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LUSH Halloween Bath Items 2013

As Halloween rolls around again, LUSH has released some new limited edition goodies to celebrate the season.  While they did not bring back Pumpkin soap or the Jacko bath bomb (such a bummer!), they have cooked up a new bubble bar and 2 new bath bombs that you are sure to enjoy if you are a fellow lushie.

Pumkin Bubble Bar is an adorable sudsy treat designed to fill your tub with the scent of ylang ylang oil and orange flower absolute.  Pumkin is no spelling error as it was designed as a counterpart to the Mother’s Day Mumkin bubble bar.  This 3.5 oz product is good for multiple baths, depending on the amount of suds you want, the size of your bathtub, and whether or not your tub has jets.  Plus it’s just plain cute!  And it shares its scent with Figs and Leaves soap-one of my favorites.

pumkin

Pumkin bubble bar, photo by LUSH

Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb is a much spicier product chock-full of black pepper and patchouli.  I did not pick this one up because I ordered online and this seemed like a gamble (I am not a bug patchouli fan).  But this sounds like a good one for those who enjoy a small, warm scented ballistic.

misrule

Misrule bath bomb, photo by LUSH

Soot Ball Bath Bomb is derived from the soot gremlins of the Japanese animated film Spirited Away.  I love this scent because it is simultaneously sweet and savory.  Frankincense, tonka absolute, and burnt caramel make an excellent combination for relaxation on a chilly October evening!  Don’t let the color fool you; instead of turning your bath water black as it may seem, this little guy turns your water a beautiful gold.  Unfortunately this item is not available on the Lush North America website, but you can order it from across the pond at https://www.lush.co.uk/product/6354/Soot-Ball

Soot ball bath bomb, photo by LUSH

Soot ball bath bomb, photo by LUSH

Lush is also promoting some of their Halloween-themed permanent items such as the Dragon’s Egg bath bomb and Buffy body butter, among many others.  Limited edition Halloween items usually launch in North America in mid-October.  They launch much earlier in the UK (September).  I find this strange as they could potentially sell more items by releasing them earlier.  And why wouldn’t they sell Soot Ball here?  Nevertheless, I will put these items to good use as I always take more baths in autumn and winter.

Did you pick any of these up?  What do you think about Lush’s decision not to bring back previous Halloween limited edition items?  Leave a comment below, and as always thanks for reading.

My video featuring these items:

“But those who put their hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 31

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Product Review: Juice Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer and Refining Finishing Powder

Juice Beauty Tinted Moisturizer. Refining Powder, Bare Minerals Flawless Face Brush by www.somethingtoconsiderblog.com

Juice Beauty Tinted Moisturizer. Refining Powder, Bare Minerals Flawless Face Brush by http://www.somethingtoconsiderblog.com

Up for your consideration are the Tinted Mineral Moisturizer and Refining Finishing Powder by Juice Beauty. I spotted these in Ulta awhile back, and since I’m always on the hunt for effective low-toxin products, I thought I would give theses a shot. Here’s a bit of background on Juice Beauty in case you are unfamiliar.
Founded in California, their goal was to create healthy and effectual personal care products. They have created antioxidant and vitamin-rich, organic, juice-based formulas that strive to be more effective than their high toxin-counterparts. Using juice as a base eliminates the need for petroleum derivatives that many other companies use, which suffocate the skin and frequently contain harmful chemicals. Juice Beauty is a certified organic brand, so you can purchase their genuinely natural ingredients with confidence. But enough chat about the company. How well do the products actually work?
The Gist
The tinted moisturizer has an SPF of 30, which is a bonus so no added sunscreen is necessary. Obviously the ingredients are a major plus. Not that all of my makeup is completely natural/organic, but I prefer anything that goes all over my entire face to be as natural and low-toxin as possible. It is very moisturizing, and since I am an oily girl, I do not use any supplementary moisturizer with it. This leaves the skin with a very dewy finish. For dry skin this is great; however, if like me you are more slippery, I would recommend using the refining powder to set it. The loose powder is very light and leaves the skin with a very natural finish (as in the middle ground between dry and oily). It does not look cakey, and for me it seems to last all day, even in the summer. Not everyone cares for loose powders, but they do not bother me if they perform well. I noticed it settled a bit into my smile lines throughout the day but not terribly. I saw no noticeable difference with how it looked when I used a primer underneath or not. The refining powder scores a 2 (low toxin) on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. The tinted moisturizer scores a 2 in the shade ivory, 3 in sand and tan (which puts them just into the moderate range). For more information on what these ratings mean, visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep
Application
For the tinted moisturizer, I dot it all over my face with clean fingers and then massage into the skin. I usually then go over it with my Bare Minerals precision face brush just to even it out. I apply the refining powder with the Bare Minerals flawless face brush, tapping off any excess product into the cap.
Overall
If you’ve been burned by tinted moisturizers that lack any semblance of coverage, this will not disappoint you. However, if you are in search of a full coverage product, this (or any tinted moisturizer for that matter) is not the item for you. While the price point is a bit steep (the tinted moisturizer retails for $29 for 2 oz of product; the refining powder goes for $22 for .28 oz), you get plenty of product. Could the health score of the tinted moisturizer be better? Of course (in the darker shades that is). So if you are really uncomfortable using anything other than low-toxin products, you will want to pass on this. Overall I think you get what you pay for: high quality, natural products that do pretty much what they say they do. And if you purchase them from Ulta and are dissatisfied, you can return them for a full refund or store credit (at least here in The States).
Have you tried them? Leave a comment below with your thoughts and skin type. Of course I purchased these with my own money and these thoughts are my own. Thanks for reading.
Info on the company found at http://www.juicebeauty.com
Skin Deep database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep
Interested in seeing how these products look on the skin? Watch my YouTube video:

‘Good’ Looks?

English: Makeup before attendance. Српски / Sr...

English: Makeup before attendance. Српски / Srpski: Шминкање пред наступ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful.” -Ninon de L’enclos

Have you ever stopped to think about what is in your makeup?  Unfortunately we cannot assume that if a product is allowed on the shelves it must be okay.  In fact, it may even be toxic.  Thanks to being born the only girl in a house full of boys, makeup has never been that important to me.  Still, I like to get dolled up on occasion, and I want to feel good about what I am putting on my face.  This post is not an alarmist scare tactic.  Rather, my opinion is that people should be educated about their products so they can make an informed decision.  Below is a list of personal care ingredients that are suspected toxins known as the “dirty dozen,” a brief description of the serious health concerns to which they are linked, and resources for finding non-toxic products.

  • BHA & BHT
  • Parabens
  • DEA-Realated Ingredients
  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives
  • PEG Compounds
  • Coal Tar Dyes
  • Petrolatum
  • Siloxanes
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Fragrance
  • Triclosan

While each ingredient affects us differently, some are known carcinogens, linked to organ toxicity, as well as birth defects, hormone disruption, cancer, skin rashes and irritations, allergens, asthma, and reproductive problems for both genders from either direct use or in utero exposure.  I enjoy makeup, but it is absolutely not worth those risks.  Some argue that many of these ingredients are considered low risk in small amounts.  However, people are not just exposed to them in a one-time use product.  Unfortunately, most personal care products contain one or several of these toxins, from lipstick to shampoo, lotion, soap, and more each and every day (not to mention toxins in other products such as food and cleaning products).  I would rather yield to the Precautionary Principle and limit them as much as possible.  It seems inconceivable that these ingredients would be allowed in so many of our products.

“Most consumer products are unregulated in the U.S., so manufacturers are allowed to use hazardous chemicals without demonstrating the safety of the products and without labeling them as toxic.” (Malkin, 2007).  Stronger regulation of cosmetic ingredients would help reduce or eliminate the risk posed by these components from the products that we put on our skin.  As the skin is our largest organ, the majority of what we put on it gets absorbed into our bodies.  Some of the ingredients above help products penetrate more deeply into our skin, causing us to absorb even more.  Many in-depth resources have been written about toxic ingredients and the lack of laws regulating their use, such as the references listed below.  If these ingredients are in so many products, how can they be avoided?

If you are like me, trying to decipher the ingredients list on a package can make your eyes cross.  What’s more, many of these products are listed under multiple names, such as the many types of siloxanes (generally they are listed as words ending in “–siloxane” and “–methicone”). Luckily there are search engines available that provide information on the safety of product ingredients.  I use Good Guide at www.goodguide.com and Skin Deep at www.ewg.org/skindeep. Each site pulls up a detailed rating regarding ingredient safety and toxicity.  Good Guide even has an app for smart phones.  Although I have found the regular search engine works a bit better, it is convenient to have it at my fingertips in the store.  It has enabled me to avoid purchasing a product with a low health rating numerous times.  Before you think this message is all gloom and doom, be encouraged that many products are available with safe ingredient alternatives (both affordable and high end).  And if you are motivated, you can take action.

-Urge your country’s leaders to pass legislation for safer personal care products.  If you live in the U.S., contact your representative and encourage them to co-sponsor the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 (H.R. 1385) here: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5500/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=13369.

If you live in Canada, go here: http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/cosmetics.

-Support health-conscious businesses by purchasing their products that have safe ingredient ratings.  Do not assume that if a product is labeled “natural” or “organic” that they truly are.  Companies recognize that many consumers are interested in healthier product ingredients.  They are trying to capitalize on that, labeling products as natural and organic which are not.  This also happens due to the lack of regulation.  Also do not assume that just because a company makes certain products with low-risk ingredients that all of their products will have the same rating.

-Reduce the number of products you use each day.  And remember, you do not need makeup to be beautiful!  The times in my life I’ve worn the most makeup were when I was most insecure, which is no good reason to wear it.

-Contact cosmetic and personal care companies and retailers to let them know healthy product ingredients matter to you.  For a form letter to retailers, go here: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5500/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12309.

-Spread the word so others can make informed choices about their products.

-Stay informed through campaigns such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (http://safecosmetics.org/), Teens for Safe Cosmetics (www.teensturninggreen.org/ ), and the Breast Cancer Fund (www.breastcancerfund.org/), among numerous others (a list of more endorsing organizations can be found on the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website).

Don’t be discouraged.  Many companies are making the move toward safer products for their consumers; products that work just as well if not better than the toxic alternative.  It simply takes a little extra time on our part to find them.  Each time we purchase them, we send a message that toxic makeup should be a thing of the past.  Companies will make what people will buy.  Thanks for reading.  Please let me know your favorite low-toxin personal care products in the comments below.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1Peter 3:3-4

References

Malkin, S. (2007). Not Just a Pretty Face: The ugly side of the beauty industry. Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers.

Suzuki, D. (n.d.). “‘Dirty Dozen’ Cosmetic Chemicals to Avoid. In David Suzuki Foundation. Retrieved June 4, 2013, from http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/dirty-dozen-cosmetic-chemicals/

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

http://www.goodguide.com/

http://safecosmetics.org/

Watch my YouTube video on this topic:

Preparing for Baby: What’s in My Hospital Bag?

As pregnancy winds closer to an end in expectation for birth, one of the to-do list items to check off my list is packing the hospital bag.  Whether you are packing your bag months in advance in anticipation, or if you are a procrastinator packing at the last minute, below is what I consider my hospital essentials when having a baby.

For Me

  • Slippers for doing laps around the birth center to get dilated
  • Warm, fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm
  • Reusable feminine pads to manage bleeding (for vaginal childbirth).  Reusable pads are better both for mom (no harmful chemicals like dioxin) and the environment.  I use Lunapads which you can find at http://www.lunapads.com
  • Reusable nursing pads.  These are important for both breastfeeding and bottle feeding moms as your milk will come in regardless.  I like the brand Skoon which can be found at http://www.sckoon.com/organiccottonbabyclothing-collections-breastfeeding-pads.html
  • Massage items so your spouse or coach can rub your back during labor (I prefer LUSH massage bars to lotions or creams-less messy).  You can find them at http://www.lushusa.com/Massage-Bars/massage-bars,en_US,sc.html
  • Nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers.  This is essential.  When nursing my daughter, I somehow missed the memo about nipple cream and they were so sore it made nursing almost unbearable.  A few days later my friend asked me if I had been using any cream and mercifully filled me in on it.  What a difference it made!  I may have given up on breastfeeding without it.  An alternative that I’ve heard works well is using breast milk.  After your child has finished nursing, rub a small amount of breast milk on the nipple and let it air dry.  The nipple cream I like is Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, a 100% natural product.  This can be found at http://www.abesmarket.com/store/earthmama/products/?gclid=CMe-jcrN8LUCFetAMgodo1QADg
  • Headphones and MP3/iPod for music to help relax or distract you through contractions
  • Camera for taking pictures/video
  • Lip balm for hydrating lips that get dry from all of that deep breathing
  • Toiletries
  • Book or magazines

For Baby

  • Cloth diapers-I am packing some Bum Genius 4.0 one size diapers.  These may not work for babies that weigh less than 8 lbs, so just in case I am also packing some Kissa’s newborn prefolds and Thirsties extra-small diaper covers.  My favorite website for cloth diaper essentials is  http://www.kellyscloset.com/ or even craigslist/on-line yard sales for gently used ones for very cheap
  • Baby lotion-I use California Baby natural lotion which can be found online or at Target http://www.californiababy.com/super-sensitive-shampoo-bodywash-8-5-oz.html
  • Clothes-onesies, bodysuits or pajamas, and an outfit for newborn pictures
  • Small amount of olive oil (I use cold pressed extra virgin olive oil)-put this on baby when changing their diaper.  This will help the ever-so-sticky meconium clean off like a dream.
  • Receiving blankets or swaddlers

Some women like to bring pajamas or robes from home that are more comfortable than hospital gowns.  If you do this make sure you are okay with them getting stained by the plethora of fluid that accompanies childbirth.  My list may seem very modest.  I remember with my first child I completely over-packed as I was not sure what I would need.   You may have additional items that are essential for your comfort.  Pack whatever you feel you need.  I recommend keeping it simple so that packing to go home will be a simpler process.

Thanks for reading.  Please leave me your hospital bag essentials in the comments below.

My YouTube video on these items:

Becoming a LUSHie: My Pursuit of Natural Hair & Skin Care

Lush

Lush (Photo credit: Pip)

The more I learn about the harsh chemicals in everything from food to shampoo, I’m tempted to move to a commune.  I’m not entirely joking.  We could raise grass fed animals, use natural ingredients for homemade products, and reduce our carbon footprints.  This is not a “scare blog” that is going to list how toxic and terrible everything is, causing you to run away to live in a cave.  Rather I want to highlight a brand I discovered last year and have loved using based both on how the products work and what the company stands for.   That company is LUSH.

Lush Cosmetics, or LUSH, is a UK-born company that makes products for hair, skin, and bath.  While that is nothing special, what the company stands for is: making safe and effective products that are truly natural and organic.  You don’t have to worry about their products being overly processed, genetically modified, or filled with enough preservatives to keep them good until the next millennium.  They care about the impact their company has on the environment and those who work to collect the material they use in their products, also known as ethical sourcing.  They care about animals, too.  LUSH does not test their products on animals, and they will not purchase any products from suppliers that test on animals.  Not only does the company believe in these things, they campaign for them.  They only use vegetarian ingredients, and many of their products are vegan.  As I got to know more about LUSH, the skeptic in me thought this sounded too good to be true.  I wanted to know what the downside was.

One aspect of the company some may see as a negative is their policy against unnecessary packaging.  While this has the environment in mind, some consumers may find it to be a bit of a turn off.  For example, when an item is packaged minimally there is higher risk of it breaking or getting damaged.  This does happen from time to time, especially since some of their products are more fragile.  For people who are environmentally conscious, this likely will not be a deterrent.  Another potential drawback, and perhaps the biggest one, is the cost of the product to the consumer.

While I wish I could tell you that their products are just as cheap as any you would find at Wal-Mart, I cannot.  Due to the ethical standards they uphold, their ingredients are more expensive than most anything you would find at the drugstore.  But why shouldn’t it be?  Doesn’t it make sense that this type of business model would create an increase in cost both to the business and the consumer?  I would rather spend more money on products I can feel good about than on a name brand department store product that is loaded with questionable ingredients made by a company apathetic toward their effect on the world.   LUSH products range anywhere from $1.95 to $89.95 (and higher for certain gift boxes).  Many of their products are affordable, and they have something for every age, gender, skin type, and hair type.

Just to be clear, I do not work for LUSH, am not affiliated with LUSH in anyway, nor do I receive any compensation whatsoever for writing this.  I’m just a die-hard LUSHie (i.e. consistent consumer of LUSH products that loves and raves about them, or as urbandictionary.com likes to describe us-“obsessed”) who wants to spread the word about their products.  The goods I have tried from there have had amazing results for my skin and hair, and I can use them in good conscience.

What do you think?  Leave a comment letting me know if you are pro natural/truly organic ingredients or if you think non-organic products are just fine (or if you are a fellow LUSHie!).  Interested in learning more about LUSH products, the company, and where you can find a LUSH near you?  Visit http://www.lushusa.com/  Thanks for reading.

Check out my YouTube video on some of my recent LUSH products