What’s In Your Products?

Collection of bottles of health and beauty products
Recently we’ve been hearing a lot about harmful ingredients in health and beauty products. Many of us listen but dismiss this. We shouldn’t be. Every day we expose ourselves to potential toxins, chemicals, and harmful ingredients. Many of the products sitting in your bathrooms right now have the potential to negatively impact your health and the health of your family.
In a recent study from the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University, 100 Latina girls between the ages of 14 to 18 stopped using their regular health and beauty products for three days. Instead they used products free of suspected endocrine disruptors such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3).
Both pre and post intervetion urine was measured for the suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals. After 3 days, the girls urine was tested again for levels of phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3, all ingredients found in many health and beauty products.
The results showed decreases of these ingredients in their urine after only three days of replacing conventional products with products free of these ingredients:
 
  • 43.9 percent down in levels of methyl and propyl paraben. Parabens are preservatives widely used in many cosmetics, shampoo, and lotion.
  • 35.7 percent down in triclosan. This is an antibacterial chemical that is common in liquid antibacterial hand soap, dish-washing detergent, toothpaste, face wash and deodorant. Triclosan has been linked to the disruption of thyroid and reproductive hormones in animal studies and has been found in human breast milk, blood, and urine (Triclosan, 2010).
  • 27.4 percent down in mono-ethyl phthalates. Phthalates, common industrial plasticizers, are present in some nail polish and fragrances.

Source: Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure, 2016

This is why I’m so passionate about educating others about what is in their products.
This does not only affect teenage girls, this affects all of us.
 Women on average use 10 to 12 different health and beauty products daily on our biggest organ, our skin. This means we are potentially exposing ourselves to 168 different chemicals each day.
Parabens have been shown to be oestrogenic, having an effect on female hormones, and have been detected in human breast tumor tissue (Endocrine, 2004). Phthalic acid esters (PAEs), used in a wide range of products, have been shown to adversely affect male reproduction and potentially affect fetal development (Potential Adverse Effects, 2007). Phthalates have been shown to possibly affect pregnancy outcome, puberty, respiratory health, and neuro-development (Exposure to Phthalates, 2011).
Each product we use has the potential to adversely affect our health since the U.S. does not have major regulations to ensure ingredient or product safety in the same ways other countries do. The United States has only banned 11 ingredients to date in personal care products, while the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,300 ingredients.
This concerns me. But it doesn’t mean I’m helpless to make changes for myself or my family. There are things you can do.
So what can we do?
Start replacing the products you use everyday with safer alternatives. This can be done in several ways. Using the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database you can search more than 60,000 products for their potential impact and get tips for what to look for in safer products.
You can also purchase products from companies that care about safer products and have taken it as their mission to carefully select products.

Some of my favorite safer companies for health and beauty products:


  • Beautycounter who has banned more than 1,500 ingredients in order to set a new standard for health and safety without sacrificing performance. Beautycounter has a full line of make-up in addition to offering skin care, bath and body products, sun protection, plus a kids and baby collection. Most Beautycounter products are nut and soy free, and they are all gluten free.
  • Fatco (formerly FatFace) uses pressed plant oils and tallow from grass fed-cows (full of nourishing vitamins A, D, E, and K) in their products. The use of tallow promotes head-to-tail use of the whole animal. FatCo has not only my favorite deodorant Stank Stop, they have body and baby butta, cleansing oil, toner and more.
  • Primal Life Organics carries chemical free skin care including my favorite toothpowder and a wide range of personal care and beauty products.
  • Primal Pit Paste for not only deodorant put PoPo Body Powder (you know for the ‘boys’).
  • The Dirt for other toothpaste replacements such as tooth powder and my kids favorite MCT Oil Toothpaste.
  • Uncle Harry’s has a wide range of products such as mouth care, skin care, and hair care.

Full disclosure: I am a consultant for Beautycounter and participate in the affiliate program for FatCo. So yes, I do get paid if you use my links to purchase products from their sites. However, I became a consultant and an affiliate because I used the products first and fell in love with not only how well they performed but the mission behind each company. They are at the top of my list because they are my personal favorites and the ones that I order from the most for myself and my family. This is why I recommend them to you and use their products to educate others on what was discussed in this post, the potential harm from using conventional products with questionable ingredients. I believe in safer products and education to help shift the health of everyone.

Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.
Beautycounter. You deserve better beauty.

Resources

  • Banned in Europe, Safe in the US. (2014). Retrieved from http://ensia.com/features/banned-in-europe-safe-in-the-u-s/
  • Endocrine disrupters and human health: could oestrogenic chemicals in body care cosmetics adversely affect breast cancer incidence in women? (2004). Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.978/abstract;jsessionid=5D238C0A8EACE76116477E348728C529.f02t03
  • Exposure to phthalates: Reproductive outcome and children health. A review of epidemiological studies. (2011). Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.2478/s13382-011-0022-2

  • International Laws, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/regulations/international-laws/
  • Potential adverse effects of phthalic acid esters on human health: A review of recent studies on reproduction. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230007001316

  • Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure from Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study. (2016). Retrieved from http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10514/

  • Triclosan exposure modulates estrogen-dependent responses in the female wistar rat. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20562219

Fruit Gummies Recipe

Blueberry and Coconut Water GummiesGelatin not only makes for some fun gummy treats, it’s excellent as a daily dietary supplement. The collagen in gelatin is great for tightening loose skin when ingested (the collagen proteins in gelatin are too large to be absorbed by the skin, so external collagen creams are useless) and some people claim it helps with cellulite. While I’m not sure about the cellulite, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Gelatin supports healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. It also supports a healthy digestive system and it’s great for your joints and can help ease recovery post workout. Gelatin does contain protein, but it is not a good source of pre or post workout protein. Although the amino acids in gelatin do help support better sources of protein, such as meat, in helping to build muscle.

In other words, fruit gummies are not only a great daily treat for yourself or your children, they are good for you too!

I prefer to use Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin (with the green lid) when making gummies. Why Vital Proteins? Vital Proteins gelatin gives the most consistent results for making gummies. Other gelatins do not set up as well as Vital Proteins, which is why it is my first choice for gelatin to make gummies. My second choice is Great Lakes Gelatin in the red or orange cans. Great Lakes gelatin works well, but does not always set firmly making it hard to use in silicone molds. It also has a tendency to clump into hard nearly impossible to remove chunks which can be a hassle or it can work perfectly. You never know. Store brand and name brand gelatins located in the grocery store come from unknown sources, often from animals that are not healthy or raised in commercial feedlots not pastures. This results in collagen and gelatin that is not as healthy as what comes from Vital Proteins or Great Lakes. Vital Proteins gelatin is sourced from pasture raised cows resulting in gelatin that is great for the health of your hair, skin, nails, and gut.

There are other ways to get your daily gelatin intake other than tasty gummies. Vital Proteins also has collagen peptides (with the blue lid), which do not gel up in warm or cold liquid. This makes it perfect for adding to coffee or a smoothie. I add mine to my post workout protein powder in addition to having a scoop in my morning green vegetable juice. Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate, in the green can does not gel in cold liquids just like the Vital Proteins collagen peptides, making it another option to get your daily intake of gelatin.

Lego Silicone MoldsOkay, back to the gummies. I used silicone molds, from Michaels, to make the batch of blueberry and coconut gummies in the photos. But I’ve also used Lego man and Lego brick molds and dinosaur molds. Check out the Gelatin Gummies section of my Amazon store to find links to purchase the molds I’ve used (they also have Hello Kitty, Star Wars, Robots, Dr. Who, and yes even bear molds!). You can also make gummies in a glass baking dish and just cut them into squares to enjoy. The silicone molds are 100% optional fun.

The basic fruit gummies recipe below can be altered in many ways depending on what fruit and liquid you want to use. The basic gummies recipe requires approximately 2 to 2 ½ cups of liquid, not including the 1 cup of cold water the gelatin blooms in and the lemon juice. This means you can mix up the recipe to make any number of flavor combinations. I’ve made gummies with alcohol before for adult party treats as well as gummies with fruit for the kids. The possibilities are endless. To get you started, here are some suggestions for flavor combinations for the fruit and liquid portion of the recipe below:

  • 2 cups blueberries, ¾ cup coconut water
  • 2 cups raspberries, ¾ cup water, 1 Tablespoon Raspberry Honey
  • 2 cups mango, ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups of Red Roobios tea
  • 1 ½ cups champagne, ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 cups kombucha, any flavor

Fruit Gummies Recipe

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold Water
  • 6 Tablespoons Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin/Collagen Protein (Green lid)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen Berries or Fruit, measure before blending into a puree (Optional to strain if using berries to remove seeds)
  • ¾ cup Liquid (water, no sugar fruit juice, champagne, coconut water, etc.)
  • Juice of two Lemons
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup or Honey
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add collagen protein to cold water. Stir and set aside to bloom while preparing fruit mixture. The collagen will start to set in the water as it blooms, this is expected.
  2. Puree chosen berries or fruit in a blender with liquid of your choice and lemon juice.
  3. Pour pureed fruit mixture and optional Maple Syrup or Honey into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until warm, about 3-5 minutes. Do not boil.
  4. Use a spatula to loosen collagen protein from bowl and break into four smaller portions. Add bloomed collagen protein to fruit mixture in sauce pan carefully to prevent splashing.
  5. Stir mixture slowly until all collagen protein has melted into the fruit mixture.
  6. There are two options on how collagen protein can set, in a glass baking dish (Step 7) or silicone molds (Step 8)
  7. Glass baking dish- Pour gummy mixture into an 8x8 glass baking dish and allow to set in the refrigerator for 60 to 90 minutes or until firm. Cut into small squares and enjoy.
  8. Silicone molds- Place molds on a cookie sheet or cutting board for easy transfer to refrigerator, mixture will make 3 to 4 dozen gummies based on the size and depth of silicone molds used. Transfer half of mixture into a measuring cup with a pouring spout, such as a Pyrex measuring cup. Pour slowly into the molds. Repeat with remaining half of mixture. Place cookie sheets or cutting boards with molds in the refrigerator and allow to set for 60 to 90 minutes until firm. Remove gummies from molds and enjoy.
  9. Gummies can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.

For more on the benefits of gummies and collagen:


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Hair Diaries: The One!

Just Natural SkincareI tried no poo and it was a failure, for me. I tried a raw made from plant botanicals brand in an effort to get the strong shiny hair I seek. While the raw products are excellent products, that my family continues to use and I continue to recommend and support, it wasn’t right for my hair. So I moved on and lo and behold, just like in a relationship, the next one to come along in the hair diaries natural hair care saga was The One!

The one turned out to be from Just Natural Hair and Skincare. Just Natural products are sulfate, paraben, alcohol, chemical, and gluten free. Made from non GMO, vegan, natural and organic ingredients that are not tested on animals. Just Natural uses the “purest plant oils, butters, botanical extracts and essentials from the best that nature has to offer.”  Their products are effective and natural, just what I was looking for. Plus the bottles of shampoo and conditioner I purchased 21 weeks ago and have used ever since still haven’t run out!

Having color treated hair I went with the Color Care Natural Shampoo and the Color Care Natural Conditioner. The shampoo is sulfate-free, salt-free, paraben-free and silicone-free to protect and preserve your hair color longer while gently cleansing the hair with oils, that also result in shiny non-greasy hair. The conditioner helps to give softness to the hair with seed oils and butters but also nourishes the hair so it is stronger and manageable without build-up. The claims are all true. My hair is shiny and healthy while the color in my hair sticks around. Which isn’t an easy task as I have tough color to maintain with my purple streak and the red tones for the rest of my hair. My stylist, who often has pink hair herself, was amazed at how vibrant the color in my hair stays between colorings once I started using this product. The added bonus of only washing my hair 3 times a week now is an excellent time saver too.

I tried the Natural Shine Polish too that uses lots of natural oils such as Meadowfoam, Olive, Daikon, Jojoba, and Fennel Seed oils to tame frizz, repair damage, restore moisture, and add shine. A little shine polish goes a long way. And I mean a little teeny bit. Otherwise I find my hair is weighed down and looks a little greasy. But a little bit is magic on those days between washes when I need a little extra something.

I also grabbed the Daily Moisturizing Body Wash, because why not? I love this stuff! It cleanses my skin gently without leaving it dry. Plus it has a gentle fresh and clean scent from the Orange Blossom, Tangerine and Bergamot oils.

Just Natural also has chemical free products for kids hair and kids body washes. There are products for people with every hair type imaginable – dry, extremely dry, oily, itchy, thin, color treated, relaxed, pre-relaxed, hair loss, mens hair. etc.  They also carry skin products such as butters, creams, lotions, anti-aging potions, and so much more. The product line is massive but everything I’ve tried so far has been beyond great. I look forward to ordering something new each time I place an order because I want to try it all.

Hair diaries success at last!

FATface Skincare

Hair Diaries: On To The Next One

Princess AnnaI gave no poo a good shot. I tried cleansing my hair with a combination of baking soda and vinegar rinses. For several reasons no poo doesn’t always work for everyone. It might be the water in your house, that you are doing no poo too often, or you haven’t given it enough time. But after 4 weeks of greasy nasty hair I gave up. So it’s on to the next one.

The Morrocco Method products I had reserved for later, from my first go at no poo, were pulled out of the bathroom cabinet to an upgraded space in the shower.

Morrocco Method products are raw, vegan, gluten and soy free, and made from pure plant botanicals. They offer natural shampoos, conditioners, styling products, henna to color your hair, and more. Their products can even be used for your pets because they do not contain any chemicals, plus they are never tested on animals.

What did I try? I grabbed the 5 Shampoo Sample Pack, Trial Travel Set of 6 Conditioners, and the Blood of the Dragon Styling Gel because it has a cool name. After trying out the shampoo trial pack and the conditioners, I purchased a full size bottle of Sea Essence Shampoo and Pearl Essence Cream Rinse to really give it a good trial as the sample shampoos are only good for one and a half shampoos with long hair.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the smell of the shampoos and conditioners, it’s very earthy and natural smelling. There are understandably no lovely fragrances added, keeping true to their pure plant botanicals and no chemicals line. The color of the shampoos is a muddy brown and they get the job done of cleaning my scalp. In fact my scalp never felt so clean and invigorated in my whole life. But my hair was just off. It wasn’t soft, manageable, and healthy looking after 4 weeks of use which is what I’m looking for in addition to using natural products. It isn’t the Morrocco Method products though, the products are excellent but not for my hair type (frizzy, colored, tends towards dry and breakage at times, naturally curly/wavy, and long).

The shampoo and conditioner got my 10 year old daughters straight shoulder length and hormonally greasy hair to be clean, non-greasy, soft, and vibrant. While the Blood of the Dragon Styling Gel got the 7 year old daughters long, straight, ragamuffin if you don’t do something with it hair, to hold a braid well and be shiny. I continue to use the Diamond Crystal Mist Conditioner & Moisturizer and Sapphire Volumizer Mist spray-on conditioners to dry hair on non-shampoo days to add shine and detangle. I also really like the Euro Natural Oil to deep condition my hair overnight before a shampoo morning. Especially on the ends of my hair, that can get a little rough looking despite being trimmed every 8 weeks. Purple hair don't care

Overall I was pleased with and liked the products. I came away with some great spray-on conditioners for myself and products that work wonderfully for the girls hair. I’ve heard great things about their henna to color your hair if you want to use a natural method to dye your hair. I haven’t elected to go down that route, yet. In fact I added a purple highlight to my hair this past weekend in a it’s so not natural hair color brand, although the other hair color my stylist uses on my hair at least doesn’t contain ammonia.

It’s back to testing and trying another product in the search for the shiny healthy strong hair I seek.

And now for the disclaimer: The products above and linked to in this post are ones I’ve used or suggest. I did not receive any financial compensation or product for recommending any brand or product in this post. These are my personal recommendations or items I purchase for myself or my family. Nourish to Fuel did not receive any compensation for recommending products in this post. In other words, my opinion was not bought. It’s my own from personal experience. With that noted, Nourish to Fuel is now an affiliate for Morrocco Method, because I support their products. Purchasing through the link on the website will give Nourish to Fuel a small commission which supports the blog.

 

Morrocco Method

Oil Cleansing Works…It Works Really Well

Fatface SkincareMy adventures in natural health and beauty products have been met with success in deodorant and struggles in no poo hair care, but I was not very optimistic about changing my facial care routine. I loved the products cluttering my bathroom dearly and had a whole wish list of new products to try, but each product was full of chemicals. In trying to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from my beauty routine, I knew I needed to try something else. I kept reading about oil cleansing but was very hesitant to put oil on my oily skin. After all, I would go through Biore oil blotting cloths like a madwoman until I ran out and resorted to dabbing my face with paper towels in the bathroom several times per day. Then I tried oil cleansing, just to say I tried it and it didn’t help. How wrong I was. Oil cleansing works and it works really well.

I’ve loved clothes and fashion magazines for as long as I can remember. I once challenged myself in high school to wear a different outfit everyday for as many days as I could, I got to almost 60 days before I had a repeat. Before I lost all the weight, I couldn’t wear the clothes I so adored from the magazines, but I could wear the shoes, carry the bags, and I certainly could purchase the beauty products. And purchase them I did. In abundance, as evidenced by the lack of space in our master bathroom. I bought every interesting product I read about to combat acne, non-existent wrinkles, dry skin, oily skin, you name it I tried it. Yet even with all my products and ritual daily use of a clarisonic brush, I was still breaking out, my skin was still oily and dull, and at times very dry. Complaining about my skin to my esthetician during a every 4 weeks on the dot eyebrow wax, she asked me what my routine was. After listing the 5 or 6 products I used in the morning and the similar number I used before bed, she stated maybe I should simplify my routine.

My estheticians comments came right before I purchased FATface Skincare’s Stank Stop  to try on my pits. I decided to purchase a sample size of their cleansing oil for oily skin when I ordered Stank Stop for the first time. I didn’t try it at first though, because the thought of putting oil on my skin still freaked me out. I spent so much time trying to get rid of the oil I just couldn’t fathom putting more on. I read a comment about chemistry that “like dissolves like” and had my lightbulb facial care moment. In order to get rid of the oil on my face, so my skin can manage it’s own oil production at a normal rate instead of in overdrive, I needed to try putting oil on my skin. So I tried it.

And it worked. It worked really well. The night after using FATface cleansing oil for the first time I woke up with super soft skin. In 2 weeks of nightly use I had fewer breakouts and no longer needed to escape to the bathroom to dab excess oil from my face. My skin is brighter and at times glowing. Using oil on my face worked so well I added the FATface Myrrhaculous Face Cream to my routine for additional moisturizer (hello beef tallow) and organic rosehip oil (rosehip oil is in the Myrrhaculous Face Cream as well, I use extra) to combat the few old acne scars I have. That’s it. I went from using 10 to 12 products on my face in one day to 3, just 3. 3 products I use only before bedtime. I rinse my face in the morning with cold water and my skin looks so much better than before.

So much better that when our 10 year old started to get oily skin and break outs on her nose, I had her try washing with FATface cleansing oil too. If it worked on my skin, I thought it would be worth a try for hers. She loves putting the cleansing oil on her skin and using a hot washcloth to wipe it away. She rubs the excess oil onto her neck and her hands and now holding her hand is extra amazing because she has the softest hands ever! Seriously. While she still has a few hormonal breakouts on her nose, the rest of her skin looks pore-less and luminescent.

Needless to say my fashion magazine obsession has not cooled down and I still read about all the new beauty products. I no longer have a desire to purchase them all. My new routine is much simpler, quicker, and easy to follow, but has much better results than anything else I’ve tried. I finally got the results I wanted from oil cleansing and now I get space in the bathroom too as I clear out the old products I will never go back to using.

While I elected to use pre-made natural products, you can create your own recipe for oil cleansing. For more information on oil cleansing, including where to purchase the items I use and a recipe to make your own cleansing oil, check out the following links.

 

And now for the disclaimer: The products above and linked to in this post are ones I’ve used or suggest. I did not receive any financial compensation or product for recommending any brand or product in this post. These are my personal recommendations or items I purchase for myself or my family. Nourish to Fuel does not receive any compensation for recommending products in this post. In other words, my opinion was not bought. It’s my own from personal experience. With that noted, Nourish to Fuel is now an affiliate for FATface Skincare because I believe in their products so much. Purchasing through the link on the website will give Nourish to Fuel a small commission which supports the blog. 

FATface Skincare