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Nov 292010

From Green Right Now Reports

Ready to abandon all those preservatives, petroleum byproducts, antibacterials and mystery chemicals in so many synthetically scented lotions and beauty products?

We are too.  Here are a few tips for holiday shoppers that include some of the purest baby lotions, fun beauty kits for teens and eco-friendly skin smoothers for women.

We’ll start with Abe’s Market in Chicago (and online) because it sells many products that harken back to when formulas were simpler.

Mayron's Goods were developed by Melanie and David Mayron

Abe’s features Mayron’s Goods which promises to keep babies pampered and chem-free with products like Astonishing Hydrating Body Milk. Actress, director and writer Melanie Mayron (of 30 Something fame) and her dad, David Mayron, created the company to develop safer stuff for Melanie’s babies. One result was a lotion that has many natural skin-softening ingredients, without an attendant raft of problem additives like parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances (see the label). Retail price: $14.

Abe’s offers other baby products, including Babo Botanicals Oatmilk Calendula Moisturizing Baby Lotion ($16.50), made without formaldehyde or any other suspicious chemicals on an organic farm in upstate New York.

Like Mayron’s, Babo Botanicals, was developed by a concerned mom, Kate Solomon, who wanted quality beauty products without all the extraneous, potentially harmful extras. Solomon turned her experience working with conventional beauty lines, like L’Oreal, to her advantage while creating products made only with natural botanicals.

This holiday season we’ll also be trying All Good Goop, an Abe’s specialty, which could replace petroleum jelly in your medicine cabinet, with its ability to sooth burns and scrapes. It also seems destined to tackle those dried and (ugh) heels.

Elemental Herbs' gift kit.

Speaking of heels, this concoction has many healing herbs, making it a potential insect bite salve, and useful for wind-chapped knuckles as well. It retails for $14 and doesn’t come in a fancy jar, but it would still make a unique and aromatic gift, especially for those on your list who want to get the petroleum byproducts out of the house.

All Good Goop does come in a couple of gift packs, such as the Elemental Herbs Back Country Organic Healing Kit, a nice surprise for the hiker/camper on your list. Guys might especially like this one.

But back to babies, there is yet one more mom-turned-baby-product maker that you need to meet.

Way back in the 1990s, when this latest green movement was still taking root, Karen Ciesar,  decided to make some really pure baby smears. Her company became Trillium Organics, and includes some of the best-rated products for eco-purity (by the Environmental Working Group and others) you can find. Trillium’s OG Baby products contain no fussy fragrances whatsoever, and are made with natural oils. You can buy separates, such as Gentle Soap or Barrier Balm, or get a gift pack. (Retail prices $9.95 and up.)

Trillium baby products, smoothing and organic.

So it’s possible, even in today’s synthetically enriched environment, to keep the baby’s bottom smooth and natural.

But what happens later? Sadly, many of those babies will grow up to be aggressively fragrant teens, using on average more than a dozen beauty products every day, and inadvertantly exposing themselves to a range of chemicals that studies are linking to fertility issues and even cancer, according to studies by the EWG.

The risk may still be hypothetical, but the chemicals are clearly present.  The Environmental Working Group has found several chemicals associated with cosmetics in the blood and urine of teenagers tested. (Check out also the EWG’s study of perfumes, Not So Sexy.)

So more than ever, mind your eco-Q when shopping for growing girls (and boys, though, they just don’t pile on the body products in the same way).

Try the tried-and-true, like Burt’s Bees lip gloss sampler, $15, which sticks to its job courtesy of natural oils and ingredients. No parabens, sulfates or phthalates.

Or turn to Teens Turning Green, a group started in the Bay Area by teens who want to get the toxics out of their routines, in beauty products and at the school lunch counter.

Teens Turning Green created its own line of products, launched in Whole Foods Market stores in 2008; these include the Alaffia Mango Butter that’s made with papaya leaf and shea leaf extracts, aloe vera, shea butter, virgin coconut oil, and of course, mango butter.

Teens Turning Green developed safer products for teens.

This skin softener skips the parabens and other chemicals, though it does use one common preservative. Still, this is a much lower toxic formulation than you find in dozens of comparable mainline products. It meets the Whole Foods Market internal test for most pure products.

The TTG products also include other beauty offerings, such as a mask, a scent spritzer and the Omega5 cleansing bar.

While it is especially important to keep baby and teen products chemically pure — research shows babies are most affected by phthalates and parabens — many moms find themselves wanting to de-gunk their own beauty routine once they realize how much stuff has crept into conventional body lotions, colognes, shower gels and shampoos.

For them, there’s Pacifica Body Butters, stocked by Sephora, and other stores. These lotions go the extra mile in getting out the problem ingredients. They contain no parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates GMOs or

Pacifica uses natural ingredients and shuns synthetics linked to health problems.

triclosan (the antibacterial agent that’s been accused of contributing to super bugs in the environment). That’s an impressively long list of excised chemicals, which includes both those that have been shown to harm the outside environment and many linked to health issues for the user.

Pacifica’s body butters come in delectable scents like Mango Grapefruit, Tahitian Gardenia, Tuscan Blood Orange and Hawaiian Ruby Guava, making them more than gift worthy. They retail at $18 each, and belong to a collection of products that also includes fun body washes.

There are also many Burt’s Bees products that track a little older, and come in gift sets, perfect for a big girl’s stocking (one old enough to appreciate the included eye cream, say).

Try the Radiance Kit with royal jelly from the queen bee (not for vegans!). This kit has a little sampler of night creme, day glow creme and an eye cream, a pampering the woman of the house is sure to need this holiday season.

Burts "Radiance" kit.