Blog Feed Note

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Attention readers-- as you know, I returned to Blogger after trying WordPress out for several weeks.  I just couldn't get used to such a switch after all these years.  Most of you my subscribers have updated their feeds, but I see that some of you are still coming here via redirect from the other feed.

If you are using FeedBurner, here is the correct feed address:

Prem Soaps Winner!

Attention Carol Traynor: You are the winner of the Prem Soaps Giveaway! Please email me -- thecurvyblogger [at] with your mailing information.

Prem Soaps Giveaway Ends Tonight!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A few weeks back, I told you about a wonderful new soap company based in Brooklyn called Prem Soaps. I am loving my soaps, lip balm, and scrub from this company and know you'll adore the products, too.

In fact, one lucky reader is going to have a chance to experience Prem Soaps through our end of July  giveaway!

The wonderful folks from this fabulous new company want to pamper you with the following 3 goodies:

*Jar of Lavender Grapefruit Salt Scrub ($15 value)
*Vanilla Cinnamon with Cinnamon Bark Soap ($8 value)
*Peppermint, Tea Tree, and Eucalyptus Bar Soap ($8 value)

Here is how to enter:

1. To enter, all must visit the Prem Soaps website and then comment on this post and tell me what looks good to you from their website.

You can earn more entries!

2. Follow this blog with Google Friend Connect. (1 additional entry)
3. Follow Chic & Green on Facebook. (1 additional entry)
4. Follow Prem Soaps on Facebook. (1 additional entry)

Enter now through tonight, July 29th, at 11:59pm EDT!

*Winner will be drawn July 30. US entrants only. 18+ only.

C & G Adores....Soapwalla Cream Deodorant

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I would say that I am completely blown away by a product maybe 5 times a year at the most. I have products I am sent for review or purchase on my own that I like, some I don't like at all, and others that just become coveted items.

I recently purchased a product from Soapwalla Kitchen on Etsy called Deodorant Cream. I have read reviews online before about how effective this natural deodorant is, but I'll be honest when I tell you that I was apprehensive.

I have tried many natural deodorants over the years and something I have noticed is that while many do keep odor away, they leave me feeling uncomfortable because they don't keep you dry.  They're not intended to keep you dry, though, as they are not antiperspirants. Antiperspirant is made of aluminum compounds and these may be very harmful to the health.

I decided to bite the bullet and order this product and am wishing I had done so long ago. I had this idea that I might not like the formula since it is a cream. I don't know why this bothered me. When it comes down to it, armpits are just another part of your body and I apply creams to the rest of my body, so why should applying a deodorant cream to clean armpits after my morning shower seem gross?

I love, love, love this product. Unlike most deodorants, it is so gentle and does not make my armpits itch from harsh ingredients. It dries quickly and leaves no residue. One thing I hate is wearing a pretty black or navy tank only to see white residue midway through the day.  You do not have to worry about that problem with this product.

This is not runny, drippy, drying, or anything else associated with deodorants.  It doesn't have a fake baby powder or "shower fresh" chemical odor. It does have a light aromatherapeutic scent from the natural essential oils. The formula is vegan and free of harmful petrochemicals, parabens, aluminum, or other nasties.

Here is what is in this natural deodorant:

Organic jojoba, sunflower, and rosehip seed oils; shea butter; a combination of all-natural and gluten-free vegetable clays and powders; aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate; organic vegan kosher glycerin; a combination of organic lavender, peppermint, sweet orange, 
bergamot and tea tree essential oils

Why It Works:

The natural oils and butters leave the area feeling comforted and soft. The clays and baking soda help keep you dry and the essential oils used not only provide a nice scent, but they each do something.  For example, the peppermint essential oil is commonly used in natural skin care to treat itchiness and irritation.  Lavender is known for being soothing and antiseptic. Sweet orange oil can be used to help skin maintain smoothness.  This is particularly helpful in the underarm area since we find ourselves shaving it often. Bergamot is ideal for detoxification and toning. Tea tree is great for being antibacterial, too.

It's been very hot and humid here lately and I still feel confident using this lovely deodorant cream.  One thing I did when it was nearly 100 and super humid was add a tiny bit more in the late afternoon since I was going out at night and wanted to be sure I was smelling fresh.

Soapwalla Kitchen Deodorant Cream gets an easy A+ from Chic & Green.  It is worth every penny ($10) because it is natural, gentle, and it works.

I purchased this product on my own and it is now my go-to deodorant. It is one of those products that really, truly knocks my socks off. Check out Soapwalla Kitchen today and tell them C & G sent you on over.

Review: Reviva Labs Organic Cleansing Milk

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reviva Labs is an underrated brand in my eyes. I admit that until recently, it flew under the radar and I never had the urge to try it. Let's say that urge ended after the company sent me the two products I reviewed last month.

I was so impressed with the Firming Eye Serum and DMAE Firming Fluid that I knew I had to try more from the line.  A bit about the company--Reviva Labs essentially pioneered exfoliation in the United States. In the early 1970's, they brought their Light Skin Peel to health food stores and changed the way "peels" were thought of in the industry. Consumers didn't know much, if anything, about exfoliation at the time and their blend of salicylic acid, kaolin, and papaya enzyme became something others tried to replicate because of the effectiveness.

I am very, very picky about my facial cleansers. When I use a cleanser, I prefer a milky consistency.  It must be free of artificial fragrance, contain soothing aloe vera, and be gentle on my skin.  I have been using Reviva Labs Organic Cleansing Milk for two full weeks now.

Here are my impressions:

*Removes makeup, even mascara, very easily
*Gentle on my skin
*Moisturizing without being greasy
*Contains several organic floral waters and herbs
*Skin looks brighter
*Keeps summer oilies at bay

I love the ingredients in this product.  Right near the top of the ingredients list are flower waters of lavender and red raspberry.  Both are beneficial to the skin, and the raspberry contains tremendous antioxidant properties.  This gentle milky cleanser also contains certified organic herbs such as thyme, hibiscus, and chamomile.  Aloe vera is present, as is shea butter.  This product is wonderful and I will definitely repurchase.

This sells for $9.50 for a 4 ounce bottle and is a comparable price to cleansers from Alba, Burt's Bees and Kiss My Face, although I find this to be of higher quality and more gentle.

*I was sent this product for review at no cost. No promises were made to publish a review and all opinions--positive and negative--are my own.

The Monday Morning (Robin's Egg) Blues

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tom gave me a new bike last night. What a wonderful surprise! He knew I'd been looking for a vintage style cruiser, preferably in robin's egg blue and with whitewalls.

Last night I found this basket online too. It should be here by the end of the week and look extra pretty on my new ride:

I thought I'd show you some robin's egg blue finds on this Monday morning:


Antique rose plate from Love Me 2 Times Vintage


Loch Ness Mystery from Scotch Naturals water based nail polish  from Nature's Basin

Necklace from my shop, Loubird Handmade

Sign from KS Peddler

Cultivar cuff bracelet

Soap dish from Palette Royale

Vintage trash bin from Three Cornered Moon

Bubble Tea eye shadow from Everyday Minerals

C & G's Daily Eats

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Have you all checked out  Chic & Green's Daily Eats, which went live just a couple weeks back? If not, please do so. We also have a page on Facebook for you to follow. I knew that I would overcome my weight loss plateau and be able to eventually reach my ultimate goal if I forced myself to be accountable and the new blog does just that! I've lost 5.5 pounds so far and I am really feeling great.  If you have ever struggled with eating cleaner or with losing the last few pounds or if you are just looking for some healthy recipes, please head over to the new blog.


Chocolate Inspiration

While we were on vacation, we stopped at Hershey's Chocolate World. My favorite chocolate-related stop, however, was at Wilbur Chocolate Company in a beautiful town called Lititz. When you get out of the car and walk toward the Candy Americana Museum inside Wilbur Chocolate Co., all you can smell is the heavenly aroma of chocolate. That's not a bad thing to smell!

I found some gifts at Wilbur, from locally made chocolate soaps to Dutch-process cocoa.

I bought Pennsylvania made SAS Chocolate soaps--one in Almond Fudge, one in Chocolate Orange, and another in Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.  One if for me, another for my mom, and I gave one to my friend next door.

I also bought the Hot Fudge Heaven sauce for my mother, which I am sure she'll love!

I thought I'd look at Etsy today and give everyone some chocolate inspiration:

All Natural Cupcake Mix from Vintage Bakeshop

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies from Chocolate Star Shop

Chocolate covered caramel apples from Nikid (made nearby in Syracuse)

Cacao-O's from the Cacao Bakery

Vegan brownies from Vegan Propamanda

Cupcake in a jar from City Cupcakes

Hurry! 45% Off Deal!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I just have to tell you about a fabulous offer on the Very Jane site featuring my friend Tanvi Asher's Excessary line. I have some of her handmade bracelets and now you can get a special deal within the next 8 hours--3 bangles in your choice of colors for just $10:

I happily ordered a set yesterday and cannot speak highly enough of the workmanship of these bracelets.  Tanvi is a rising star in the fashion design field as well. Have you seen her Peppermint line of clothing? She also recently won 1st place in Weaving, Leather, and Textile Design at the renowned Corn Hill Arts Festival in Rochester last weekend.

Click  here to get your set of bangles handmade with love and care by Tanvi Asher. Offer ends tonight and you'll be saving 45%!

Ten Thousand Villages

One stop we made on our trip was to the large Ten Thousand Villages store in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  This is a town near Lancaster and also the town next to the Ten Thousand Villages World HQ.

I've mentioned items here before from Ten Thousand Villages because their items are offered on eBay's popular World of Good. It was great to see them in person as well.  What is so special about Ten Thousand Villages? According to their website, their mission is to "... create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term fair trading relationships."

Ten Thousand Villages is a member of the non-profit group called the Mennonite Central Committee and they create opportunities for artisans in these developing countries to make a fair wage and use that money for essentials such as food, healthcare, housing, and education.  They compensate workers in every aspect of the production of each project.   Ten Thousand Villages is also a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization.

When you walk into Ten Thousand Villages, it is almost like you are walking into what you'd picture Etsy being if Etsy were a store as opposed to an online marketplace.  There are artisanal soaps, jewelry, home goods, coffees, and so much more.

What did I find at Ten Thousand Villages?

I purchased this cheerful bangle set made by an artisan in India. This set was on the clearance rack and was just $6 for all three. The best part? When something is on clearance or reduced at Ten Thousand Villages, the artisan still is paid the full wage. This is so important.  I know we all love a bargain, but I think it is really crucial for the people to make a fair wage first and foremost.

I also found this robin's egg blue trinket box from Bangladesh.  It is actually comprised of handmade paper:

When we were leaving, Nick spied something he wanted to bring home as well.  Unfortunately, there would've been no room in the car:

Are you interested in learning more about handmade goods from artisans?  Please check out Ten Thousand Villages  today.

What I Learned on the Farm

Monday, July 18, 2011

I have had the chance in my life to visit Europe and travel from coast to coast exploring beautiful cities and states across the US. Our trip last week to the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, though, was quite possibly the best vacation I have ever had.

I've been to Lancaster a few times before. We also took the boys briefly on our way back from Washington a couple summers back. I've always loved the Lancaster area and knew the boys would too. I am NOT a back to nature, camping kind of girl.  I knew I wanted to do something different than our usual suite type of hotel, but I didn't want to miss things like air conditioning and a comfortable bathroom.

A few months back, I was reading about farm stays and was intrigued.  I was doing some research online and found Landis Farm in Manheim, PA. The website made the place sound really fun, especially for the kids. They could pet goats and rabbits, collect eggs each morning, go fishing, etc.

I admit, though, that I wasn't 100% sure I was making the right decision.  Being more than a couple miles from Wegmans, Target, and everything else left me a little antsy.  All of my worries left me the moment we turned down little Gochlan Road to reach Landis Farm.

First of all, I was struck by the beauty and charm of the main house and guest house. We stayed in the guest house, which was built in 1760 and retained all of its original charm yet had a modern kitchen, bathroom, satellite television (which we didn't use), and air conditioning. The house was immaculate and was just full of character.

We really enjoyed meeting Earl and Evelyn Landis, farm owners.  When we arrived, Evelyn was headed to the farmers market to stock our fridge with fresh fruits. There were several cereals, tea, coffee, milk, juice, and lots of things stocked for us to have at breakfast time.  There was also a bowl of brown eggs from the farm chickens in the fridge.  Earl told us all about the history of the farm and main house (also built in the 1760s). He even took the boys for a little "train" ride behind his tractor (OK, I went on the ride, too!):

I'll be telling you about the great things we saw and neat places we visited this week as well.  Today I just wanted to talk about the farm. I learned so much--about the importance of enjoying the crickets chirping and watching the boys chase fireflies.  The lawn was lit up with fireflies every night--something we don't see here regularly. I enjoyed unplugging for a while--not being attached to Twitter or Facebook or the blog....or to texts or to anything work-related. The simple joy of sitting with my boys in the massive tire swing was something I will forever treasure.  I've already taken great steps over the past couple years to spend less time "connected" and "plugged in" -- closing my skin care business was the best example, as it was truly the best decision for my family and continues to be.

Sitting outside at night on the porch rockers with Tom, some local cheese from a dairy, and wine was another. I think remembering to enjoy that quiet time with my husband is just as important. I got to know the Landis's two pygmy goats, Lucy and Ethel, visited with some friendly cows, pet the bunnies, and watched the boys gather fresh eggs each morning.  They loved to take their eggs to Evelyn at the main house:

This trip was relaxing, yet busy at the same time.  Our days were filled exploring, visiting attractions, riding an old steam train, horse & buggy, shopping, and more.  I'll be back tomorrow to talk to you about my favorite town visited on the trip, Lititz, PA.

Prem Soaps Giveaway Reminder

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do not forget to enter the fantabulous PREM SOAPS giveaway! Click here to enter! One super lucky C & G reader will soon win some vegan, handmade skin care from this Brooklyn-based company.

City|Life|Eats Visits Chic & Green

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I am excited to have Valerie from City|Life|Eats as our guest blogger today. I've known Valerie for several years now and was lucky enough to have the chance to meet her in person two years ago when we were in Washington. She's going to share a delicious recipe with us today.  When you're done reading, please do visit her wonderful blog!

Hi Chic and Green readers. It is such a pleasure to be guest blogging today.  I have read Karley’s blog since the very beginning, as we knew each other even before either of us started blogging, and I am so excited to be guest blogging here today.  

I initially wrote a beauty blog, but then decided I wanted to write about more topics, including mindful living, food, and clothes. My blog has gone through many changes over the years.  I kept blogging through a move from New York City to Washington, DC and at some point through it all, discovered I cannot eat gluten, dairy or eggs.  As a result, I started blogging about living with various food intolerances and restrictions. I still love to cook, try new recipes, and also pack a lunchbox of lunch and/or snacks almost every day.  I initially thought it might be fun to share the lunchboxes for a week, but the interest from readers was such that I ended up deciding to blog about lunchboxes five days a week.

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite recipes for a non-traditional, but deliciously satisfying and not too sweet Chocolate Cream.  It is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and refined-sugar-free.  I eat it on its own as a dessert or snack, but also use it to spread atop crackers or apple slices, or as the filling for tarts or pies (here is the recipe for the tart in the above picture).  

Below is the basic version of the Chocolate Cream, but I also like a slightly spicy Mexican Chocolate Mousse version.  Recipes like this Chocolate Cream are a nice reminder that no matter how many foods one has to avoid for whatever reason, there remains plenty of deliciousness available.    

Also, while the recipe calls for a food processor, you can make a “lazy” version with just a whisk – it will not be quite as smooth, but is a nice fast snack.

Chocolate Cream 

Makes about 1 ½ to 2 cups, enough for 3-4 servings, or to use as filling for a 10-inch tart or pie.
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 avocados, mashed (equivalent to 1 cup of avocado)
  • 2 Tbsps unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cacao (I used this raw kind but any unsweetened cacao will do)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 10 drops vanilla stevia (I like the NuNaturals alcohol-free kind, but SweetLeaf Stevia also carries a nice one)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Using a fork, poke holes into the sweet potato, wrap in foil and bake for approximately 60 minutes, until the sweet potato is caramelizing (technical term: gooey).  Remove potato from oven and allow to cool at least 2 hours or overnight. 

Once the sweet potato is completely cool, remove peel - you should end up with about 3/4 to 1 cup of sweet potato. Place peeled sweet potato with all other chocolate cream ingredients (avocado ranging to stevia, see above) in food processor or blender.  Blend or process until smooth.

Note: if you are making the chocolate cream for someone on a gluten-free diet, you will want to make sure that all the ingredients you use in this recipe are completely gluten-free, and therefore will need to check the labeling on the almond milk, vanilla extract, stevia, cinnamon and chocolate.  Most of these items are generally gluten-free, but it is always worth reading labels. 

Valerie blogs at  City|Life|Eats about food, life, work, and living with various food intolerances and a modified diet. Her lunchboxes and recipes are gluten-freedairy-free and often, but not exclusively, vegan.  You can subscribe to City|Life|Eats via RSS or email or connect with Valerie via Twitter or Facebook.

~Let's Talk Lavender with Larissa~

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today's guest post comes to us from blogger Larissa from Food....Life....Love. She's going to share some beautiful thoughts on lavender. Enjoy! And before we continue, I owe a huge thank you to Larissa for her post!

Many thanks to Karley and Chic and Green for inviting me to be a guest blogger while she is on vacation. I have big shoes to fill!

Years ago, my husband and I took an amazing vacation to France. We started in Paris then took a train to Aix-En-Provence where we bicycled through the French countryside, stopping at an old farmhouse for a cooking lesson and wine tasting. It was there that I developed my love of lavender. I loved walking through the markets and smelling all the dried lavender sachets, soaps and candles.

Lavender remains one of my favorite scents and I love buying homemade soap and other products made with fresh lavender. However, I am extremely fussy when it comes to my scents and prefer the authentic, natural smell over the fake perfumed lavender scent so prevalent these days. 

When purchasing my lavender products, I have the best luck at farm markets and small shops where products are made in-house.

Besides just smelling lovely, lavender has medicinal qualities. Essential oils made with lavender have both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Folk wisdom dictates that it can help soothe and heal insect bites and burns and also aids in easing headaches and insomnia. Personally, I find the scent to be a great stress reliever and you’ll often find a lavender candle burning in my home.

What most people don’t realize is that lavender can be used in cooking as well. Because the flowers produce such a high amount of nectar, bees can make a very high-quality honey from lavender plants which can be used in baking, marinades and to sweeten tea or other beverages.
Fresh flowers make a colorful addition to salads or a beautiful garnish for ice cream or sorbet. The spikes can be used just like fresh rosemary spikes for kabobs and lavender can be substituted for rosemary in bread recipes. I recently read a cookbook that suggested burying fresh lavender inside your sugar container and letting it sit for a few weeks. This allows the herb to infuse into the sugar and adds a unique flavor in cookies, cakes and other baked goods.

To celebrate summer, here is a refreshing lavender lemonade recipe that I plan to make with the plant I bought at the farmer’s market last weekend.

2 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups chopped lavender leaves
A second 2 ½ cups water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Take the first 2 ½ cups of water and the sugar and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Add the lavender and allow the mixture to cool. Strain the lavender and add the mixture to a pitcher. Stir in the second 2 ½ cups water and lemon juice. Stir and add more sugar if needed. Chill and serve over ice.

Cooking is all about experimenting, trying new flavors and recipes and trying a new herb like lavender is a great way to do this. My blog is Food…Life…Love so please feel free to stop by in your free time and read about my adventures in the culinary world.

A very important note: Before using any fresh lavender, check with your farm or garden center to make sure the flowers were not treated with pesticides. Your best bet is to purchase a certified organic plant.

The SCA of 2011: An Interview with Stacy Malkan

Friday, July 8, 2011

Last summer, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 was a heated topic.  There were those who made the issue consumer protection and safety into a "government vs. small business" type of issue when it was anything but.  When the bill was introduced, I made no secret that I was a strong supporter of the new guidelines. 

I was fortunate enough then to be able to speak with Stacy Malkan about this issue back then.  Stacy is the co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the author of Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty IndustryI am pleased to have been able to speak with her once again about the newly introduced Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011

Thank you to Stacy for stopping by and taking the time to speak with my readers about this very important issue!

Karley: Would you briefly explain to our readers why H.R. 2539 (The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011) is so important?

Stacy: Current cosmetic regulations are from 1938 and allow chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other illnesses to be put into body-care products with no required safety studies. We need to modernize the law and bring the FDA into the 21st century so it can do the job Americans expect it to do of ensuring the safety of the products we put on our bodies.

Karley: Last summer, I spoke with you about my own feelings on the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 and why I felt it needed to be passed. What is the main difference between the 2010 and 2011 versions?

Stacy: We're very pleased with the new version of the bill. The bill sponsors worked hard to address the concerns of small businesses and ensure the bill is workable and helpful for small businesses. Most notably, the bill exempts small businesses from fee and registration requirements, and clarifications were made to the labeling and contaminants sections. Here’s more information about the bill will impact businesses, including a chart of changes that were made from the previous bill:

Karley:  As a mom, I get especially frustrated when I see "natural" baby products full of toxins when you look at the list. When you look at the ingredients, though, you see most are anything but. What bothers you as a consumer the most about the cosmetics industry as it is now?

Stacy: It's outrageous that products labeled "pure" "gentle" and "for sensitive skin" -- including baby shampoos -- contain carcinogens and allergens, which are often not even listed on labels. Consumers are being deceived by this industry big time. The good news is that there are many wonderful companies making safe products, but it's challenging for consumers to find the best products in this unregulated "anything goes" market. The Safe Cosmetics Act will level the playing field for companies and give consumers the information they need to make the best choices.

Karley:  A comment I hear often is that our cosmetics are already safe--that we live in the United States and the FDA makes sure our products are safe. Is this true?

Stacy:  The FDA has very little authority to do anything to ensure safe cosmetics. In the US, it is legal for companies to put nearly any chemical into personal care products with no required safety studies. FDA can't even require recalls of unsafe cosmetic products. For example, when the Chicago Tribune discovered high, illegal levels of mercury in skin lightening creams, the FDA couldn’t take the products off the market.

Another example is Brazilian Blowout, a hair product found to contain high levels of formaldehyde. The product was banned in other countries last year but is still being used in salons across the US, because it's legal here for cosmetic companies to use unlimited amounts of formaldehyde, a chemical that is known to cause cancer.

Karley:  Last year, there was a huge uproar over the impact of the SCA and small businesses. I read a great piece by Rebecca Hamilton from Badger about how the current SCA is actually a good thing for small business. Would you agree?

Stacy:  Absolutely. I think this is one of the smartest bills we've seen in Congress in a long time. The Safe Cosmetics Act will make the fundamental changes necessary to modernize the FDA and shift the cosmetics industry as a whole toward safer ingredients, which will benefit everyone in the long run. At the same time, it protects small businesses, many of which are already making the safest products. 

There is a huge and vibrant small business community -- literally tens of thousands of people -- who are making their living or part of their living by selling personal care products. Many of them were motivated by their own health issues or because they couldn't find the quality products they wanted. This bill will ensure the continuation and growth of those economic opportunities.

Karley:  A point I keep hearing is that this is a matter of choice–that consumers can choose to avoid products with toxins in them. Something I notice frequently on this blog is that when I post about ingredients, people will write to me and say they had no idea that these things are in beauty products. I really believe that we’re not being our own best advocates here–many people simply do not understand the ramifications of what they apply to their skin. Is this simply a matter of choosing to avoid bad products?

Stacy: Consumers have no free choice in a market where it's legal for companies to hide the toxicity of their products and even the ingredients in them. The big companies are adamantly against transparency, and we expect this will be the key fight over the Safe Cosmetics Act. Some companies don't want to disclose fragrance ingredients and they don't want consumers to know about the contamination problems that are rampant with the outdated chemical formulas they are using -- for example, the fact that many children's bath products are contaminated with carcinogens like formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane. (

Q: I love artisan-made items, but I am very troubled when I am on Etsy or similar sites and look at the ingredients listings and see products are labeled with simply "paraben-free preservative" or "natural surfactant" without an actual ingredient being listed. Will the new guidelines affect small handmade sellers as well so full disclosure is followed?

Stacy:  Yes small sellers will still have to follow the rules and fully label their products. In the meantime, consumers have to be our own advocates. I encourage people to ask questions of these companies, demand to know what's in their products, and buy products only from companies you trust.

Karley:   If you had to list the 5 worst cosmetics ingredients still allowed in the USA today, what would they be?

Stacy:  It's hard to list just five! But here are some of the worst:

Formaldehyde -- The crazy high levels of formaldehyde found in hair straighteners in the US aren't allowed in other countries.

Formaldehyde releasing preservatives like quaternium 15 and diazlolidinyl urea -- there's no reason for companies to be using formaldehyde preservatives in 2011; there are many better options.

Coal tar -- this known carcinogen is still used in dandruff shampoos sold in the US

Hydroquinone -- a very nasty chemical used in skin lightening creams and some high-end face creams.

Fragrance -- a mix of mystery chemicals that is likely to include phthalates, which are linked to sperm damage and infertility. Until companies agree to disclose fragrance chemicals and phase out phthalates, it's wise to avoid any product with the word "fragrance" on the label.

What You Can Do:

A huge thank you again to Stacy Malkan for talking with us today! I also would like you to check out The Story of Cosmetics, a great video about the cosmetics industry. If you'd like to help make sure the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 passes, please click here to let your Congressman know that this is of importance to you.
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