Honest Beauty line! Skincare and makeup. Wahoo! And existing Honest customers all received an email for $20 off your first purchase. Sweet! So I was anxious to get on their site and start browsing the new line. I found that they actually developed an entire new site with a new look. The theme is soft and romantic, so definitely feminine. Each makeup item that you browse to has the same list of gals modeling the different colors. So instead of just showing one gal with beautifully bronzed skin wearing the mauve lip gloss, they show the same color on EVERY single model! So you’re able to see what that same lip gloss would look like if you have very fair skin or the darkest of ebony skin! That I like. Especially since they don’t have samples of the makeup line. Who wants to spend $23 on a single item if you’re not sure what it would look like on your skin type.

After browsing ALL of their products, I placed two orders. First I ordered a trial of the skincare line. Then I ordered a bundle (yup dove in right away). In my bundle of three; Everything Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Honestly Cream; Creme Blush in Truly Thrilling; and Luminizing Powder in Midnight Reflection. Oh and I added an extra; the Lip Gloss in Creative Kiss. Here’s my take:

Tinted moisturizer – for me it’s the perfect amount of coverage. It seems like it’s going on pretty thick but evens out so nicely. Towards the end of the day it reveals my blemishes but all makeup does that with me cause I hate to cake on stuff.

Creme Blush – because it’s creme it takes a few times to get used to applying it but I love the color and the stay power.

Lumizing Powder – love it! It’s has a hint of shimmer. Not sparkle, but a subtle shimmer that’s so weightless it put’s a perfect finish to my look. Or at least I like to think it does. ha!

Lip Gloss – I love the color. Doesn’t feel sticky at all. Doesn’t taste gross like some lip gloss. Doesn’t last very long… I guess that’s the reason some lip gloss is so nasty sticky (for the stayput power).

Will I order again? Yes. Will I switch it up a little next bundle? Maybe. I’m really anxious for the products to show up in SkinDeep. Lately I’ve just got lazy lately about analyzing the Honest ingredients because I have a lot of faith in them. But I should really check out the ingredients. Maybe I’ll write a part 2 to this article.

It’s the Little Things

There are so many little things around the house you can do that may not seem like much and you might wonder why you would waste your time and energy on doing them? Ok, so I understand why you wouldn’t think it is important to save a rubber band. But I’ve been saving the rubber bands from my produce for about five years. I have a bowl of some very strong rubber bands now. I never will have to go to the store and buy a bag of rubber bands. Yes, I’ve only saved myself a few bucks and it took me five years. BUT… did you know that typically rubber bands are made out of natural rubber? Where does natural rubber come from? Rubber trees. The latex is tapped from the trees to make the much desired elastic substance… rubber. So why would I throw this precious material out? The only life that this rubber band has seen so far is to bundle my precious asparagus. I feel like this rubber band needs to live a little longer. Long live the rubber band that once protected my produce. May you find another use in my house someday.

RubberBands

Being Honest

Renee Loux’s book Easy Green Living turned on my passion for going green. And four years after I read Renee’s book, Jessica Alba’s book The Honest Life was published. I stumbled on it at Target (little did I know that Target would later become one of her biggest retail outlets). I had heard about her new company but at that time it wasn’t as big as it is now. They only carried a few baby products, personal care and household cleaning products. I decided to get the book. My husband I were working on building our family so what better way to start off the new adventure than by reading an inspiring book. It only took me a few days to read. It captivated me. I always find it interesting to hear stories from those who have built their own company, especially when they’re in my generation. She explains how she had skin problems as a teen and young adult and how later in life she learned that it was the products she was using that was causing the skin problems. So she began her research to find alternatives. As she researched she discovered all of the other products in our lives that are toxic and can have unwanted effects. She found that it was hard to find products that were safe at an affordable price so she was inspired to start her new business, The Honest Company.

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After reading her book I decided to try out her products. I ordered the trial personal care line which consisted of travel size bottles of hand wash, shampoo, lotion and healing balm. The products seemed ok. So I jumped in and signed up for one of the bundle subscriptions. My first shipment was a mixture of home cleaning and personal care products. Each bundle shipment has five products of your choice (although some aren’t bundle-able). My first order consisted of the following (plus 3 add-ons that I got at a 20% discount):

  • Oxy Boost
  • Body Oil
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Face & Body Lotion
  • Dishwasher Packs
  • Multi-surface Cleaner
  • Bathroom Cleaner
  • Toilet Cleaner

I will admit I don’t like all of these products. They Oxy boost seems to work fairly well. The laundry detergent works great! I had been using “all free and clear” laundry detergent after learning a few years back that scented soaps are making me a little itchy. But knowing that this laundry detergent has been tested by scientists who think outside the box of traditional laundry soap makes me smile. Ok so on with the products. Lotion, great; body oil, love it; dishwasher packs, can’t get enough of them; multi-surface leaner, scent is “ok” but cleaning capability is great; bathroom cleaner, not a fan of the scent but it cleans well; toilet cleaner, like it.

In a nut shell, I love most of her company’s products. One of my new favorites is the Honest Air + Fabric Freshener. I ordered the Lavender Vanilla and oooooh my gosh does it smell delicious. I like to just sprits it around the house before company comes over. Ok, and there’s one more product I have to blurt out about. The Honest Glass + Window Cleaner… ok I know it’s main ingredient is vinegar and I could probably make my own but this is just convenient for me. And there’s probably some other ingredient that makes it work just right. My husband doesn’t like the smell of the vinegar but the smell dissipates within about 15 minutes so no biggie. I use it on more than glass though. My favorite uses are on my stainless steel appliances and on my Silestone countertop (which is always dull looking until I clean it with the glass cleaner). Oh and of course my glass cooktop. Nothing makes it as shiny except for that toxic glasstop cleaner. Yuk.

Thank you Jessica for making such great products a part of our lives.

The Girl’s Not Gone

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve written! You would think that I dropped off of the face of my blog but I’m still here. Life happens right?

So how’s my green life been going? Well, after I started transitioning my home cleaning products several years ago, I started transitioning many other aspects of my life that needed to be green-ified. I’ve updated my personal care products (ie. shampoo) which I will post on later. I have revamped the food that I eat by purchasing most of my meats and vegetables from the organic section, we try to eat more whole foods (less processed), and I steer clear of fat-free or low-fat products. My brain needs fat (the good fats) to keep up with the world. For a few years straight I would bring my own cup in to Starbucks in order to avoid adding to the landfill. Although I will admit that the last six months I have been lazy about this. It all started after I had my son. Paper cups are so darn convenient. But I know bad they can be considering the amount of to-go coffee the nation drinks. My dad and stepmom bought us a pair of green cone composters. We used them three years in a row but I went to dig them up the other day to empty them for the next season and the screws are rusted out. So we’re going to have to drill them out. Ugh. We may change the way we compost. I recycle anything that I can. Our county has mandatory recycling and so they give you one of those big all in one recycle bins. It makes it very handy since we don’t have to sort but I’ve read and heard news casts about the cost of recycling and how difficult it is for the vendors to make any money when the cost of sorting is so high. Also, the cost of oil going down recently has made the recycled plastic less of a demand since companies can buy new plastic for the same cost if not cheaper.

I’ve become a little lazy on my quest for greendom. But I still have it in me and will continue on. I’ll start providing you some more product reviews, tips and tricks.

All Purpose Cleaner

Everyone needs a simple all-purpose cleaner.  And what an easy way to help the planet (and your family’s health) by switching to a natural cleaner! I’ve only used two different “green” spray cleaners and both of them honestly worked good. But let’s analyze the two brands ingredients. Updated July 2015: I’ve added a third brand, The Honest Company.
Clorox Green Works
All-Purpose Cleaner
The first one I tried was Clorox Green Works. Highly commercialized and most likely available in every supermarket.
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Ingredients:

From 2010 As of 2015
  • Water
  • Alkyl polyglucoside
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Dye
  • Fragrance
  • Glycerin
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Preservative
  • water
  • C10-16 Alkyl Polyglucoside
  • Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside
  • Ethanol
  • Fragrance
  • Liquitint Blue HP Dye
  • Liquitint Bright Yellow Dye
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Potassium Carbonate
  • Potassium Citrate
  • Sodium Gluconate
  • Sodium Hydroxide

Method

All-Purpose Cleaner
I decided I wanted one that was possibly more natural, so after finding that I loved the Method dish-tabs, I decided to try Methods All-Purpose Cleaner. I tried Grapefruit scent ‘cause it sounded fresh and yummy. One thing that’s great is their bottles 100% recycled plastic. Oh and an added bonus to the grapefruit scent… sugar ants hate it. I once used it to defend my kitchen against sugar ants. They had infested my dishwasher and were crawling all around my sink. I used this cleaner and a sprinkling of cinnamon and they disappeared.
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Ingredients:

From 2010 As of 2015
  • corn and coconut derived surfactants
  • biodegradable emulsifier
  • purified water
  • soda ash
  • fragrance oil blend
  • potassium hydrate
  • color
  • water
  • potassium citrate
  • sodium carbonate
  • sodium gluconate
  • laureth-7 (ethoxylated coconut oil)
  • citric acid
  • colorant
  • fragrance (partly essential oil + partly synthetic)
  • decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside
The Honest Company
Multi-Surface Cleaner
Ok… so Method used to be my favorite but I questioned their fragrance so after I signed up for automatic shipments with Honest, I’ve found that their multi-purpose cleaner works just as good if not better. I do think the Method cleaner was a little more sweet smelling but this cleaner works so great and I have the benefit of the automatic shipments.

Ingredients:
  • Purified Water
  • Sodium Coco Sulfate (Coconut-Based Cleanser)
  • Caprylyl/Myristyl Glucoside (Plant-Based Cleanser)
  • Phenoxyethanol (PH-Sensitive Preservative)
  • Citrus Grandis Oil (N.O.P. Certified Organic Grapefruit Oil)
  • PPG-4 Laureth/Myreth-5 (Coconut-Based Cleanser)
  • Alcohol (Fermented From Corn Sugars)
  • Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative)

Analyzing Automatic Dishwasher Detergents

One of the first things I was challenged with on my quest, was finding an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent that actually worked. There’s a reason why the common detergents work so well and make your wine glasses shine and sparkle… synthetic surfactants. Once upon a time these surfactants were derived naturally, but during World War II, it became hard to come by and so scientists discovered a way to create it from petroleum. Yes, Petroleum! Yuck! The surfactants job is to take the water around the dishes, wiggle underneath the grime and lift it off magically. Remember the commercial where they squirt the dish soap on the plate and the grease separates instantly? That’s the synthetic surfactant at work.

Another ingredient that makes the common dishwasher detergent work so well is the rinse aids, which prevent the water spots on your glasses and silverware. When you see the water spots, you think dirty right? That was one of my struggles when testing different green detergents. What’s the ingredient? More nasty special surfactants. What is so bad about these surfactants you ask? It starts with the process of creating these surfactants. When we draw them from the earth it creates a mass of pollution. When we use the detergent, chlorine compounds release toxic fumes when combined with the hot water. Then it is rinsed down the drain, contaminating our waters with it’s non-biodegradable nature.

Ok enough with the jibber jabber. You get the gist that the common detergents are bad right? On with my quest.

The first detergents I tried were from our local Fred Meyer store. Foolishly I started in the regular detergent aisle and purchased Palmolive’s Eco+. It does not contain Phosphates, which I forgot to mention is another ingredient that is harmful. The phosphates are not harmful to humans, but they are very harmful to our ecosystem. The phosphates make a nice home for algae which grows out of control and eats up all of the oxygen in the water that our fish need. The result… dying fish and other aquatic species. Oh! here I go rambling again. Ok so Palmolive’s Eco+ is eco-friendly in some aspects, but I couldn’t find the ingredients on the bottle or by searching the net. The bottle does have this Warning: “Contains chlorine bleach and silicate salts. Do not use for hand dishwashing. Do not mix with ammonia or other cleaning products as irritating fumes may result. Avoid contact with fabric.”. Yuck!! Why would I want to wash my dishes with this product then? And then wash it down my drain and into my nice septic system. DON’T BUY Palmolive’s Eco+.

After learning this and realizing it was the only option in the “regular” aisle, I wandered over to the Health Food Department at Fred Meyer. To my surprise there were several brands to choose from! But which one first. Hmmm. So I did a little research on the net and decided to try Biokleen’s Automatic Dish Gel. It’s phosphate and chlorine free (yay!), has natural fruit extracts, and safe for high-efficiency dish washers, which ours is. I was impressed with the scent and consistency of the soap. However it fell short in the rinse factor. Dishes were always laden with spots and streaks, making them seem dirty. Not sure if they actually were or not. So after referencing my Easy Green Living book, I learned that adding white distilled vinegar to the rinse-aid compartment. I did this and after about a week later (roughly two washes) it did seem to be a little better, but still very disappointing. I wouldn’t be against this product because it has all the great ingredients, but I won’t buy it again. On to the next detergent…

I think one of the most widely seen green products is Seventh Generation. It is also praised and so I figured I should try it next. It was very similar to the Biokleen product. Alas, I was disappointed again. Back to the drawing board.

I went to the internet yet again, but this time researched for hours and read review upon review… Method’s Smarty Dish. We have a winner!!! Wow does it work great! it took a couple loads for it to work it’s best, probably due to the residue left from other detergents. So, if you try this, give it a few runs before you make up your mind.  I love these dish tabs. No… they are not cheap and unfortunately you can’t find them in any store. trust me. Reviews will state that it’s available at Target stores. Method products are, but the Smarty Dish tabs haven’t been there for a couple years. What I did was order online, but in a stock pile since shipping was a little pricey. I think I ordered eight of them. Takes a pinch out of the pocket, but less trips to the store right?

Long story short… I will never use anything else but my Method Smarty Dish tabs. 🙂

UPDATE!!!!

I found another great dish tab!! I was out of Smarty Dish tabs and ran in to Fred Meyer and into the natural foods section. I had already tried several of the liquid stuff with no luck but I noticed something new on the shelf… Ecover dishwasher tablets. I tried one the other night and it worked great!! I checked out the ingredients on the drugstore website and they look pretty good. I might switch to these. I’ll have to do a comparison of the ingredients.

Ingredients from 2009: Oxygen chlorine free bleach, plant based non-ionic tensio-active surfactants, enzymes (guaranteed non gmo), salts, silicate, citrate, polypeptides, plant based bleach activator, plant based fragrance.

Ingredients as of 2015: Sodium citrate, sodium carbonate, sodium carbonate peroxide, disodium disilicate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium polyaspartate, TAED, sorbitol, sorbitan sesquicaprylate, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, glycerin, subtilisin, fragrance, amylase, sodium gluconate.

Ecover

UPDATE #2 !!!!

Ok so I said I would never use anything but Smarty Dish, then I discovered the Ecover, well now that I’ve been enrolled in The Honest Company’s automatic shipment program I’ve come to love their dishwasher pods. They seem to leave my dishes free of spots and the ingredients look a little extensive but it all makes sense I guess.

Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate (Natural Soda Ash to Soften Water), Sodium Citrate (Citrus-Derived Cleaner), Sodium Metasilicate (Mineral-Based Cleanser and Brightener), Sodium Carbonate Peroxide (Solid Form of Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean), Sodium Sulfate (Mineral-Based Softener), Silica (Anti-Caking and Polishing Mineral), C9-11 Pareth-3 (Bio-Derived Cleanser), Sodium Polyaspartate (Biodegradable Water Softener), Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate (Biodegradable Water Softener), Alpha Amylase (Soil-Removing Enzyme), Alpha Protease (Soil-Removing Enzyme), Polyvinyl Alcohol (Biodegradable, Water-Soluble Film)

Going Green

After we built our new house, I was perusing through the home and garden section at Barnes & Noble and stumbled on a great book. Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choice for You and Your Home, by Renee Loux. It turned out to be a wonderful start at my new green life. I have always been a model recycling citizen and knew that there was so many more green things I could be doing to help out Mother Earth, but my lazy bone and procrastination have always been the little devil on my shoulder. This book opened my eyes and made me want to start changing my ways right away. In the next few Blogs I’ll tell you all about the details of my quest to find good products and the proper way of doing things green.

EasyGreenLivingBook