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Archives for March 2017

Is Your Makeup Putting Your Health At Risk?

Do you know what’s in your makeup? Do you even know if your makeup is safe to be using? You may be surprised what’s hiding in some makeup.

safer makeup, natural makeup, organic makeup, safer cosmetics

When we buy something we assume it’s safe. We have regulations and laws to help protect us, right? Sadly, in the case of cosmetics we may not be as protected as we think.


EWG’s site Skin Deep shares some myths about cosmetic safety, including this kind of frightening one-

Myth – If it’s for sale at a supermarket, drugstore or department store cosmetics counter, it must be safe.

Fact –  The Food and Drug Administration has no authority to require companies to test cosmetics products for safety. The agency does not review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market. FDA conducts pre-market reviews only of certain cosmetics color additives and active ingredients that are classified as over-the-counter drugs (FDA 2005, 2010). – Myths on Cosmetic Safety

If they aren’t required to be tested for safety, how do we know if they are safe? Well the honest answer is, we don’t know they are. There are many possibly harmful ingredients in the products we use everyday and they could be putting our health at risk. Here are just some of the chemicals commonly found in cosmetics.

Parabens

Parabens are used widely as a preservative. They are used because they have bactericidal and fungicidal properties. You can find parabens in everything from shampoo to toothpaste. Parabens mimic estrogen and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Some commonly used parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Phthalates

Phthalates are commonly used to soften vinyl plastics. You know that smell your new vinyl shower curtain gives off? That’s phthalates. They are a common ingredient in fragrances used in cosmetics and household products. Like parabens, phthalates are thought to disrupt the hormonal system. Unlike parabens, you aren’t likely to see phthalates listed in the ingredients. To help avoid phthalates, skip products that list fragrance in the ingredients.

1,4-dioxane

1,4-dioxane is a known animal carcinogen and probable human carcinogen. It’s found in shampoos, soaps, bubble bath, and more. You won’t find 1,4-dioxane on any label. Avoid products that contain ingredients like sodium myreth sulfate, PEG chemicals that include the clauses “xynol,” “ceteareth” and “oleth.”

Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide is commonly found in fragrances and is in many popular shampoos. It is a known human carcinogen. As with phthalates, avoid products that list fragrance in the ingredients.

Lead

You most likely remember the news stories about lead in our lipsticks. Well it can also be found in sunscreen, foundation, nail polish, and even whitening toothpaste! Lead is a neurotoxin which can cause developmental problems as well as miscarriages and reduced fertility. Since lead and other heavy metals are in many products and aren’t listed in the ingredients, it’s hard to know what’s safe.

Safer Cosmetic Brands

EWG’s Skin Deep database is a great place to check to see if products you are using are safe. There are also some more natural brands out there committed to using better ingredients.

Making the switch to safer cosmetics is a great way to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. There are many great safe brands out there making wonderful products you can feel good using.

5 Tips for Green Travel

Looking to reduce your impact when traveling? There are some easy ways to go green while travel!

green travel, traveling eco-friendly

You might be wondering what the heck does “travel green’’ mean anyways!? Being green at home makes sense but how do you take those habits with you when you go on a vacation, and why is it important?


If you are familiar with sustainable living, then you are already aware of what a carbon footprint is. It won’t come as a surprise to you if I tell you transportation is one of the biggest contributors to increasing our carbon footprint, especially airplane travel. This means every time we decide to take a trip that requires us to jump on a plane, we are emitting some crazy amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

How do we change this? How can you make your trip ‘greener’ per say? The first step of any vacation is planning the trip itself. How you plan your trip makes a huge impact to how much more eco-friendly your next vacation will be. Below I will list for you the Top 5 actions you can do to make your trip greener!

Unplug your devices

As I mentioned prior, transportation is a huge part of your footprint. However, energy use is another big one. How you use energy can make a difference in how big your footprint will be. Doing the simple action of unplugging your devices when not in use will make a difference. Just because you turned off your device or appliance, doesn’t mean it still isn’t using energy. When it is completely unplugged no energy is being used. When in your hotel room, unplug your hair dryers, lamps and fridge (if you don’t need it on).

Stop using bottled water

Waste is another big component to your carbon footprint. Not only is bottled water a huge contributor to waste, not only in landfills but in our oceans. Another component that people may not realize about bottle water, is the plastic itself. Obtaining plastic uses up a massive amount of resources, and sometimes creates scenario like oil spills damaging our environment. All of this can be mitigated if you stop using bottled water. Instead use a reusable water bottle

Stop using straws

Straws are not a necessity when travelling or at home. The plastic used in straws contribute to a lot of the waste found in our oceans. The problem with plastic is it doesn’t break down, and straws are something that can easily be used frequently. If straws are something you can’t do without, try using the reusable straws or switching to the paper straws.

Buy items with less packaging

We all need to purchase things, whether it is a new pair of shoes, or our groceries or a new set of headphones. What we all can do is be more mindful of how much packaging each of these items come in. Not everything needs to be wrapped up in copious amounts of plastic or cardboard. Try to find things that has less packaging, and this will reduce your waste and therefore your footprint as well.

Start looking at the labels of where things are made

Remember how I mentioned transportation is a big part of our footprint? Well the goods we buy also need a way to get to us. This means if you live in North America, but frequently buy clothes made in Asia, you are going to have a larger footprint. Since your clothes are being shipped halfway across the world. How can this be avoided? Start looking at the label, see where things are made and produced. Make informed decisions before your purchase and you can choose to buy things that are more local or produced closer to home.

This is just a tip of the iceberg of the actions you can take while you travel. I have put together a packing list that will make your trips more sustainable. Head over to Green Travelling 101 and grab your free eco-friendly packing list.

Organic Food on a Budget

Eating organic food doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. These are great tips for eating healthy food on a budget. 

Eating organic food doesn't have to cost a lot of money. These are great tips for eating healthy food on a budget.

Eating organic food is better for us and the planet. Organic food is grown without harmful pesticides and usually is better for the environment. Some studies have shown some organic food to have higher nutritional value as well.

Cost is often what stands in people’s way when they want to eat more organic food. While organic food doesn’t always cost more it often does. While the increased cost may be worth it not everyone is in a place where they can add the added cost to their budget.

As organic food has become more popular the cost is down and there are more ways to save. Now more people can afford to add organic food into their budget.

How to Eat Organic Food on a Budget

  • Eat at home more often. This will help you save overall as eating out can be very expensive. This is also better for your health.
  • Buy grains in bulk. Stores like Native Roots Market, Whole Foods, and Sprouts have a great selection of bulk foods.
  • Eat less meat. Meat can be very expensive and most of us eat too much of it. You don’t have to go vegetarian just try adding more meatless meals to your diet. One great way to do this is, Meatless Monday.
  • Check out the Dirty Dozen to find what produce is most important to buy organically.
  • Eat seasonally. Produce is cheaper when it’s in season so learn to eat in season produce. Frozen fruits and veggies are a good choice when the food is out of season in your area.
  • Be careful not to waste food. American’s waste around 27 percent of the food available for consumption. Making sure you aren’t throwing away food will help you save. Meal planning is one way you can reduce waste.
  • Grow your own food. You don’t have to have farm land to grow your own food. Even a few pots with some favorite produce can help you save.
  • Check out local CSA’s, farmer’s markets and co-ops. You can often get better prices by going straight to the source.
  • Buy less packaged food. Packaged food almost always costs more than making it yourself. This also helps cut down on waste.
  • Use coupons. There are a fair number of coupons out there for organic food. Check out Saving with Organic Coupons for more.
  • Use apps to save money. There are some great apps that you can submit your receipt to and earn cash back. It’s a great way to save a little extra money.
  • Use online services like Thrive Market and Amazon Prime Pantry to find good deals on organic food.

Following these tips can help you buy more organic food without breaking your budget. Do you have any tips to share on saving on organic food? If so please share them in the comments below.