Natural Living Blog

confused shopper

The Natural Living Blog offers even more information to help you enjoy a healthier more natural lifestyle. Natural and green living is an ever changing subject.

There is always something new to learn and new products to check out.

On this blog you will find:

  • shopping suggestions for safe, natural and organic products
  • tips and product reviews from myself and others
  • updates and new page additions
  • my own personal journey making natural living a part of my life
  • and sometimes fun videos and images I hope you will enjoy.

  • Light Mountain Natural Red Henna (Fox on the box)

    After a bad chemical burn over the winter from a salon color I decided it was time to research an alternative that would give me great coverage, soft hair,

    Continue reading "Light Mountain Natural Red Henna (Fox on the box)"

    Earthtastic! Home of the Vegan Lip Balm with Nut-Free Ingredients!

    Handmade made right out of a small town in Washington State by a stay-at-home Mom, Cassidy features a modest, but lovely variety of all natural (and mostly

    Continue reading "Earthtastic! Home of the Vegan Lip Balm with Nut-Free Ingredients!"

    Hair Color Safety So Many Questions

    More than anything else I get questions about hair color. I thought it might be helpful to address a couple of these questions here instead of by e-mail.

    question marks

    Terri and Manzoor asked about chemical free hair color. Thank you both for writing.

    Terri. You had questions about toulene being used to replace ppd.

    I discovered this too when I used a product that was ppd free and had a bad reaction. I found out that the ppd was replaced by 4-toluenediamine an ingredient that provides similar functions. It is thought to be safer. Let's face it unless you are using something with only botanical hair color there are going to be chemicals involved so there may always be questions about chemical safety.

    This complicates things when you discover the replacement is a problem too. According to a blog post written for Natural Living For Women by Organic Color Systems "What you may not be aware of is this: it takes almost 80%-120% more PTDs to achieve the same result as PPDs. Many allergic to PPDs also adversely react to PTDs and have found out the hard way."

    Now, Manzoor's question was because he had developed a sensitivity to hair color and was looking for something without chemicals. I too experience itching and burning so I know what you mean.

    If totally chemical free is the goal then a few products to check out are:

    Aubrey Organics Color Me Natural

    Only two colors available, one dark brown, one mahogany but no synthetic chemicals of any kind. Never used this but reviews on Aubrey Organics site were overall good. They do suggest contacting them before using on hair that is more than 20% grey.

    Palette By Nature
    Palette by Nature
    100% plant based ingredients. I have used this one and wrote a review of Palette by Nature. I was pleased with my results but as I mentioned in my review it seems those with dark hair were not as happy. They have a men’s product to blend grey away.


    Consider henna but choose the right product, those without added chemicals, especially if darker or warmer colors work for you. I know for some henna sounds less than appealing or like too much work but there are many women who do like the results and it allows them to keep coloring their hair safely. At least check it out. I provide some resources on my natural hair color page. Just click on the link below.

    I hope this helps.

    Continue reading "Hair Color Safety So Many Questions"

    When Shopping Think Slow Fashion

    Have you heard the term slow fashion? Yes, no... ? Well, I suppose it could be thought of as similar to the slow food movement where how and where the food is produced is as important as taste. In this case there is thought given to where and how clothing is produced. It's a new term that was coined a few years ago and seems to be gaining some ground in the fashion industry.

    It’s unfortunate but much of our clothing is made fast. More thought goes into the design then the manufacturing which is often done as quickly and inexpensively as possible without much thought to the actual process or where the materials come from. It’s just how the fashion industry has done things in the past but maybe things are starting to change a bit.

    clothing designer

    But what does it mean to us as we shop? Certainly it means paying attention to fabrics and choosing more sustainable ones and buying fair made or clothing not made in sweatshops. It would be great if we could all did this but as we all know often this type of clothing is more expensive and harder to find. If you can’t afford or find it then what?

    That doesn't mean slow fashion can't be something we all could get behind. Slow fashion is also about quality and durability. Simply by choosing quality over quantity and buying less of the inexpensively made latest trends (You know the ones cute and cheap but poorly made and don't last long.) If more of your clothing purchases were bought with an eye to buying something that will last as well as being cute it's much better all around.

    Just Say “No” To The Cheap T-Shirt

    You know the ones. They're in stores everywhere. T- shirts are a must have for most wardrobes at any time of the year and so tempting when you can buy a bunch of them inexpensively. For some people I know they are a disposable part of their wardrobe. It doesn’t matter that they don’t last, they are just tossed or donated and replaced with little expense to the shopper but at what cost to the environment or those who labor to produce them. Our buying creates a demand for these cheaper products but as we shop we could create a demand for better quality and better conditions.

    clothing designer

    Try the just do one thing approach. Buy just one item that might be considered slow fashion. I know you’ve heard it before but it does make a difference and it raises awareness so who knows what we could accomplish.

    Easy tips to slow fashion:

  • Buy less.
  • Choose quality.
  • Pick one or two fashion trends to follow.
  • Buy clothes that will work for many seasons.
  • Check out resale and consignment shops, often high quality at great prices.
  • Re-think some of the clothes you already own.
  • History Of Makeup In A Nutshell

    Want to learn a little about the history of makeup? Check this page out for some interesting and downright bizarre beauty trends of the past.

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    Best Mineral Makeup For Natural Living Women

    How do you find the safest and best mineral makeup when there are so many brands to choose from? I have a few suggestions which should help make this easier.

    Continue reading "Best Mineral Makeup For Natural Living Women"

    Rethinking Sunless Tanning Products

    For anyone who has used self tanners recent findings of the dangers of an ingredient, DHA, used in all products even the natural sunless tanners is bad news.

    DHA was approved by the FDA back in the 70's but new findings are questioning it's safety. Initially, the concern was for the fine mist from the tanning spray entering the body through the eyes, nose or mouth but there is also some concern that this ingredient may be making it's way below the top layers of the skin which is where it was thought to remain and into deeper skin layers allowing for possible penetration into the blood stream.

    mist from spray

    At the time it was used mainly in creams and lotions where inhalation was not a factor but spray on tans became popular and because of prior FDA approval it was still thought to be safe.

    Another issue that cropped up was confusion about the kind of DHA used. There are two kinds of DHA, docosahexaenoic acid which is an edible omega 3 fatty acid and dihydroxyacetone which is the DHA in question used for tanning. At least one tanning company has admitted mistakenly referring to the DHA used in their product as the fatty acid dha and is making changes.

    To make matters worse in an article written by ABC News a recent study of tanning salons found that many of them told their clients that extra protection like eye guards and nose plugs are not necessary but new guidelines recommended by the FDA should be implemented as salon owners receive more info. They include:

    use of protective undergarments
    use of nose filters
    use of lip balm
    use of protective eyewear

    If you decide to continue self tanning sprays make sure these are things your salon provides. These also make good guidelines when using tanning sprays at home.

    New findings are questioning the safety of DHA in any product spray or cream. As far as I can tell, DHA is the only ingredient being used to darken the skin so until we know more use precautions. Consider minimizing use or avoiding self tanning completely especially if you are pregnant. Embrace a paler look. Now I'm on board with a paler look but I know that's not what many women want to hear. Do keep in mind though that a little daily sun exposure is a good thing.

    Also, check out mineral bronzers. I've achieved some pretty results with Jane Iredale Bronzers. They give the skin a nice healthy glow and her products are safe and cruelty free.

    jane iredale bronzer

    What Will You Do About Your Neck?

    I was reading about a product specifically meant for my v-zone. In case you don't know, I certainly didn't, it's a forgotten area of skin on our bodies. An area of skin up high not to be confused with another v-zone down lower. Apparently we have two areas. I did a search for v-zone and according to search results we have two. Who knew?

    Kidding aside the v-zone mentioned is the skin from your chin down to your chest and yes I think many of us are neglecting this area of skin and I'm not sure why but it's something we need to change.

    I've been trying to take good care of this area for years now. Images of youthful faces with aging necks was my motivation. I am hoping the extra care will pay off.

    For me including my neck and upper chest in my beauty routine was just a matter of first remembering (face and upper neck was all I did) and then making it a habit. I treat this area in the same way I do my face - cleanse, moisturize, protect, exfoliation and masks. I like homemade exfoliants and masks. The other products are usually store bought. Products that are meant specifically for this area seem to focus on firming, tightening and helping to reduce the lines the same as many products we use on our face.

    If you get on this before you wake up one morning and look in the mirror and say "What happend to my neck?" all the better. Just get into the habit early and take good care of the whole area from your forehead to your upper chest.

    If you are beginning to see aging use products like serums and moisturizers that firm and tone. I find they work quite well but as I mentioned there are products specifically meant for this area. Below are two from some of my favorite brands:

    devita neck serum

    sanre neck serum

    Devita Neck Serum

    SanRe Organic Skinfood

    Perhaps one of the best ways to prevent aging in this area is by using sunscreen. Here is where I treat this area different. I use regular sunscreen from my neck down and save my more expensive facial sunscreen just for my face.

    Get into the habit of taking care of all your skin and hopefully no turkey neck for you.

    Get Your Spring Cleaning On But Do It Safely

    My major cleaning efforts are hit or miss. When the mood hits I go with it no matter what time of year but there is something about spring that gets most of us going.

    Here's a good question. What good is working to have a clean, fresh and healthy house and use nasty toxic ingredients on surfaces and in the air. It doesn't have to be this way. Today, we have more options for safe, healthy, inexpensive and effective cleaning.

    woman using toxic cleaners

    Go Really Green And Make Your Own

    A simple bunch of ingredients you may already have in your home really do make effective cleaning solutions. There are many books and websites dedicated to making green cleaning products but to get you started the page below provides a good list of recipes for cleaning just about everything. There is one I would skip however that is the Bath Tile Mold Prevention that uses bleach. If you click on the mold prevention link in the recipe you"ll find some better safer suggestions. Check out the recipes at:

    Make Your Own Housecleaning Products

    You will also need some clean plastic bottles to store your products and an important part is to label them. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out what cleaner is in what bottle when you forgot to label them. I found these fun printable labels that should solve that problem.

    Free Printable Cleaning Labels

    Buy Safer Green Cleaning Products

    Seventh Generation Cleaner

    If making your own is just not for you the next best choice is to get shopping. There are many choices available at natural foods stores like Seventh Generation, Mrs Meyers and Biocleen. At local grocery stores Seventh Generation can often be found but also look for Method Cleaners often found at Target.

    It's a tough call though being sure a product is actually green. The companies mentioned here are very clear and above board about their products and ingredients. Since there aren't any industry standards stick with companies like these that clearly display all their ingredients. Green Works by Clorox is also an option but I always have problems with companies who offer green products when the rest of their product line contains questionable ingredients at best and let's not forget animal testing. From what I can tell Chlorox still uses animal testing.

    If these products are beyond your budget or not readily available at the very least avoid the nastiest household cleaners. The EWG has just issued a list of the worst offenders along with some suggestions on how to make better choices. I am also pleased to see that they are adding a Cleaners Database to their site coming this fall. Their personal products database has proven very helpful and this new database will give us one more tool to minimizing nasty chemicals in our environments.

    Check out the EWG Hall Of Shame.

    Continue reading "Get Your Spring Cleaning On But Do It Safely"

    Homemade Face Masks

    Homemade face masks are such a great way to take care of your skin. Simple ingredients from your kitchen make for healthy homemade skin care and big savings.

    Continue reading "Homemade Face Masks"

    Pretty and Safe New Nail Colors For Spring

    I wish I had prettier hands so I could try some of the beautiful and fun nail polish colors I'm seeing. I'm not one to wear colored nail polish on my finger nails. I try but I forget to take care of my hands and as I age I wish I had paid them more attention to them. They do not look as nice as I'd like so I avoid drawing attention to them by adding color.

    My feet however are a different story. They aren't exposed to dishes, gardening or hand washing 10 million times a day so they look pretty good and here I like to use color. It's kind of fun baring your feet and seeing a little surprise of color and it makes my way to long second toes look a little better.

    No Miss Nail Polish

    I like No Miss and have been using it for quite awhile now. They really do offer a big selection of colors but it's always nice to check out some new colors so I was happy to find a few more non-toxic nail polish brands that let me indulge myself in beautiful frosted shades, glazes and mattes in colors like Dracula Orchid, a dark glossy grey, or new spring colors like Lambs Ear or Sweet Pea all from Priti NYC.

    Priti NYC

    I also checked out the classic colors from RGB like Coral or Oxblood, a deep dark red. The colors here while not a giant selection are vibrant and rich and they also offer sheer nude nail tints from their HIPPxRGB line. It consists of four shades that are meant to lightly tint your nails with natural and subtle colors. They compare it to how a tinted moisturizer works for your face. Might be a possibility for my fingernails hmm....

    RGB Nail Color

    All three of these brands are a safer and healthier way to color not only your nails but your kids nails too when they want to play dress up. They do not contain Formaldehyde, Toluene, Dibutyl-Pthalate or Camphor and they are cruelty free. Having used No Miss I found it to be fast drying, long lasting and chip resistant. With Priti you can even safely recycle your old toxic nail polish and they carry mini sizes of polish too.

    Check them out:

    Priti NYC



    No Easy Answer For Lead In Lipstick

    After the news last month about the FDA's findings of lead in 400 different shades of lipstick I started wondering which lipsticks do not contain lead. My immediate thought was that natural brands would be lead free but it seems like it is a little more complicated.

    The problem is that no one is sure where the lead comes from. It is not an ingredient but is considered a contaminant which may have come from the pigments or other materials used to create the lipstick. It may also be introduced somehow during the manufacturing process which might suggest a more careful approach could keep the the lead out but I'm just guessing here.

    lipstick colors

    There is much debate whether we should be worried about trace amounts of lead in lipstick. Is it really a health problem? It is for children. They should avoid all lead exposure so even playing around with lipstick can be a problem and pregnant women should also avoid contact.

    As far as the rest of us, the concern here is that repeated exposure to lead can build up in the body so whenever you wear lipstick you could be ingesting tiny amounts of lead. The FDA so far says that the levels found in lipstick do not pose a risk. Only you can decide what makes sense for you.

    I wish I could offer you a list of lipsticks that do not contain lead but the only lead testing I have seen so far is the one done by the FDA and all of the 400 products tested contained some lead although some of them had really miniscule amounts.

    At least consider avoiding those shades that contained the highest amounts of lead. Click on the link below to see the complete list.

    Continue reading "No Easy Answer For Lead In Lipstick"

    Naturtint and Herbatint

    I loved how these products made my hair feel - much softer than with regular salon coloring. I am not having allergic reactions to products, just hate

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    Naturtint vs. Herbatint

    I have medium brown hair and probably like 10-15% grey, but they are resistant greys. My hair is wavy, meaning if I let it dry naturally it is frizzy

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    Light Mountain Hair Color (Henna) - Medium Brown

    I decided to try a natural product after many years of experiencing burning & itching of the scalp that I suspected was because of hair dye. Upon researching

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    Light Mountain Natural in Light Red is Fantastic

    (click on smaller image to see after image enlarged) I have strawberry blonde hair and I love Light Mountain Natural Hair Color in Light Red! I have

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    Earthnicity Mineral Makeup Review

    I've been experimenting with mineral makeup because I heard so many good things about it. I've never been able to wear standard foundation without breaking

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    Argan Oil Could Become A Skin Care Favorite

    Argan Oil for skin care has been on my radar for awhile. It is advertised as an all natural, anti aging ingredient that helps skin retain moisture. The reviews so far have been great so when my usual shea oil began to run low I decided it was time to try this oil myself.

    I am already a fan of using oils by themselves as a moisturizer, shea oil is a big favorite of mine, but Argan Oil has it's own special properties. It's rich in Vitamin E which is known to help healing, Essential Fatty Acids that provide anti-inflammatory benefits and Proteins which are believed to help hydrate but what caught my eye while reading reviews were comments about how well it absorbed.

    I have found one of the big benefits to using skin care oils is how well they hold in moisture and as you know keeping moisture in the skin helps plump up lines and wrinkles so they are less noticeable and skin looks younger and fresher. Some oils can feel a little greasy though especially if you do not use them sparingly. I think many women are a little reluctant to give natural oils a chance just for this very reason.

    Moroccan argan oil

    If this is you, Argan oil might change your mind. This is a beautiful, lightweight, golden colored oil with a very slight fruity scent that did not last. As with most oils a few drops are all you need . The argan oil I purchased from The Cherry Mango came in a dropper bottle which is the perfect way to dispense a drop at a time, makes application easier, more sanitary and saves money. I usually rub a couple of drops between my fingertips and gentle pat my face and neck. If needed I use a drop or two more. It might take a few times to get the right amount down for your needs.

    The benefits to me of the Moroccan Argan Oil was the lighter feel, excellent absorption and moisturizing it provided. So far I have used it only at night but after letting this oil absorb into my skin I would be comfortable using this under makeup. It absorbed that well and left my skin feeling soft and moist but not greasy. Many reviews I read said that women were using it under makeup and were happy with the results.

    The Moroccan Argan Oil I purchased from The Cherry Mango is certified organic and fair trade and is eco friendly and cruelty free. Purchasing this oil helps women in Morocco support their families and also protects a sustainable resource, the argan tree.

    Interested in trying Moroccan Argan Oil? The Cherry Mango is offering readers of Natural Living for Women a coupon code: NLBA11 for 10% off Acure Moroccan Argan Oil. With the dry winter weather in front of us now is the perfect time to try it.

    How About We All Try This?

    You are in the grocery store about to reach for your usual brand of coffee but wait... what if you gave fair trade coffee a try every now and then. What if we all made it a point to every now and then make a purchase of an item that makes a difference.

    Coffee is a great example of a purchase we could switch up. I recently found out that the Humane Society is helping coffee growers develop and maintain coffee plantations in Central America that follow fair trade practices and sustainable growing techniques. (This is mainly organic, shade grown coffee plants.) For more info check out fair trade coffee. They also offer their own blend of coffee.

    traditional coffee plantation

    The Humane Society Blend is just one of many brands of fair trade and sustainable coffees some that can readily be found at local stores. You'll get a great cup of coffee and if you purchase the Humane Society Blend it not only helps coffee growers, helps to preserve habitats of many species displaced when forests are cut down to grow coffee beans and helps the Humane Society to continue their work.

    Replace One Purchase

    I heard this idea when I caught a news report about how many of the things we purchase are not made in the U.S. According to this report, if we all were to buy at least one item that is "Made in America" we could make a big difference. I thought it was very doable for many items although shoes and tv's not so much. It's a purchase that makes a difference like the coffee purchase mentioned above.

    Replacing one purchase can be applied in many ways.

  • Instead of conventional paper products choose those with recycled content.
  • Instead of the usual light bulb buy a compact fluorescent or even better an LED light bulb.
  • Instead of the usual jewelry from the department store consider eco friendly jewelry.
  • Instead of conventional cotton look for organic cotton. Try replacing some smaller items like socks and underwear first.

    Well, you get the idea. Within this site I offer many alternatives for you to check out. Most of them come from smaller American companies looking to create great natural, green or fair made products.

    I know it can be time consuming and hard on the budget to be a conscientious shopper all the time but I think most of us can handle something every now and then and with the shopping season just around the corner this is a good time to try this for a few items and make a difference as we shop.

    Visit Grounds For Change for the Humane Society blend of coffee.

  • Cinnamon Honey Mask

    1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp honey 1. Mix the cinnamon and the honey together and refridgerate over night. 2. Place over your face for 15-20 mins I have chronic

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    Sand or Salt Scrub

    1 tbs fine sand/salt 1 cup unflavored yogurt 1 tsp your favorite essential oil 1 tsp honey or lemon juice(whichever one's handy) Mix together using fingers

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    Your Insight into Common Hair Dye Allergies

    Hair dye allergies, although rare, have been on the rise in recent years, some cases resulting in serious medical consequences. Anyone interested in dying their hair should be aware of the risks posed by certain hair dye ingredients and take time to read this article.

    The most commonly found irritant in hair dye is PPD, or paraphenylenediamine. Found in almost all effective permanent hair color, PPD is a primary dye intermediate that allows the dyes to penetrate the hair shaft. They have a greater presence in darker hair dye shades and are still the most widely used dye intermediate on the market today. Allergic reactions or sensitivity to PPDs range anywhere from an itching/burning scalp, an unsightly rash, or full blown facial swelling. Because of the rise in adverse reactions to PPDs, companies have attempted to eradicate it from their hair dye formulas, but in turn have added structurally similar PTDs, or 4-toluenediamine.

    What you may not be aware of is this: it takes almost 80%-120% more PTDs to achieve the same result as PPDs. Many allergic to PPDs also adversely react to PTDs and have found out the hard way.

    woman dyeing her hair

    In contrast, many people have dyed their hair multiple times with conventional ammoniated hair color (3%-6% of which is PPDs) without any issues, but then developed an allergy to PPDs due to overexposure (or repetitive dying). Color lines such as, Organic Color Systems do not contain PTDS and have the smallest amount of PPDs (anywhere from 0%-.6%) possible to still achieve full-coverage, long lasting color. But for some, even the smallest trace of PPDs can trigger an allergic reaction; this is why a hair patch test is essential to determine if a hair color is safe for use.

    Another common hair dye component that can cause allergies are parabens. Parabens are the most common preservatives for cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and industrial products. Their widespread use is due to their extensive history and inexpensiveness. For those allergic to parabens, or wish to avoid them in general should seek a color line like, Organic Color Systems. Most color lines that do not feature paraben replaces them with natural grapefruit seed extract. Resorcinol and Thioglycolates are both other skin irritants not found in Organic Color Systems.

    As one may gather, there are many ingredients that can cause skin irritation or contact allergies. Any individual interested in coloring their hair with any dye should be aware of their allergies, severity of those allergies, ingredient lists, and above all conduct a hair patch test to determine the safety and effectiveness of the product.

    About the Author: Rebecca Gregory has had extensive experience educating individuals in the hair and beauty industry. She was most recently a Lead Educator for Aveda in Florida, the Director of Education for The Salon Professional Academy, and chosen as a mentor for Redken Education. Rebecca is also an experienced Certifed Master Colorist/stylist who has worked in and managed multiple salons.

    Part 2 From Organic Color Systems Coming

    I hope you all learned something new about grey coverage from the first article written by Organic Color Systems. I know I did.

    The second and perhaps more important issue for many of us is allergies from hair dye and I think you may find the next article provides some professional insight into the most common allergens used in hair dye.

    Make sure and check out the next article coming tomorrow. There was info in this article that helped me connect the dots a little and may make it easier for me to find a product that works. When I do a little more checking into some products I have used I will let you know what I find and perhaps it will help you too.

    Gram flour for full body cleansing.

    All u beautiful ladies try this one and u'll never need a soap or body wash. Mix gram flour, rice powder and a bit of turmeric and keep it in a container.

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    What You My Not Know About Grey Coverage

    It’s estimated that approximately 1/3 of Americans that use hair color are attempting to cover stubborn grey hairs. Grey hairs are known to be resistant to hair dye and prone to fading compared to pigmented hair for a multitude of reasons that many are not aware of.

    Why does my grey hair resist color?

    To understand why grey hair color is challenging to overcome, one must understand its roots, literally. At the hair’s follicle are melanocytes that are responsible for the hair’s melanin, or color. Grey hair lacks melanin, while having more layers of cuticle that are tightly packed down (making it harder for dye to penetrate). Hair that is treated with conventional ammoniated hair color is subjecting itself to further damage, while decreasing the hair’s ability to retain color.

    Ammonia is used in hair color to raise the hair’s pH and open the cuticle so that dye particles can penetrate the hair strand. The issue is the ammonia damages the hair’s naturally occurring amino acid, Tyrosine, which is responsible for the melanin production in the hair and its shine. Because the ammonia raises the hair’s pH to such irreversible levels the cuticle remains partially open, leaving it prone to fading and more damage. What can be gathered from this information is that grey hair itself is difficult to dye, but using structurally damaging hair color further contributes to cuticle destruction and fading.

    organic color systems

    What is my solution?

    Intuitively, the best solution to grey hair coverage would be to select a color line that does not raise the hair’s pH to irreversible levels and does not further damage the hair’s structural integrity. Organic Color Systems offers ammonia-free hair color made with certified organic ingredients and is available in 65 intermixable colors. What sets this professional hair color line apart from your conventional hair dye is their optimized use of naturally derived ingredients found in coconut, fruits, vitamins, and minerals. With the use of coconut-derived MEA in safe amounts and external heat, the cuticle is allowed to softly swell and open for optimal dye penetration. The conditioning process then allows the cuticle to close; ergo, color is sealed in to the hair.

    With the absence of ammonia and the maximization of gentle, nourishing ingredients, Organic Color Systems does not hinder the scalps sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing hair’s natural oils and moisture. In fact, because this color line does not damage the cuticle or moisture system, clients may color their hair much more often (if needed, or desired).

    About the author: Rebecca Gregory has had extensive experience educating individuals in the hair and beauty industry. Recently, she was the Lead Floor Educator for an Aveda institute in Florida and the Director of Education for The Salon Professional Academy. Rebecca is also an experienced stylist/colorist who has worked in multiple salons.

    To find the nearest salon using Organic Color Systems please call this toll free number: (888) 213-4744, or e-mail

    Salon Color That's Healthier For You And Your Hair

    Hands down I receive more questions about finding a safer and more natural hair color product than anything else. While I have tried to provide the best help I can I am not a professional.

    There is a a great deal of frustration in finding products that color the hair safely. Many of you wonder why you can't get better and longer lasting grey coverage, why does your hair feel so straw like or why are you having a hard time getting the color you want? Above all else you want safer ingredients in your products.

    Having a professional color your hair with professional products may be the best way to achieve longer lasting grey coverage and achieve the color you want. A professional should be able to handle any special issues that arise which someone like me at home coloring my hair hasn't the faintest idea how to handle.

    woman dyeing her hair

    I had given up on salon hair coloring but recently I have become aware of a safer option available from some salons. My stylist told me about a professional colorist she knows that uses Organic Color Systems and coincidentally about the same time I was contacted by the company and asked to check it out. Weird.

    Anyway, after taking a look at their ingredient list which does contain natural and organic ingredients, minimal amounts of ppd's, no ammonia or parabens and no animal testing. I was convinced that this was a product I could try just haven't done it yet. Surprisingly several salons in my area offer this.

    I thought it would be helpful to have a professional address some of our concerns about hair color and Organic Color Systems has kindly offered to write a few upcoming posts. I think they will help answer some of the questions we all have about grey coverage and choosing safer products.

    Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Deodorant

    We have recently gone green in every aspect of our lives. Although for the past several years we have been extremely conscious of our decisions regarding

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    Chocolate Mask

    What I did is a chocolate mask that is just for fun. Add 1/4 tsp of cocoa 1/3 tsp honey 1/4 yogurt and a little bit of water.mix it until looks like chocolate

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    No More Complaints.. I Like DeVita Solar Protection Moisturizer

    I've been trying different brands but I just have not been happy with mineral based daily moisturizers that I can use under makeup.

    One was too heavy and white looking, one was too greasy and one was too hard too apply my mineral makeup over. Not good. Not good. Not good.

    If you have used mineral based sun protection you know that the white look and sometimes heavy or greasy feel can be a problem. I am more tolerant of this when I use it strictly as sun protection but under makeup I can't handle it. I have experimented with quite a few different products and am so happy to have found DeVita Solar Protection Moisturizer with SPF 30.

    DeVita Solar Protection Moisturizer

    My demands were few. I wanted one whose active ingredients were mineral based and not chemical (minerals offer the best and safest protection), lightweight, dries as clear as possible, good SPF protection, no animal testing, absorbs well and allows for smooth easy makeup application. OK maybe more than a few.

    DeVita's product uses micronized zinc oxide as their active ingredient. Skin Deep Database rates this product as very safe but they also rate it highly for sun protection. This helped convince me it was worth trying.

    I bought a sample size which was generous enough that I could try it out a few times and was so happy with the results that I bought the full size bottle. This product has a nice creamy feel that was light and easy to apply, dried clear and absorbed well. It feels and looks like a good moisturizer. I have dry skin and find this product works well as a moisturizer all by itself although I do use a light weight moisturizer underneath when conditions are drier.

    I have been pleased with the results under mineral makeup. It had just enough moisture to provide a good base for the minerals. One of the brands I tried was so tacky it was hard to achieve a natural looking coverage. I also tried it with a cream makeup with good results. This one's a winner for me.

    DeVita Solar Protection Moisturizer SPF 30

    Avocado Scrub

    Use half a large avocado, add olive oil, mix with sea salt until a thick paste forms. Seal in an air tight container at room temperature. Safe for use

    Continue reading "Avocado Scrub"

    Natural Sunscreen - A Better Choice

    Find out what we need to look for when shopping for a safe, natural sunscreen.

    Continue reading "Natural Sunscreen - A Better Choice"

    Easy Tips For Using Less Plastic

    Maybe my middle of the night ramblings from a previous entry about going without plastic produced something useful.

    As I see it perhaps one of the biggest problems with plastic comes from single use disposable plastic: bottles, cups, packaging, straws, lids and bags. One use and most are tossed away. Out of sight certainly but not gone. Not enough is being recycled. It's in landfills where it doesn't decompose and it litters our roadways and shorelines. Have you seen the images of that massive amount of plastic trash whirling around in our oceans? It doesn't go away.

    While environmental groups and industry works on solutions you and I can be taking some positive steps. A good place to start is minimizing use of single use plastics. Here are few suggestions:

    1. Buy reuseable bottles. I am a fan of stainless steel bottles. Easy to clean, durable and safe. Here is great brand to consider:

    Klean Kanteen

    Klean Kanteen Bottle

    2. No more plastic bags. A few communities have banned them. Why wait? Get reuseable bags. Check out this page for more info and links to some of the best:

    Reusable Shopping Bags

    3. Look for glass and paper packaging over plastic when shopping and when you do end up with plastic try to buy brands that can recycle, mostly #1 PET and #2 HDPE plastic.

    4. Also look for compostable plastic in any throw away item. These are the new plastics made from natural items like corn, sugarcane and tapioca. There are some problems. Right now it has to be composted in a controlled composting environment. Not a project for the backyard composter and where the heck do you find a composting facility anyway but I think it is a better choice than plastic made from petroleum.

    5. Pack your lunch in reusable containers or waxed paper bags. Choose reusable eating utensils and straws, cloth napkins and your own cup. You can even apply some of this when you buy fast food. Now, sitting in a fast food place and pulling out your own stuff might seem a little strange but consider trying it with one item. Think reusable straws. Do you know how many of these are thrown away everyday? Check out this selection of Reusable Straws from Amazon.

    reusable straws

    6. Skip the plastic when hosting parties and cookouts. If you absolutely must use throw aways look for paper, bamboo and some of the new compostable plastics made from plant materials.

    Check out this site for some ideas:

    Green Party Goods

    These are switches I am doing too. I'm not perfect and I am always looking for ways to improve. It takes more awareness as I shop but it's doable. Give it a try. For more info check out this video:

    Join the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

    Almond Scrub

    > Almond Ground (1-2 tbsp) > Almond Oil (2-4 tbsp) Mix these to ingredients together this is really good for the skin as the oil - almond oil is really

    Continue reading "Almond Scrub"

    Potato Rub

    Sounds crazy but it works. It is great for evening out your skin tone and greatly diminishes the appearance of blemishes. Cut a potato in slices (might

    Continue reading "Potato Rub"

    Kattie's Exfoliant

    There isn't just one recipe I follow, usually I just ransack my kitchen and use what I find! The last batch I made was wonderful and smelled even better!

    Continue reading "Kattie's Exfoliant"

    A Day, No Make That An Hour Without Plastic

    At 4:04 a.m. as I am trying to go back to sleep my brain decided otherwise and as so often happens I think about something I was working on earlier. What was that you might ask? Humor me here. It was plastic and with nothing better to do and sleeping apparently out of the question, I let myself wonder how far I could go in my day without plastic.

    As I lay there in bed I played the day out in my head. My day starts with a quick trip to the bathroom, I won't dwell here but no plastic anything was used. I head to the kitchen to get my tea going and breakfast started when I run into my first problem. Plastic heaven in here. My refrigerator, toaster oven and microwave all contain quite a bit of plastic and much of my food comes in plastic containers and bags but I don't give up I'm not sleepy yet I can still have my tea and I have a whole food bar in a paper wrapper.

    Time to get ready to start my day by brushing my teeth. OK the only way I am going to clean my teeth (plastic tooth brush duh... what else would it be made out of and plastic container for toothpaste) is by doing it how my dad suggested I brush in a pinch. Baking soda and my finger. Really.... oh well, this is just pretend.

    I use the cleanser that comes in the jar with a metal lid but moisturizer is a problem. My usual is in a glass container but it has a plastic pump lid which I love for keeping germs out. I would have to forgo makeup because once again plastic is everywhere. Good thing I work from home.

    I now head to my little office and I'll just turn my computer on and....Here is where my experiment takes a nasty turn, no mouse, no computer, printer or even eyeglasses to see them all with. Why I can't even call anyone to complain to because I have no phone.

    Wouldn't even make it through the morning without plastic. We are surrounded with plastic. There are so many things that would not exist without it. It's inexpensive cost and light weight makes it affordable for the consumer and the manufacturer but how do we deal with it's cost on the environment.

    If you haven't decided that maybe I should just try a cup of chamomile tea for help sleeping, check out the suggestions that I will post next time.

    See you next time.

    Recycled, Repuposed, Re Everything

    I could easily become geeky about anything recycled, reclaimed, reused, repurposed and some of those other things that begin with re. It all began as I researched new pages to add to NLW and then I caught a show with Nate Berkus. I think I love this man. So much of what he talks about has to do with finding new uses for what you already have and creating something wonderful out of some old item that at first glance you think no way will I have that in my home.

    He started a new train of thought for me. Maybe I could attempt a few of the things I saw others doing. An inexpensive old student desk with a nasty looking finish was my first project. All it took was with a little sanding, some paint and some colorful old handles and it's looks totally different. This was a relatively simple project and while I need to work on my techniques I think it came out pretty good for a first attempt.

    painted desk

    While I wouldn't have thrown this desk away, it was ugly but sturdy, I often see perfectly good things being thrown away. With a little time, effort and willingness to experiment one less item might not end up in the trash and who knows you might even save money by not buying new. And remember:

    The greenest item is the one that already exists.

    It helps the environment but it's also fun, creative and totally unique when a tote bag is made from discarded vinyl billboards or a pair of earrings, is made from discarded steel wire and washers. When recycled plastic is used to make lumber or outdoor furniture, countertops are made from used glass or like I mentioned above new uses are found for something that otherwise might be thrown away.

    I hope that you will take a little time and explore some of the new pages I have added to NLW. The link below will take you to the recycled products page where you find info on the many ways recycling and reusing can play a bigger part in your life.

    Continue reading "Recycled, Repuposed, Re Everything"

    SanoTint Another Safer Hair Dye

    This is probably more me just giving you a heads up on another safer hair dye than a product review because I bought SanoTint, did my patch test and went no further.

    SanoTint was my latest attempt at testing out safer permanent products to color hair. This hair dye does contain natural ingredients and as with most permanent hair coloring products, chemicals but the chemical ingredients used are better than many brands of hair color - no or low ppd, no ammonia, parabens, heavy metals, etc.


    SanoTint comes in several different formulas. One with low levels of ppd, one without ppd and a lightening kit. I chose the one without ppd, SanoTint Light. I was excited to find another hair dye that will work for me because of course I'm thinking it is the ppd that causes me problems. Right?...... Wrong. I'll be darned but something else in these products bother me.

    I am embarrassed to admit but I was tempted to skip the patch test before using this product. I know.... but then I realized I would not be able to face you all if I had but I honestly thought without ppd it would be fine. Anyway, I did my patch test strictly as a formality you know and was so surprised to experience burning and itching. What the heck! I am so glad I did not use this all over my head.

    My first thought was that there was a mistake and I had the wrong formula but nope that's not it. So, now what's the problem?

    The next ingredient I had to consider was the hydrogen peroxide. The product I have been using for awhile now without any issue is Palette by Nature and there is no hydrogen peroxide in it. Before that I was using Tints of Nature without any problems but it contains pharmacuetical grade hydrogen peroxide so either I have become more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide or it's something else. I'll have to experiment a little more to figure this out.

    For you however, SanoTint is another product to consider if you are trying to find a safer hair colorant or you want to try a product without ppd. Just please do your patch test first each and every time you color. My experience is just my experience. This product did not work out for me but it might for you. Visit Natural Solutions for SanoTint hair dyes.

    For more information about other safer and more natural hair color products check out my page on natural hair color.

    GloMinerals (also GlowMinerals)

    I purchased my blush three days ago - I noticed it impaired my breathing - the store I bought it at does not take make up returns - I called glo minerals

    Continue reading "GloMinerals (also GlowMinerals)"

    Stuck In A Not So Green Rut?

    I was listening to one of the morning news shows and the host was talking about making small steps to being green. The whole little changes add up idea which I totally agree with by the way. It just occurred to me that that very same suggestions have been going around for years now and we are still talking about the same things.

    Shouldn't we be farther along on our way to being green and natural?

    Why is that anyway? I suppose some of it is because many of us don't see the damage being done to the environment or connect products we use around the house to our health and so we tend to stick with doing things the way we have become accustomed to doing them.

    Well, it's time to pick up the pace a bit, shake off some old habits and get out of our not so green rut so to speak.

    plastic bag

    Are you stuck using the plastic or paper bags from the stores instead of switching to reusable bags? All I have to do is spend a few minutes outside any grocery store in my area and watch the people come out to realize that most people are not bringing in reuseable shopping bags. Is this you? Yes, it is inconvenient at first.... Yes, it will cost you but bags can be found or made that are very inexpensive. What are you waiting for?

    plastic bottles

    Have you taken the step and bought reusable bottles? It took me a long time to find one I liked that was the right size and didn't have an annoying lip on the top but I am now rarely without my water bottle and since I do quite a bit of driving around and being thirsty I can't imagine how many plastic water bottles I have saved from the environment. Recycling them is great but more of them end up in the trash. Find a reusable bottle you like and will use.

    woman reading label

    Are you making an effort to read labels and buy products with ingredients you understand? What in the world are some of the ingredients you are using on your skin, or your children's or in your home? The choice is yours just know what you are buying. I can't promise you this is simple but the more you learn about the ingredients used in anything from skin care to household products it does get easier. Even making items on your own can be simple, fun and very affordable.

    How about this? Let's not wait for Earthday, some environmental wake up call or a news report about unsafe ingredients in some skin care product to remind us of the importance of being proactive and taking steps in the green direction. Beginning this month commit to making changes. What are you waiting for?

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