Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Natural Baby Products for Mother & Baby that Contain Phenoxyethanol

In our last post we discussed the dangers of phenoxyethanol and the news that the FDA warned nursing mothers from a product containing phenoxyethanol because it can cause vomiting, dermatitis and it might just shut down the nervous system.

According to ingredients listings it's a soil associated approved preservative....we don't really know what to say to that, other than "You Broke My Heart Soil Association! You....Broke....My...Heaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaart!".

Ahem, definitely not something that you'd expect to find in products for anyone let alone Mother and Baby products. So we hit the ingredients lists of all of the "natural mother and baby products" at one of our favourite and most trusted online natural apothecaries; Lovelula, and we have listed any offenders here.

The thing about natural apothecaries is that new ingredients are being used all of the time, and should the ingredients carry an "approved" stamp from a trusted body then stores and consumers are more likely to trust it's safety. Unfortunately, in some cases, the ingredient isn't worthy of the approval.

Thankfully, the products in the new mum section were phenoxyethanol free but quite a few baby products contain it. To take a little bit of the pressure off busy parents or parents to be shopping for baby friendly baby products, here are the products to try and avoid:

Baby Wipes
Simply Gentle 100% Cotton Baby Wipes
Yup, as if nappy change time didn't have enough perks, the makers of these baby wipes thought they'd throw a neurotoxin in. What the hell, right?

Earth friendly baby organic skincare baby wipes
Earth Friendly? Doubtful. Baby friendly? Hell no. One Reviewer says they're great for removing make-up. Research Says: Especially if you want a rash.

Beaming Baby Organic Baby Wipes
According to one reviewer, "the smell is just gorgeous, they have a lovely texture" and  she is "thrilled with them". I know what you're thinking, we were thinking it too. . .is it her or is it the neurotoxin speaking? &, just in case you were wondering, their Beaming Beauty Organic Face Wipes have it in too

Bubble bath
Earth friendly Baby Organic Lavender Bubble Bath
According to the product description, a little bit goes a long way. . . at least they're being honest; that's right people, it goes TOO FAR!

Baby Cream
Bamford Baby Cream
I'm not even going to comment on this one.

Green People 3-in-1 No Scent Baby Lotion
In the ingredients section phenoxyethanol is listed as a "preservative". . . .it probably depends on what you're preserving

Jason Earth's Best Baby Shampoo
2 commas would have made that shampoo sound like a superbaby product line. Maybe next time, Jason, maybe next time.

Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream; the natural moisturiser that makes you go ".....erm???"

Rating: ...erm???, available from Lovelula (£33 inc p&p), Feelunique (£32.99 inc p&p), Naturisimo (£32.99 inc p&p)

Winner of a multitude of awards, this creaming promises a lot (it promises a lot more if you use it inconjunction with their divine face oil too),  according to the product blurb this cream is "clinically proven to stimulate collagen production in human fibroblast skin cells by up to 92%".

Sounds tasty, just like the ingredients:
  • Shea Butter  - Recently mentioned in our lazy winter skin care post, shea butter is a staple natural beauty darling.  Packed full of Essential Fatty Acids, vitamins A & E, and antioxidants, shea butter can be used all over and studies have shown that it anti-inflammatory and can help to prevent skin damage from UV radiation. 
Because of it's beauty status Shea Butter can be found in hundreds of natural  products. Here are a few of our favourites: Intelligent Nutrients lipcare & lipgloss, the miraculous Akuaba Belly Butter, African Liquid Soap, Fushi Organic Eczmaid Chickweed and Chamomile Ointment, Cioccolotina Argan & Cocoa butter Liquid Shampoo Dr Alkaitis Organic Eye Cream
  • Vegetable Squalane - We've blogged about Olive Squalene before and we loved it, vegetable squalane is similar. As one of the main components of sebum, the skin loves squalane, it helps to plump the skin up, protect against UV rays and smoothe wrinkles out over short periods of time. It's another product that is multipurpose and is used in lots of products. 
  •  Avocado Oil - Packed full of EFA's, lecithin, amino acids, Vitamins A, B6 & E, copper, magnesium and iron, avocado oil is a veritable gourmet meal for the skin.
  • Manuka Honey - Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, manuka honey is great for all skin types, providing nourishment and TLC to the body. However, the ingredients and the antipodes site don't specify whether the honey has a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) which is basically a way of saying that the honey is "active" kind of like the difference between Live Yogurt and Yogurt.
  •  Calendula Oil - Anti-inflammatory, astringent and full of tannins, calendula has been used to treat skin problems for years and it's amazing! Also Featured in Kimia Glow
  • Coconut Oil - naturally moisturising, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial, Coconut oil imparts a mild SPF and acts as a great skin and hair conditioner.
  • Gluconolactone - is an antioxidant that can chelate metals and might actually help to scavenge free radicals, potentially protecting and repairing sun damaged skin.(ref).
  • Calcium gluconate - traditionally applied topically to burns victims and studies have shown that people with higher calcium intake experience less premature aging (but that may also have to do with the fact that they're eating a well balanced diet).
  • Vinenza Grape Grapeseed Extract - all we can find is that this is a "quintessential antioxidant from New Zealand's sauvignon blanc grape seeds which revitalises your skin" which we're pretty sure is a quality posessed by grapeseed's in general.

Sounds lovely and with prices starting @ £33 for a 60ml pot we've got to admit that we were hoping for some serious beauty kudos. The kind of product you use sparingly before bed and wake up looking like this:

Ok, maybe not looking like this but definitely feeling swishy, glowy and a little diva-esque. But it didn't, we tested it on friends and family members with no extra oomph from the product.
Once more we are the only bloggers not feeling this cream. . .it did nothing, we took 2 and a half months to test the product across a range of testers 17 - 62 and no-one had anything nice to say, no morning dewy skin, no glow, no love. Just "I suppose it moisturised" and to us that's just not good enough.

In fact on closer inspection of the ingredients you could just buy fushi organic eczmaid chickweed and chamomile ointment, add in a dash of honey and squalene and have yourself a very similar product for less money and without any preservatives.

Now we're on the subject let's talk about some of the less desirable ingredients:

Ceteareths and Ceteareth-20 (aka "it all depends on who you ask"):
 The EWG classify this as a toxic allergen that can increase skin absorption of other toxic nasties, and they recommend that consumers steer clear of any product that has any ingredients with "ceteareth" in the name as they claim that it can increase carcinogens in the given product. This is because  ceteareths may contain 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide which have both been linked to cancer. However the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel say that 1,4-dioxane can be controlled for using proper purification methods to remove it prior to blending into cosmetics.

The EWG and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel say that cosmetic products containing ceteareth-20 claiming that the ingredient is not safe to use on injured or damaged skin. When used on burn victims cetearths may result in kidney damage.
Ultimately the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel say that so long as ceterateths are properly used then they are safe to use. Ultimately, it's up to the consumer. Most brands are unlikely to improperly use any ceteareths, if you'd rather not take the risk then it might be best to avoid. But that is entirely up to you

Iodopropynyl butylcarbarmate - commonly used in skincare, lip and oral hygiene products it has been deemed as safe to use. However a 2006 study found that Iodoproynyl Butylcarbamate can be a toxicant, cause contact dermatitis and have immune effects in some people.

Last but not least there is phenoxyethanol - A glycol ether and the new alternative to parabens - phenoxyethanol is used across the board from paint to jet fuel to cosmetics (anti-bacterial) to perfume (stabiliser). Oh yeah, lest we forget to mention the FDA warned nursing mothers from a product containing phenoxyethanol because it can cause vomiting, dermatitis and it might just shut down the nervous system.
This is getting to be a pretty long review so I'll give you a run down of research findings:
  1.  A bunch of  animal studies demonstrate that it is toxic and an irritant at moderate and low concentrations.
  2.  The Environmental Protection Agency data sheets show chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects in testing as well as testicular atrophy (break down) and interference with reproductive organs in mice.
  3. The EU has classified it as an irritant and Japan have a concentration limit for it's use in cosmetic products
  4. Phenoxyethanol has been shown to have neurotoxin potential , now that is something you never want to see on your report card.
  5. Phenoxyethanol is in the top 10 most frequent allergens in allergic contact dermatitis, with the author's noting, "Even after healing of the skin lesions of allergic contact dermatitis, it must be considered that sensitization persists indefinitely. Therefore, patients have to be informed exactly about their relevant contact allergens to ensure complete avoidance. To do so, physicians need a detailed knowledge of the most common contact allergens which are discussed in this paper.". So basically,  once you've developed contact dermatitis it is unlikely to ever go away completely. Fabulous...to back their findings up, another study found that phenoxyethanol is a contact allergen.

    And in the wise words of the author over at truth in aging:
    "Phenoxyethanol breaks down to phenol and acetaldehyde, acetaldehyde converts to acetate. Phenol can disable the immune system's primary response mechanism. Given that, it is at best ironic, that phenoxyethanol is used as an anti-bacterial in vaccines. Acetaldehyde occurs during the breakdown of ethanol, (alchohol and 2-phenoxyETHANOL), it is a suspected carcinogen. Inhalation studies have shown irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. I feel that given the wealth of evidence, I'd rather give it a miss even at concentrations of 1% or lower. That, however, is easier said than done. Phenoxyethanol is becoming ubiquitous and it is hard to avoid."
Don't let these findings overwhelm you, there are a lot of products that don't have phenoxyethanol. Antipodes should know better and the fact they've won so many awards is a bit of a joke... Now we know about how bad the ingredients are we feel terrible about testing it on our friends and families not to mention ourselves.

Ingredients: Water, Shea butter, Squalane, Avocado oil, Manuka honey, Macadamia oil, Calendula oil, fractionated coconut oil, Glyceryl stearate, Ceteareth-20, Ceteareth-12, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl palmitate, Vitamin E, Lecithin, Grapefruit seed extract, Sandalwood oil, Patchouli oil, Ylang ylang oil, Iodopropynyl butylcarbarmate, Phenoxyethanol.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Lovelula Spring Sale

With brands like Kae, Ila, Nvey Eco, Jurlique, Neal's Yard & Elysambre it's worth heading over to Lovelula to check out the spoils! Open Now Until Sunday the 29th April.


Earth Day

Image borrowed from Bird on a Cake, click on the link to see how the lovely Robin created these cakes!

Today is Earth Day, it's all about raising awareness about taking care of the planet for our future generations; our children, our nieces, our nephews, our friends.

To learn more click here & for earth day quotes click here.

Happy Earth Day Everyone, Thank You So Much For Visiting!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Amazing Oskia Sale @ Cocosa right now!

UK Sales site Cocosa is having an Oskia Sale and with prices starting from £23 it's definitely worth a look.

If you're not sure about Oskia check out our reviews of their Bedtime Beauty Boost cream and Oskia's Get Up and Glow Serum

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Avena's Bra In A Jar Review

Rating: 6/5, available from Avena with prices starting from £6.99 (+p&p for all orders under £25).

One Word: AMAZING!

You've probably heard of mama mio's boob tube cream and a gazillion other products claiming to give you your perk back or to simply maintain the perk you had in the first place and/or to simply firm you up . The thing is that a lot of the time these products are filled with nasties and, as we've heard, aren't very effective.

Avena's bra in a jar is an all natural product that is not tested on animals. Ease of application is good and it has a light smell of mint, it absorbs fairly quickly and lies somewhere between a cream and a serum. In terms of longevity, the 60ml pots lasts for about a month.

This stuff is amazing, in fact in our eyes it is as wondrous as Akuaba Belly Butter. We were so impressed by this that we passed it on to our families. Incredibly effective across the board - our new-mum-friends loved it, our sisters loved it, our mothers and aunties loved it and so did our grandmothers. In fact, our grandmothers rave about it.


Allergy Warning: Contains nut oils!
Ingredients: sunflower oil, water, beeswax, adeps lanae, almond oil, patchouli oil, peppermint oil, benzoin oil.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Konjac sponge review

Available from Being Content with prices ranging from £5.75 - £6.99
We have to opt out of a rating for this one. For whatever reason, it's not really done anything for us. Em, L, and I all bought one each and have tested it out for the past 3 months. The packaging is cute, the longevity is good but the effect is not that noticeable. Maybe we were using the wrong one for each of our skin types, maybe there was no noticeable effect because we bodybrush or maybe it's just one of life's mysteries...we can't be sure.

Made from the fibrous konjac plant, these sponges hav been used for over a century in Japan. Konjac sponges have a mild exfoliating effect and are said to help gently cleanse and increase circulation, they are also suitable for all skin types because they are alkaline, full of vitamins and minerals (try magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, E, D, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, folic acid & fatty acids), they're also completely biodegradable.
Red Clay Konjac Sponge

They are available plain (which is perfect for all skin types) but you can also get
  • green clay for normal to oily skin (Em used this one)
  • red clay for dry and sensitive skin (L & I used this one)
  • pink clay for tired, devitalized skin
  • Bamboo charcoal for very oily or acne prone skins
They can be used alone over the face and body or you can add a touch of cleanser. They are easy to use and, if they work for you, could make a lovely addition to your beauty routine and are perfect if you're in a hurry!

Body & baby konjac sponge
Honestly, it's a super cute gift idea and the novelty factor is great, so it could be lovely in a care package or as a stand alone gift. But we had no luck with this product :( which is a shame because we'd really been looking forward to reviewing it and it has had so much love in the blogosphere.

If you'd like to know more about the konjac sponge click here

Have you tried konjac sponges before, what did you think? Did you have better results?

Hope that you're having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Intelligent Nutrients lipgloss Review: Say hello to toxin free make-up!

Intelligent Nutrients, the brand behind our favourite spray on detangler has created a range of really exciting products when it comes to non-toxic beauty.
Founded by Horst Rechelbacher (the original founder of Aveda), Intelligent Nutrients use 100% food-based, safe, non-toxic & organic ingredients. And all after-tax profits from the sale of Intelligent Nutrients products are donated to environmental and social causes.

Image borrowed from Intelligent Nutrients
All Intelligent Nutrients (IN) products are certified organic and are cruelty free. IN also collaborates with  Henry Ford Hospital & the Mayo Clinic, ranking  #1 (with a rating of 9.5/10) in a study of 50 natural & organic cosmetic brands conducted by Organic Monitor.

This review covers Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Lip Delivery Nutrition, and the 3 Lip Delivery Antioxidant Glosses; Purple Maize, Cranberry and Clear frosting.

Personally speaking, I've never been able to wear lipgloss - it's not that I haven't tried or that I don't like it, it's because I have intolerances to so many things. In the instance that I do wear normal brands of lipgloss or lip balms, my lips swell up a little and all the remains of the lip gloss is a line of goo on my lower lip. Not a good look or a good feeling.

So, when I found this range I wasn't sure what to expect. All of the Ingredients looked great and safe but prior experience had taught me to wait until the run through.

Update: US readers can buy straight from the Intelligent Nutrients site

Certified Organic Lip Delivery Nutrition Review
The bottom line of this product's description reads:
"Softness. Smoothness. The seductive and irresistible allure of not being coated in petroleum."
Sounds sexy, right? Ok, maybe not sexy but for some reason I can hear it being read in a husky voice while classic perfume ad music plays quietly in the background "mmmm, no petroleum".
Joking aside, that can only be a good thing. I'm pretty sure petroleum and it's byproducts weren't designed for being slathered over the body (check this article by Stacy Malkan, author of Not just a pretty face: The ugly side of the beauty industry, at the campaign for safe cosmetics and be sure to read the NY Times piece about the findings of the president's cancer panel's research here.)
And while we're talking about things that aren't in this lip balm you can also count on the fact that you won't find mineral oil or lead in this product.

But enough about the health dangers of common ingredients that simply aren't here. What about this lovely non-toxic lip balm. Simply put, it's perfect; lasting softness, intense lip nutrition, and it won't leave any goop on your lips.

TBT Rating: 5/5, available for £14.00 (17.50 Euros / $23.94) inc P&P from Feelunique, Being Content, Lovelula & Naturisimo.

Ingredients:Beeswax*, Coconut Oil*, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Castor Seed Oil*, Palm Kernel Oil*, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**, Rose Hips Seed Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Shea Butter*, Vanilla Plantifolia Fruit Oil*, Peppermint Oil*, Natural Orange Mint Flavor*, Corn Mint leaf oil*, Nutmeg Kernel Oil*, Limonene,*,***,  Eugenol*,***,  Isougenol*,***, Vitamin E.  
*Certified Organic
**Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex
***Naturally Occurring Component of Organic Essential Oil Blend

Intelligent Nutrients Lip Delivery Antioxidant Glosses, 12 ml, the Review
L-R: Cranberry Glow (only available as part of the In Joy Set in the UK), Purple Maize, Clear Frosting & Lip delivery nutrition.

After failed attempts at getting swatches that looked like the colour I realised that the swatches on the site are true to form (aside from the clear frosting which gives you a really nice light shimmer).

Here's the blurb:
"combining powerful colorful antioxidant chemistry and nutritious food ingredients with a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (antioxidant) ORAC value. Lip Delivery Antioxidant Gloss is free from toxic mined or mineral pigments, heavy metals, synthetic colorants. Every ingredient chosen to feed your lips with power-packed antioxidants and Intelligent Nutrients’ signature Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex to help battle oxidative stress and aid in fighting pre-mature aging while delivering delicious moisture and shine. The aroma/flavor is filled with certified organic Agave, Caramel, Coconut, Raspberry and Vanilla. It not only tastes good, it’s good for you."

These glosses are free from:
  • Gluten
  • Lead & Other Heavy Metals
  • Mined Minerals & Synthetic Colour
  • Synthetic Oils & Waxes
  • Mineral Oil & Petrolatum
  • Artifical Fragrances & Phthalates
  • Silicones & Parabens

These glosses aren't sticky, if your hair blows into your face you won't have to go through the laborious task of having to gently pull your hair out of your lip gloss (and then try and comb the lip gloss out of your hair).

The staying power is great and the quality is brilliant.

Cranberry glow gives a really cute bitten lip lok and purple maize is a little more vampy, if you want more of a colour pop just layer up. The added benefits of these glosses is that they also act as lip conditioners and they taste delicious!

Is the In Joy The Shine Set worth it?
If you love lip glosses and are likely to buy at least 3 of the items reviewed then yes. The lip glosses and lip delivery nutrition balm are all full size and you get a handy tin to carry them in. Not to mention the fact that 3 items would add up to a minimum of £44 which is the same price as the set - and for that you get an extra lip gloss.

TBT rating: 5/5 available for £15 inc P&P, from:
Purple Maize: Being Content, Naturisimo, Feelunique, Lovelula.
Clear Frosting: Being Content, Feelunique, Lovelula
Cranberry Glow: Being Content
In Joy The Shine Set, available for £44 (inc P&P) from Being content, Feelunique, Naturisimo

Clear frosting Ingredients: Castor Seed Oil*, Beeswax*, Agave Leaf Extract*, Sweet Raspberry Natural Flavour*, Coconut Oil*, Vanilla Bean Natural Flavour*, Caramel Cream Natural Flavor*, Acai fruit Oil*, Cocoa Butter*, Shea Butter*, Carnauba Wax*, Coconut Cream Natural Flavour*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Rosehip Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**,Vitamin E.
*Certified Organic 
*Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex

Purple Maize Ingredients:
Castor Seed Oil*, Beeswax*, Coconut Oil*, Agave Leaf Extract*, Purple Corn Extract*, Sweet Raspberry Natural Flavor*, Vanilla Bean Natural Flavour*, Caramel Cream Natural Flavor*, Acai fruit Oil*, Cocoa Butter*, Shea Butter*, Carnauba Wax*, Coconut Cream Natural Flavour*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Rosehip Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**,Vitamin E.
*Certified Organic 
*Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex

Cranberry Glow Ingredients:
Castor Oil*, Beeswax* Agave Extract*, Sweet Raspberry Natural Flavour*, Coconut Oil*, Water, Vanilla Bean Natural Flavour*, Caramel Cream Natural Flavour*, Kaolin, Carrot Extract*, Radish Extract, Lemon Extract*, Annatto Oil*, Shea Butter*, Carnauba Wax*, Cocoa Butter*, Coconut Cream Natural Flavour*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Rosehip Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry*, Orange Peel*, Rosa Damascenta Flower*, Vitamin E.
*Certified Organic 
**Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex