Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So What Skincare and Makeup Is Safe To Use?

Still devastated to get rid of my makeup - I'm a real makeup junkie - I love it as a creative, it's just fun to use and I've really refined it over the years to exactly what I love.  However on writing to one of my all time fav brands Bobbi Brown and getting no responses and finding nothing online I can only assume that they are no divulging their ingredients for a reason.  So I can only assume that they are full of the same toxic chemicals that everything else is. Gutted.

Being accepted for a new job that requires professional makeup I had to really get to it and research safe alternatives that are going to work for me in this new job.  As far as skincare is concerned I'm still using cold pressed extra virgin organic coconut oil for my skin - around my eyes etc. It is fantastic. I love the glow of my skin after and in saying that it's not an oily glow,  my skin looks really healthy.

I was surprised how many options there are out there for safe non toxic makeup.  I will put some links below for you with one warning - you STILL need to check the ingredients and don't just assume they are all safe.  I discovered recently that Bare Escentuals/Minerals that I thought was safe actually has bismuth in it which is questionable and you can actually get mineral products in other brands that don't include that.

An ideal scenario is that you will find products also packaged in something other than plastic ie glass or stainless steel, bamboo or wood or something like that.   Though that isn't always available so that is your choice.  My hope would be that the plastic container they provide it in is at least BPA free.  If you're not sure, probably best to ask or to avoid.  I noticed Suncoat do their lipsticks in bamboo containers which is cool. 

You will notice all of these listed above will give you a complete ingredient listing for every product which is fantastic.  If you're in doubt google any things that you don't know what they are. That's what I did and you start to get a good idea of what's good etc as you're searching for the right product.

I will review the products I purchase as I try them in aims of finding the perfect collection once more but this time with makeup that is non toxic to me and my family.  One less thing to have to worry about.

So far I have purchased from Gabriel Cosmetics:  Lipstick and Blush and really happy with both.  Very nice professional products.  They do have plastic packaging as I thought of that after purchasing them.  I probably should ask them about that.

I have purchased a Dr Hauschka volume mascara which I'm still waiting for it to arrive in the mail.  I actually want to try the Living Nature thickening one also as I have seen good reviews online about that one too. I really like the thick black look in mascara so am more picky because of that. 

I got a sample of nvey makeups corrector - which seems to be ok.  I also purchased a Terra Firma Eye Gel as my all time favourite product before was Bobbi Brown's Long Wear Gel Eyeliner and I was desperately trying to find something to substitute it with.  I think this is the product.  It doesn't last as long as Bobbi's but I can put a few coats on and it goes on quite black.  This product is completely non toxic so no worries about putting that on my eyes at all. So far, happy!

I have some Bare Escentuals foundation and warmth left which I am using just for now till I have money to get better. Bare Escentuals is certainly better than the standard foundations out there but ideally I don't want to use that either.  I will only use it on the days I work and also I have some bare escentuals eyeshadows I use for now too but will replace.

I'm excited that there are so many good options out there and I can only see that industry as getting bigger and bigger as more women make the shift from toxic to non toxic in their makeup.

Some of you may think brands like Origins are safe - but sadly even though they cut out the parabens they have other nasty stuff in their products. I had some, read the ingredients list and had to part with it.  I didn't expect it to come from them. But then remember that they are owned by Estee Lauder who also own my fav Bobbi Brown and others.  Another brand Burts Bees - some of their products are ok - you just have to read the ingredients list and get familiar with stuff that is safe or not.  Remember to watch out for the word fragrance too - as that means pthalates which are really dangerous.  Their packaging is all plastic too which isn't ideal.

Hope that helps! Love to know if any of you have any experience with any of the brands I've mentioned for natural non toxic or any other brands.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Next Project: Eating Chemical Free

So now onto the pantry with this.  I've been reading in yet more books lately about the dangers of GM foods on the human body so have decided I am going to try to eliminate them completely from my diet.  The easiest way to do that is to buy local from farmers that don't use pesticides/herbicides/fungicides etc and to buy food that has the USDA Certified Organic symbol on it as that also tells you it is not GM sourced.

I've subscribed recently to Dr Mercola's emails and gaining really good information on all this.  Here is a link to further information on GM foods and how to avoid them.

These are my goals for the next year:

*  Not to eat any GM food at all ie especially anything corn based or soy based as they are the biggest  GM industries affected

* To only drink filtered tap water and not bottled water  (water or anything in plastic leaches the chemicals from the plastic into the water and then into your body and they build up in body and cause sicknesses. Also bottled water have been proven to be just tap water most of the time.  Also unfiltered tap water has pesticides etc  in it so definitely needs filtering)

* To not eat anything out of a can unless it is enamel lined (cans are lined with BPA which is really serious)

* To not eat any fish - I don't eat much anyway but apparently the mercury levels in all fish is now very high along with other pollutants, thanks to all the stuff in the environment

*  To avoid pesticides/herbicides/fungicides (build up in your blood and cause diseases etc_

* To avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup and especially fructose (it gets metabolised by your liver the same way alcohol does - puts on weight quickly and also causes same diseases of liver alcohol does)

* To try to avoid any food in plastic as much as possible.  So I'll try to buy everything in glass or fresh - I realise this is near impossible in today's world but I will try as much as I can all the same.  (The plastics leach into the food)

* To ensure all dairy, eggs, meats are all from grass fed, non gm, no hormones or antiobiotic animals

* To avoid all artificial sweeteners in anything

* Avoid and watch out for MSG in foods or brominated flour

It sounds crazy that it's come to this, to have to avoid so much to stay healthy but after reading all the research and proven links with all this stuff - it is enough to challenge me to do this.  Quality of life is more important than missing out on some processed or preprepared food etc.  Let's see how it goes.

I've discovered a local fast food type place called Chipotle are committed to green and only use local produce and grass fed meat  so that will be my one place that I am safe to go to.  Also a place in town called The Gastro Pub serves local produce and meats in their meals - so I have two places if we want to eat out!

I'm really getting into coconut too after reading the book 'The Coconut Oil Miracle' by Bruce Fyfe and right now am trying out coconut rice.  Coconut oil is fantastic and the only safe oil to cook with but I won't go into all that now.  We have got rid of all oils in the house now except for this and olive oil and it's working out just fine. The coconut oil doesn't put a flavour in your food. Just make sure you get cold pressed extra virgin organic.

This is my plan, it means I have less fast access to food but I'm okay with it.  I'm committed to getting back to whatever it takes to ensure a healthy life as much as possible.  It's amazing what we really don't need too.

Would love to know if anyone else is doing this also out there!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Books Reviewed On This Topic

As you know I have been reading TONS of books on this whole topic.  I just finished another one today and blogged a review on it.  I often pull out key things that stood out to me in those reviews that may be of interest to you and to avoid too much repetition.

I recommend that you check out these reviews and read some of these books for yourself as they really are full of amazing information!

My Book Review Blog is here

Thanks again for walking this journey with me!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Just wanted to write an update on how things are going as we de-chemicalize our home!

Things I have done to date:

* Removed all toxic cleaning products. Am using all natural things - mostly vinegar, baking soda and peroxide.

* Removed all Triclosan.  We now use natural organic soap in the bathroom and a mix of castile soap and water in the kitchen.  )Triclosan takes a couple of weeks to fully get out of the body).  I want to make up that antibacterial at some stage but for now we have an alcohol based one which is safe so will use that.

* Removed all Teflon.  This meant I had to get rid of my Oneida saute pan we use every day, two other cheapo coated frypans, muffin tin, baking trays.  I found a really nice stainless steel saute pan with a lid, the same size for $19 at Walmart which I was so happy about to replace that.  I have yet to find replacements for the muffin tin and baking trays for cookies.  Not sure how easy it will be to find them in stainless steel but I will find them!

I've removed all the plastic chopping boards and replaced it with one bamboo board for vegetables and fruit and one bamboo board for meat.  This seems to be working really well so far.  I went through my utensils and have got rid of nearly all the plastics there.  The only ones left are a couple are stainless steel with plastic handles (well they maybe rubber - not sure) and the spatulas.  I'm not sure what to do about spatulas.  I have a silicone one and the another one.  I think I will ultimately try to find a wooden handled one with a safe rubber top perhaps?  I have mixed feelings on silicone to be honest.  I got a set of bamboo utensils from Bed Bath and Beyond which was really cheap and that has been great so far.

All our kitchen dishes etc are all either glass, ceramic or stainless steel so that is really good!  I need to find a good stainless steel dish rack. I was looking online last night and many of them have a plastic drain rack! So I'll keep looking to find the right one.

I still also need to get rid of the plastic magnetic clips and try to find stainless steel ones.  I'm also now trying to buy food only in glass or in ceramic coated cans only to avoid the BPAs in the plastic. I read the other day that canned tomatoes are the worst because the acidity causes the BPA to leach even more? Or something like that.  Ultimately I want to bottle my own.

We still have a big plastic rubbish bin too which I need to replace with probably stainless steel. I'm guessing wicker probably isn't that hygenic?  The stainless steel ones are expensive though so will have to wait for that one.

Today I returned some things and was able to get a stainless steel large colander. I'm excited about this as this will replace the cheap plastic one we have been using to rinse the fruit etc and hold the fruit in the fridge with.

We already have a water filter on the kitchen tap that is a carbon one so that works well.

Our Dining Table chairs are upholstered and so right now we are sitting on them with a towel over them. I know this isn't great because the problem is they leach out the flame retardant into the dust/air and we breathe it in.  For now we'll have to deal with that and I'm trying to keep the house as dust free as possible.

We are using natural organic soap samples we got from a fair last year right now. We know these are pure and they are really good.  We have ditched all shampoos, conditioners, lotions, moisturisers - EVERYTHING.  Even all my makeup :-(  That was a REALLY hard decision to make as I love my makeup and really had it down to some fantastic favourites after years of trying different stuff. Still, I checked out the ingredients and they aren't safe so they can't stay around here. I'm not risking anything.  We got a pure shampoo from a local health store which I checked the ingredients first and there is nothing bad in it. I was shocked when looking as even in the health store many of the shampoos still had bad stuff in!!!  It's working so far. We had tried another one but it wasn't great - it was a sample size so fortunately didn't last too long!  I find my hair gets greasier now I'm detoxing and maybe it's just part of the process? I'm not sure. But I do find that rinsing my hair in apple cidar vinegar is REALLY good! It makes my hair really nice afterwards.

I did try coconut oil on my hair but didn't do the right thing with it on researching afterwards. I shampooed my hair with it.  It made my hair really greasy.  However I found out later that it's best used as a treatment on your hair and it needs to be warmed.  So I will probably do that again.  Again I find the apple cider vinegar really cuts out the grease when getting it out again.

On the topic of Coconut Oil, I am now using this as my facial moisturiser and it's great!  I use it day and night.  I've always had combination skin and would have thought coconut oil would cause a breakout and was expecting it to be honest, but not at all! My skin looks great! Very healthy!  I'll let you know more after I've been using it longer - I think it's been around a week so far!

I read the other day that toilet paper has BPA in it, along with paper towels and tissues!  It's scary how much we really do marinate in BPAs all day!  Apparently the recycled papers are no better - in fact are probably worse because newspaper ink has BPA in it and newspapers are recycled with the other papers to make the recycled paper.  So, here is my proposition:  I am looking into trying cloth wipes, I know it sounds gross however on thinking about it, it's no different that using cloth wipes for diapering - which I plan to use - and there are methods for it not to be too gross.  I researched it online and you would be surprised how many people are actually doing this now so I am definitely not alone.  Apparently you get lots of cloths (try to get organic cotton or unbleached cotton, otherwise wash a lot before use to get the chemicals out of the fabric first) and have a container of cloths by the toilet.  Then you have a pot/bin with a lid on the other side.  I read lots of different ways to do this so this isn't the only way but I'll probably put baking soda and maybe water in the bottom and will wash every second day.  I have yet to test this though so we'll see how it goes.  I'm just waiting for the organic wipes I got online really cheap to arrive so I can start this.  We will always have toilet paper however for guests and I'm not sure if my husband is up to doing this at this stage.  Still as far as I'm concerned the less BPAs I'm in contact with right now the better for our child.

Our shower curtain is already a fabric safe one - so I'm glad about that. PVC ones are the worst - basically if you can smell it - get rid of it!

With makeup, fortunately I have some Bare Minerals makeup - not much left though. I'm researching that at the moment as I really need a mascara and eyeliner and lip gloss that are non toxic, they are my daily essentials!  I'm probably not going to continue using Bare Minerals only because they are not completely safe, but while I search I have that as a back up if I need makeup.  I actually have just been going without as I'm home most of the time right now anyway.  There are options out there and as soon as I get a job I'll get it so I have makeup to wear to work.

I do eventually want to get a carbon filter for the shower/bath water also particularly to get out any of the herbicide atrazine.

I took all the stash of Laundry Detergents back to where I got them from today actually.  I am currently using a brand called Ecos that I found at Sams Club recently.  It has nothing bad in it and is scented only with Lavender Essential Oil. It's doing a good job cleaning the clothes.  I still have my soap nuts to try also.

I found dryer sheets stashed away and have got rid of them.  Now I know the smell is bad (Pthalates which disrupt hormones) it has changed everything for me as I used to LOVE all those laundry smells.

I have yet to get rid of the plastic buckets, brush and shovel and also I have this washing hamper sorter that I love and was sad to realise it's plastic - in fact I think it's the worst plastic of all - PVC as well.  I've been looking at options and they are all really expensive so I don't know what I'll do about that yet.

I also have to replace all the plastic coated dryer frames, plastic coathangers and hooks too :-(  Hoping I can find substitutes that aren't too expensive.

I have replaced plastic containers with some baskets I found - so my onions now have a wicker basket which actually looks really nice!

I also went through all our food.  I pulled out the canned tomatoes and are giving them away. I have since found the enamel lined cans of tomato which will do for now. It is expensive to buy them that way though so I think I'll need to learn to bottle sooner rather than later!

I found an organic tomato ketchup in a glass bottle at the local health store so we have that now.  I went through all our supplies and got rid of foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup (following watching a lecture on youtube by the University Of California about how bad it is - same effect on your body as alcohol because your body converts HFCS into ethanol).  I also found products with MSG (monosodium glutamate) in! I was horrified as this is banned in NZ and Australia so didn't realise to even look for that here, but it is in lots of food! A spinach dip we had even had it in!

I was disappointed to find our bottle of Lea and Perrins had HFCS in, as did our Aunt Jemima's maple syrup!  So it's cleared now.  We have some canned food I'll get rid of then won't replace with cans anyway once done.

I was pleased to find out that IKEA furniture is fairly green and eco friendly. We have IKEA furniture in our room so we don't have to worry too much about that fortunately. The big issue is our bed, knowing it has flame retardants and probably stain protection and who knows what else.  I have a washed cotton mattress protector on it (washed to remove formeldahyde in new products) and our sheets are washed so many times now I'm sure they are safe.  Our pillows and comforter are still questionable however.  Mine probably not so bad as it's from IKEA but my husband has synthetic ones.

I have found a company that do safe non toxic bedding so will buy from them as soon as we have the money.  They are called Cozy Pure.  I like the idea of their pillow the La Noodle and the Kapok so I will let you know when I get those to review them for you.

I also discovered those packets of scented things in our drawers - that used to smell so amazing to me. I have taken them out and will give them away.  Also I have removed all the candles in our house. Apparently the only safe candles are soy candles or beeswax candles.

I will eventually get a new rubbish bin for our bedroom but for now we have an IKEA one which is made of safe plastic.

I also moved our alarm clock to a dresser on the other side of the room. I have heard many times that having devices like that by your bed at night isn't good as it stimulates your mind stopping you getting into that really deep restful sleep.

We have a sofa that is probably some kind of pvc or vinyl which also has flame retardants and also probably stain protectant - so it is leaching all sorts of chemicals into our environment. I'm not sure what to do about that right now to be honest.  Well, we need to sell it and get something organic as soon as we can but it's a big step because we bought this together because we really love it and I don't know how my husband will deal with this either.

My mother in law bought us a wooden rocking chair recently so I sit on that most of the time now. I cover it with a blanket as I'm not sure what the paint is on it yet.  Sometimes I sit on the couch but I sit on a blanket.

Really the living room is full of stuff as the TV is plastic too and leaches BPAs and flame retardants too. I'm just trying to keep it dust free as thats where all this goes.  Maybe when we move in the near future we can deal with this once and for all. I don't think we can ever do anything about the tv though, well there are safer ones so maybe one day we can buy one.

Our apartment is just a one bedroom so because we have been collecting baby stuff etc, it is getting really cramped in here and I have a lot of tubs of stuff stacked by a wall in the living room. This isn't good either as those plastic tubs leach BPAs into the air also.  We have no where else to put them right now and since this is hopefully a temporary living arrangement that will change in the next few months, we will deal with it.

I'm hoping to remember to take my reusable bags in whenever we shop now... hmmm not sure how that will go but I really want to get in the habit. So far I always forget.  My husband and I both drink from stainless steel water bottles too. I got him another one today from TJMaxx really cheap as he needs more than one.

So there we go!  I'm  learning quickly if something is scented, it is bad most of the time. I'm learning to avoid plastic and to watch out for HFCS.  We're eating more coconut in our diet, we use coconut oil (the healthiest oil there is and the only one you should ever cook with) and I'm looking into coconut flour.  I'm also looking into getting glucose instead of sugar as the body metabolises that better since it's more naturally occuring.  Speaking of sugar my husband found 'Cactus Honey Powder' today in an Asian market and it's pure honey from cactus! Some of them are agave apparently but this one is honey. We are delighted as it tastes delicious too.

That's my update! Thanks for reading this! It's a process but I know it's going to be worth it in the end.
Let me know how you're doing with your efforts too! Love learning more on this topic! I still have a pile of books to read too!