At What Cost? The Killing of Orangutans for Palm Oil

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Today I would like to focus on one ingredient used in the bulk of natural beauty products. While it may be naturally derived, it is a leader in terms of cruelty to animals and harming the environment. This ingredient is PALM OIL.

Palm oil is one ingredient I stopped using immediately in my cold process soaps when I was still making them once I researched how devastating the palm oil trade is to our planet and our animals and to the environment. It was in my initial Miss Honey Buns recipe back in late 2006, and was immediately replaced in early 2007. I made this popular soap with coconut oil, olive oil, soybean oil and sweet almond. 

When I made melt and pour bars, I chose an all natural base with palm oil in it. Before I chose, I asked for the source of the palm oil--I was told it was made with sustainable palm oil. If you ask a business owner or a company about their palm oil and they can only tell you "It is palm oil" or "organic palm oil", then you are most likely NOT getting sustainable palm oil. Sustainable palm oil will cost more, and it is definitely harder to come by, but if you are going to use palm oil, it is surely worth it. And there is no regulation about that. I don't even get that base anymore because I cannot be 100% sure that that oil was sustainable (it isn't advertised on that supplier's site to this day, which would be a huge selling point, actually...). As you know, I have eliminated sulfates, parabens, and other "bad" things from my beauty "diet", and Palm Oil is the most recent addition.

Palm oil is everywhere.

It is used in most soaps, as it is gentle to the skin and makes for a hard bar. It is used in lipsticks and in lip balms, as it is softening and nourishing due to the high saturated fat content. I have looked at the boxes of so many lipsticks, including major brands from $3 to $30+ manyall contain palm oil.

It is not just in our cosmetics. Do you want an incentive to eat healthier if your habits are poor? This is your time to do something! It is in our processed foods. Just go to Wegmans and take a glance at the back of the package of any major brand of crackers, chips or cookies.

Palm oil is also used for biofuels. One would think a "green" alternative to the emissions from standard diesel gas would be more beneficial. Fuel has been produced to be used instead of traditional diesel in farming equipment in the United States. That sounds wonderful, but to get this "green" fuel in terms of emissions, thousands of acres of rainforest have been destroyed. Countless wildlife have perished in an effort to be more "green" in eco-speak. It is a catch 22, almost, in that particular situation. Nobody seems to be aware of HOW that type of "green" fuel comes to be. No one speaks of the effect of animals and the the quality of air. So, yes, using this as a diesel alternative is better for the environment when you talk of emissions alone. No one wants to talk about at what cost this came to be.

As a note, we import a great amount of palm oil in the United States. We have plans to import more. In the UK alone, they import over 1 million TONS of palm oil each year.

What is so wrong with how we get palm oil?

Palm oil is brought to us by literally destroying the habitat of animals, particularly orangutans. Thousands of orangutans have died because of this trade. In fact, five particular mammals are endangered (3 being on the "critically endangered" list) because their habits have been cleared away for palm oil. These are the Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans, Asian Elephant, Sumatran Tiger, and Sumatran Rhinoceros. This is happening all over Southeast Asia, but the majority of the palm oil (over 80%) comes from Malaysia and Borneo alone. Something needs to be done, and soon. If this continues, the Friends of the Earth predicts that within 12 years, orangutans will be extinct. Extinct.

Why is this the case? In their natural habitat, these animals are losing their homes to fires, the logging industry, and more specifically, the palm oil industry. Palm Oil plantations abound, and animals are facing the truth that their travel patterns are cut off, their homes are vanishing (ie: the rainforest in general). Animals are much more vulnerable to poachers because of this. Plantation workers have also been discovered to kill these animals to get food, or to just get the animals "out of their way". Numerous cases of killing these animals essentially "for the sport of it" have been reported. Another way the animals are dying is because the plantation workers often set fires to clear space and the fires often burn out of control, destroying a large chunk of the natural habitat of these animals.

Not only are there moral issues when it comes to the loss of life of these animals, but there is a huge environmental impact. Tropical rainforests are being cleared away. Because of the palm oil plantations (made by clearing away the rainforests), over 600 million TONS of carbon are leaked into the air. Pesticides and herbicides are in the air because of this practice. Let's also think about the fish dying each day from what is being leaked from the processing plants there.

Are Cosmetics Companies Listening?

Not really. One company, LUSH, has decided to create a soap base to make their well-known soaps palm oil free. It is about time! A company claiming to be "natural" and "environmentally conscious" needs to set the standard. Making soap without palm oil is a step, and I hope other companies will follow. I should say that this new formula is no reason to buy Lush soaps. Until they get rid of sulfates and propylene items in their products, they're not as healthy and natural as their loyal followers seem to believe (which is a blog topic next week in response to a reader's question about Lush).

A company I have enjoyed in the past is Kiss My Face. I will not buy another KMF product, however, until they start eliminating palm oil in their recipes. They are the makers of "Kiss My Face Organic Palm Oil Soap".

Burt's Bees...another huge disappointment to me at this time. Palm Oil is #3 on their list of soap ingredients, just look at their popular Radiance Bar. If only they'd leave out the palm oil.

I will say, once again, how pleased I have been with the Crabtree & Evelyn Naturals line! They have some wonderful products, such as their Body Mist (just ordered Lemongrass Sage!) and most NATURALS items are PALM OIL FREE (except the bar soap, grr!). Try, try, try this line from C & E!

The Bottom Line:

The bottom line is that we need, in my opinion, to educate ourselves when it comes to what we rub into our skin, put on our faces, shampoo or hair with, etc.

A conscious effort is made by most of us to pay attention to the foods we put into our bodies. We want to be healthy.

At what cost, though, to have softer skin or a longer lasting bar of soap? Is it worth it? There are so many fats (oils) out there derived through humane methods that we could choose to use instead. Olive oil...coconut oil...sweet almond...grapeseed....apricot...jojoba... macadamia many more! Hemp Seed Oil is a wonderfully nourishing, yet cruelty-free and eco-friendly oil.

I had a favorite stuffed animal as a child, Herman. Herman was a stuffed orangutan from Washington, DC's National Zoo Gift Shop. I wanted that one because I always thought orangutans were "cute". I would hate to think that because I wanted a harder bar of soap or a creamy, yet firm lipstick that I would be contributing to the probable extinction of animals within my lifetime.

Recipe: Yogurt Cleanser for the Face

Friday, January 25, 2008

I have a great recipe I'd like to share with you today.

It is for my all-natural facial cleanser, and can be made right in your kitchen.

My skin is sensitive and normal to dry. For years I used Clarins Cleansing Milk with Alpine Herbs before switching to what I once believed was the best gentle cleanser on the market, Cetaphil.

I will be doing a separate post one day all about this famed drugstore cleanser, including a detailed description of what is actually in this cleanser and what the ingredients are for. If you have not read the ingredients list on the back of the bottle, you may be surprised! I know I was both surprised and saddened by what I was massaging into my skin (and my son's skin) each day.

I typically use my own line's popular Goat's Milk Facial Cleanser, but decided to post a recipe you can try easily at home.

As you know, I am always tinkering with recipes in my kitchen for 100% natural and easy at-home skin care. I experimented and came up with a great cleanser. It is all-natural, and it can fit in a tight-fitting jar and last in your refrigerator for about 3-4 days and be used 2X daily.

Ingredients are easy to find; in fact they may be in your home already!

Take out 1/4 cup of plain soy yogurt. Add 1 level teaspoon of honey. Today, I am using local CLOVER honey. I prefer Buckwheat, but they were out. Buckwheat honey is full of antioxidants for the skin). Stir. Now stir in 1t of buttermilk. I then add in a couple drops of castor oil. Stir again.

That is my basic formula. I sometimes add Evening Primrose Oil and a couple drops of geranium rose essential oil and lavender essential oil. In the summer, I would leave out the castor oil and just add a couple drops of tea tree essential oil.

Blend, add to a container.

This is a wonderfully soothing cleansing formula!

Let's take a look at the ingredients.

Honey: I put honey in nearly every homemade beauty treatment from bath products to my banana, glycerin and honey hair mask. Honey has been used as a beauty "miracle" since the days of Cleopatra (whom I am convinced had the best beauty rituals of all time). It has healing enzymes and a plethora of flavinoids and antioxidants. Honey is an outstanding humectant. You can even use straight honey as a cleaner/moisturizer. Typically, the darker the variety, the better for the skin.

Soy Yogurt: You can use regular yogurt! I often eat soy yogurt, so that is what I used. For reference, mine is the Whole Soy Plain. Why yogurt? Well, yogurt contains an abundance of lactic acid. It can help to soothe your skin. My skin can get red and blotchy in the winter, This is a great treat for that condition. The lactic acid is also very mildly exfoliating. It can help tighten and cleanse the pores, naturally. With the active cultures found in yogurt (such as acidophilus), I am guessing (though not 100% certain, so don't quote me) that it would be help your skin in a similar way.

Buttermilk: Buttermilk is another beauty staple going back centuries. I add buttermilk to my bath water. It is skin softening, and it contains two very important vitamins: A and D. Vitamin A is great for the skin--from people wanting to lessen the appearance of aging to people wanting to help with acne. We all know the debate surrounding Vitamin D. Scientists have said that vitamin D (in most cases, through exposure to the sunlight) is necessary for the body. Dermatologists, for the most part, say it is not worth the risk. Recent studies have shown that when vitamin D is applied to the skin topically (the study used it in serum form), that the benefits are comparable to being exposed to sunlight without the risks. The study showed that vitamin D can help to protect the skin. Buttermilk contains ample amounts of both A and D, so it really is great for skin health!

Castor Oil: I have used castor oil on my eyelashes for 3 or 4 years. It keeps them conditioned, glossy and looking darker. I apply castor oil to my hair once weekly. Every night when I go to bed, I use a mixture of CASTOR OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL and JOJOBA OIL to cleanse my skin with what is known as the Oil Cleansing Method. I have made soaps and other potions with castor oil.

Why is castor oil so wonderful? Ricinoleic acid is a key component of Castor Oil (actually making up about 90% of it), and it can help prevent swelling and irritation in the skin. It also has healing properties, and many naturalists use it to treat cuts and scrapes with great success. Castor oil is good for all skin types, even for those with acne and oily skin. It will not sit in the pore and cause more acne. It can actually help rid the pores of impurities and help draw them out. All in all, castor oil is an underrated, but very beneficial staple in your skin care arsenal!


You can apply, massage into damp skin (use tepid water) and rinse, or you can do what I do if I have time. Dampen your skin, apply the cleaner, and then top with a very warm wet clean cotton washcloth (or muslin). Leave on for about 3 minutes. While you're at it, place tea bags over your eyes!

Take off the washcloth, massage the creamy cleanser over your face and rinse thoroughly.

Spritz with rosewater toner or green tea (not hot, of course) and follow with moisturizer of choice.

Oh where, oh where has WEN been all my life?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WEN. What is Wen? Wen is a line of hair care by Chaz Dean, a stylist to the celebs. I planned to discuss this line in my haircare post below, but thought it was such a great product that I would devote one entry to the Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner itself.

First of all, I admit that I can be one of "those" people who gets drawn into an infomercial and picks up the phone once they say, "BUT WAIT! IF YOU CALL RIGHT NOW, WE WILL GIVE YOU NOT ONE, BUT TWO EXTRA_________(fill in the blank)!"

I know I should know better after I have purchased some hum-dinger let downs...The Magic Bullet chopping thing, the Perfect Pasta Pot, the Betty Crocker Cake Decorating Kit (a request by my Food Network-loving 4 year old), Bare Escentuals (not a total waste, actually), Sheer Cover, The Ove Glove, etc...

Early one morning I was watching the news and was channel surfing during a commercial. I came across this infomercial with Melissa Gilbert from "Little House on the Prairie" and someone else (she has completely slipped my mind at this point, it was so early!). The pitch was the system of Sodium Laureth and Sodium Lauryl sulfate free, natural hair care. This immediately drew me in.

When they mentioned it was Sweet Almond and Mint, I called the toll-free number and handed over my credit card number. A week later, I received my "kit". First of all, of the items received, I was mainly interested in the cleansing conditioner (the sulfate-free, non lathering shampoo). It contains no parabens, few chemicals at all, and is chock full of goodies for the hair. There are a couple ingredients I am not too keen on and there is a paraben-free preservative I still need to research more.

Here is what is in it:

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat, Protein, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Polysorbate 60, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Menthol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance (Parfum, Limonene)

Like all shampoos free of harsh detergents, there isn't a lather. It is really more like a conditioner -- but that is okay. My hair always feel silky using this one. It is much more expensive than Burt's Bees (my other favorite), but it truly feels much more luxurious. The scent is heavenly--not too herbal, but not a sweet scent either. The mint is not overpowering; in fact it is divine!

I have used Wen for a month. I am truly impressed

So this would be my #1 recommendation, at this point in time, for a "natural" hair cleansing product. It doesn't strip color at all. It doesn't cause a buildup or weigh the hair down. It is truly a fantastic product!

Naturals at Crabtree & Evelyn and My New Best Friend

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bravo to Crabtree & Evelyn! Their recently launched "Naturals" line is second to none (retail-wise), in my opinion, when it comes to their ingredients!

Naturals from C & E includes a myriad of wholesome ingredients and is sans parabens, mineral oil, propylene glycol, phlatates, sodium lauryl sulfate, etc.

I have tried 4 products now from their line: the Cocoa Butter, Nutmeg and Cardamom Body Butter ($26), Mango Butter & Cranberry Botanical Body Bar ($8), Milk, Soy & Sugar Body Lotion ($20), and the Edamame, Rice & Bamboo In-Shower Moisturizer (currently on sale for half off!).

No other brand I have tried has come close to being as high quality as these in the retail arena.

The body lotion is lightweight, yet nourishing. The scent is very subtle--much like a sugar milk type of scent with a slightly fruity edge. It is VERY overpriced, in my opinion. This is probably because I can make about 3 quarts of my own at this price. That being said, it is a great lotion!

The Body Bar was nice. I have been conserving my last bars of Miss Honey Buns to the best of my ability, and this is the first retail bar I have purchased in many months. The lather was rich, without being a stripping lather. It is loaded with oils and did not strip my winter dry skin of moisture. $8 is steep for a 5 ounce bar, but the bar itself is quite hard and this one is stored in my wooden slotted dish and is lasting a good long time!

I loathe paying too much for products when I know that it does NOT cost anywhere near $26 to make one body butter using the best ingredients out there. Since C & E has had a great sale going on, and since I snagged the In Shower Moisturizer for 50% off, I bought the butter.

I have to say that my old Tree Hut Nut Body Butter is better than this. Granted, Tree Hut has some ingredients I no longer like to use, but that was $3.50 at Target. This is along the lines of The Body Shop Body Butter in terms of its consistency and moisturization. You will get much more nourishment from plain shea butter or mango butter....

I like the scent. It is a warm and creamy spice scent, and the cardamom is not something found at other stores in great abundance. I would not purchase the Body Butter again because there are other options at a much better value.

My favorite of the lot is the Edamame, Rice & Bamboo In Shower Moisturizer. I have been enjoying Rice products from Perlier. The Perlier, while much better than most retailer products in terms of healthful ingredients, still contains ingredients I am trying to avoid. This product from Crabtree & Evelyn, is wonderful. It is rich and soothing, tamed the winter itchies, and has a light and heavenly scent. I am stocking up on these!

So head to and click on "Naturals" while their sale is going on!

I wish they would follow suit and make better choices when it comes to their other products. I am glad they are taking steps in the right direction when it comes to the new Naturals line. Unfortunately, they have a steep mountain to climb in terms of improving the safety of their other products, which are chock full of chemicals.

In other news....I have found my best friend--BLUSH that is! I was about out of my "Email Me" blush from Everyday Minerals, so I headed to their site. I ended up ordering a new shade to try as well: BEST FRIENDS, and this one is my new holy grail shade of blush. Think Lancome Blush Subtil in Cedre Rose mixed with a hint of Aplum. This is the perfect shade for a porcelain skinned, blue-eyed blond. Find great blush (and other products) at

Save Money...Treat Your Skin...Green Beauty at Home

Monday, January 14, 2008

Today I am going to share a recipe I use regularly at home.

A few years back, I found a recipe in a natural beauty book and have since modified the oils used, resulting in this recipe. I have used it now for 3 years!

You all know I am no longer buying body products containing synthetic preservatives. My skin has not had a paraben rubbed into it for over one year. I stopped using preservatives containing propylene glycol in August. In fact, I no longer use retail body lotion because of unsafe preservatives. Lotions contain water and this is why you need a chemical preservative if you're buying retail or etail...otherwise your product has a shelf life of less than one month normally.

I have made base lotion without synthetic preservatives using grapefruit seed extract and rosemary extract, but the results in terms of shelf life vary from batch to batch depending on such factors as humidity, light exposure, packaging, etc. I have tried "natural" bases sold using these ingredients as well with a stated shelf life in the 6-month range, only to have them get mold by 3 months. The only safe way, in my opinion, to have 100% natural lotion is to make your own every week or two.

I have tried even the newest "safer" chemical preservatives, such as Opti Phen and Cosmocil CQ, but the jury is still out on those, so I do not use them. I have actually been in a couple months' long process of testing a highly effective, but quite safe preservative derived from glycine, a natural amino acid. I will report back at a later date on that one!

You may think that making your own body lotion (or other body and bath products) is very difficult for home use and not worth the "bother". In fact, doing this can be lots of fun! When made in small batches, you can try new scents often. You will have your initial investment in the oils and fragrances (if you want a scented lotion), but your skin (and pocketbook) will ultimately thank you!

This will make about 4 ounces of body lotion.

1 /4 teaspoon of Borax (near your laundry detergent at the grocery store)

1/4 cup of distilled water

1 T. kukui nut oil

1 T. sweet almond oil

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 t. vitamin E oil

2 T. beewax (grated with your cheese grater)

1 T. clover honey

*Mix the Borax and distilled water together. Set aside. Now place a saucepan of water on the stove and heat to medium-high. In a stainless steel bowl, mix oils with beeswax and honey. Place the bowl over the water to create a double boiler effect. Simmer until melted together, stirring often. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add in the water and Borax mixture. Stir. Now add in several drops of essential oil or else desired amount (up to 1 t.) of fragrance oil. Stir (I use a wooden spoon).

Pour into a dark amber plastic bottle or a mason jar with an airtight seal. Store in a dry, dark cabinet for up to 2 weeks, no longer.

You can get super creative and buy several fragrance oils to make your own blends! Have fun with it!

Prefer a heavy "butter" formula? Try this....I like plain old shea butter...I prefer refined (through a non-chemical process only) because I detest the smell of raw shea butter. Try Organic Creations for this.

Now, take your shea butter and whip it in your Kitchen Aid. Whip it for AT LEAST 15 minutes....I do it for much longer, actually. Then add in fragrance oil or essential oil and store in an airtight container. As this has no water, you will be able to keep it much longer! GREAT for dehydrated skin, knees, elbows, etc....


For the butters and oils, I like Organic Creations. Visit them at

*For bottles and jars, try SPECIALTY BOTTLE ( Wide mouth jars can be found at WHOLESALE SUPPLIES PLUS (

*For fragrance oils, there are many wonderful sources. HOWEVER, you will not find one clear cut winner for EVERY scent. I buy from 4-5 vendors. MAKE SURE THE SCENT SAYS "SKIN SAFE" as some are not!

Here are some of my favorites: (Nature's Garden)

Hit or miss, but still some nice oils to be found: (Indiana Candle)

and the ONE shining star on eBay with some great ones (they are only 1 and 2 ounce so you won't be out much money at all if you get a "miss":

Seller is toys*dot*com.

Garnier Ultra Lift Serum is a Face Scorcher....and That's No LYE!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The first product in my series of the good, the bad and the ugly of skin care and makeup ingredients is a product from Maybelline's GARNIER brand.

The product is Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra Lift Firming Serum.

First off....let's hear a bit about why this product was chosen.

I love my stepmother to pieces. She is probably my best friend, as well as being a parent-figure. She has gorgeous skin, and looks about 20 years younger than she is without plastic surgery or Botox. She is very much into natural skin care and health care and her skin looks just fantastic. That being said, she can easily fall prey to slick advertising. She has always been a fan of Sarah Jessica Parker. When she saw her on an ad for Garnier skin care, she thought SJP must use all of those products (RIIIGHT...just like she uses a $5 box of hair color to achieve her base color and several shades of woven in highlights and lowlights...).

Sandy (my stepmom) rushed out to buy this line (she will try anything once...from drugstore to exclusive spa). She called me and told me she was eager to try the Ultra Lift Serum. A few days later, she called me and was nearly in tears because her skin was so sore. She said it felt like her skin was burning away. I thought she was exaggerating a bit until I saw her at Christmas. Her skin literally had a layer burned off and peeling. I took her bottle of serum (the only difference in her skin care regimen) and looked at the back. In addition to abour 30+ questionable ingredients in terms of safety, I saw SODIUM HYDROXIDE. Why on earth is Garnier putting lye in a firming serum?

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye. It is used in the soapmaking process. I used to use this regularly in order to make my soaps. If you are using handmade soap, you are using a soap made with lye at some point in the process). Lye is toxic. It is highly caustic, with the ability to cause severe burns and irritation, as well as breathing difficulties. It has been linked to cancer and toxicity to the lungs. Recently, lye has been linked more and more to cancer.

Why is LYE appropriate in soapmaking? The saponification process is a chemical reaction. In quick layman's terms, the scary, harsh lye becomes nothing to fear once it is blended with the fats...You could say that the harshness, the burn gets "cancelled out" by the glycerin and oil (IF MADE & CURED PROPERLY). If you are going to buy ANY product made with lye, you have to buy it from someone who has been doing this for, in my view, at least a year. You must use a scale. You must get EVERY SINGLE measurement exact. There is NO room for error when working with lye.

I recently sold all of my soapmaking equipment. This was sad. I had a very popular soap (Miss Honey Buns) and despite numerous requests to bring it back, I made my last loaf in November. I have 24 bars total of this and then I will have to buy some!

I mentioned before that my hubby works from his home office. When this happened, I was "evicted" from my large 2-room workshop to make room for his office equipment. It is imperative to have a completely separate area to make CP soap--AWAY from pets and children. I had that, and when I had to move to a smaller workshop which is within reach of my little ones being able to open a door, I knew I could no longer work with lye. It is that powerful. I no longer have lye in my house because of the risks.

So, as you can see, lye is in your cold process and other handmade soaps, but it is NOT going to harm your skin if the soapmaker is a pro and follows every step of the process.

HOWEVER, sodium hydroxide has no business being in a facial serum! This serum isn't laden with oils and there is not a saponification process to make the sodium hydroxide a non-factor. It is irresponsible and dangerous to keep this product on the market when effects ranging from mild redness and irritation to severe burns are more than likely to occur.

Here is what is in this serum:

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, BIS PEG 18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Rosa Canina/Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (Omega 3+6), Hydrolyzed Rice Protein (Rice Protein), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Vaccinum Myrtillus/Vaccinum Myrtillus Extract, Glycine Soja (Glycine Soja Soybean Protein), Fagus Sylvatica Extract (Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract), Polysilicone-8, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polycaprolactone, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Lecithin, Poloxamer 188, Sodium Dehydroacetate, T-Butyl Alcohol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Chlorphenesin, Parfum/Fragrance.

Not so many good ingredients! The brand touts its Rice Protein (look at PERLIER'S BLACK RICE LINE FOR A GOOD RICE PRODUCT) and Omega 3's, Soy, etc...but there are dozens of iffy chemicals in this. What a horrible product!

Besides the LYE, what else should be avoided?

Chlorphenesin--Is restricted in Japan. Several studies have shown this ingredient to affect the brain and nervous system at just moderate doses.

Sodium Dehydroacetate--Linked to cancer and reproductive system toxicity

Poloxamer 188--broad systemic toxicity, toxicity to liver, kidneys

I have written to Garnier, so we shall see if I hear back. This is one of the worst ingredients labels I have encountered in many years of label reading!

I have several other products to look at in depth...Keep emailing me at and I'll be happy to answer your questions!

I must say that I am not a medical doctor and these statements are my viewpoints and should be considered opinions (although I have thoroughly researched them!)

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy 2008 and hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

The holidays were magical in our house, especially with the excited, wide eyes of two toddler boys on Christmas morning! Nick bounded into our room at 6am to announce that Santa had arrived.

I hope everyone was able to enjoy time spent with family and friends. We had a great time, but wish Tom's brother and family could have been with us. As many of you know, Zach (my brother in law) is serving his 2nd tour since 2005 in Iraq--there for an estimated 15 months. I am very much against this war, but would like to remind everyone--regardless of their feelings on the war--that our soldiers need our support.

Things are returning a bit more to normal in this house. Tom is back at work (even if it is only downstairs in his home office) after a vacation, and Nick returned to preschool yesterday.
December was full of colds, fevers, sore throats, etc...and the latest is my bronchitis. At least Tom, Nick and the dog seem fine. Ben seems to be coming down with something yet again.That's what happens when you live in NY during the winter!

I've been enjoying a few weeks off from EVERYTHING--even crafting for fun. I've had an internet vacation, too. This actually has been nice!

When my shop reopens January 10th, you will notice that my selection has been scaled back again. I am only selling candles and tarts. I have lots of new jars coming and will be listing them soon. This will allow me to customize blends rather than offering pre-made only! Look for some great scents to be added to my 100+ scent list soon.

Time, as usual, is my #1 factor for this.

I *will* offer customer requests for repeat buyers. If you've been a long time user of something of mine, you know I am always willing to work with you to accommodate your requests.

The second factor in eliminating ALL bath and body listed regularly on my site is because of my interest in natural bath and beauty, more specifically on the research of product ingredients.

When I owned Flour City Bakery, and even now, I received countless emails asking me to decipher ingredient labels on many retail and etail items. This isfor a couple of different reasons. I have a strong background in the field, having been an esthetician and makeup artist for over a decade, and because of my extensive research on the issue. I will be devoting a great deal of time writing about this issue in a new blog feature which will appear once a week. I will take your questions regarding any retail or etail products, review the claims being made about the product, and then go through the ingredients one by one for you.

Obviously if I still had a business selling my facial care products, body care, soaps, lotions, etc. this would be a conflict of interest. Now that I am not doing bath and body at all, I feel I can be 100% fair researching products and letting you know what's good and bad.

Just as there are many gems retails and etail, there are many stinkers as well.

As a preview, I will discuss a popular retail anti-aging treatment endorsed by a popular celebrity which contains LYE (sodium hydroxide) a key ingredient! I was prompted to research this product after it literally burned the top layer of my stepmother's skin after 2 uses...her skin is still healing 6 weeks later. I will discuss that product this week.

Email me at to ask about your favorite products, or if you just want to know what that 24-letter long ingredient is in your conditioner. I will answer your questions in my blog.

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