October 8, 2010

Organic Power Foods for the Modern Lifestyle: Cacao Nibs and Lip Balm

There are many ancient foods that have become trendy lately for their antioxidant health benefits. Navitas Naturals has brought us many great products featuring these "power foods for a modern lifestyle". Of course, cacoa is one of my favorites.

Cacao (kə-kau, ka-kow):

the dried seeds of a South American evergreen tree (Theobroma cacao of the family Sterculiaceae), which are most commonly used in making cocoa, chocolate, and cocoa butter. Also called cacao bean, and cocoa bean.

We tried out two cacoa products by Navitas:

  • Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cacao Sweet Nibs
    Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs are the partially ground cacao beans that are the natural source of all chocolate products. And though the Mayans may have touted cacao as the "Food of the Gods," we've got dessert on our minds. With their crunchy texture and intense flavor, our cacao nibs are healthy, gourmet, and a delicious addition to all kinds of treats. From adding them into a brownie batter, sprinkling on ice cream, or even just tossing into a trail mix, there is virtually no wrong way to add more of this "real chocolate" into your life. Plus, with cacao's soaring levels of antioxidants, and trace minerals like magnesium and iron, you can feel good in every way about enjoying this chocolatey superfood.

  • Cacao Power Lip Balm:
    Almost everyone loves the taste of chocolate, but did you know your skin loves it too? Enjoy the benefits of chocolate all day with Navitas Naturals Cacao Lip Balm. This buttery lip moisturizer is made from the pure, cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean, along with a rich mixture of nature's most skin-friendly oils. The result is an aromatic and sensuous balm that leaves your lips hydrated and soft and your nose equally invigorated. Move over Hershey's -- this is a real chocolate kiss.

Both of these products are affordable. The nibs are of course delicious and make a great snack. At first, I feared the cacao lip balm's flavor would cause me to lick my lips, which would dry them out even further, but it did not. It smells wonderful, which is enough to satisfy one's craving for cacao.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 1, 2010

New Derma E Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Natural Beauty Products Fight Aging

I've never been one to be concerned about fighting the signs of aging, as it is inevitable, but who doesn't want to maintain their youthful appearance? Derma E has introduced a new line of products that contain hyaluronic acid, "a naturally occurring substance in the body that binds to water to lubricate and hydrate tissue". Derma E uses only non-animal sources for their hyaluronic acid (Actimoist Bio-2), so they maintain the company's cruelty-free ethics. I tried out the following three products from the new hyaluronic acid line:

  • Derma E Natural Bodycare Hyaluronic Hydrating Mask:
    This intensively hydrating mask blends hyaluronic acid with olive oil, avocado, cupuacu butter, jojoba oil and aloe for an ultra-hydrating, age-defying experience that reveals soft, smooth and supple skin.
  • derma e Hyaluronic Acid Day Crème:
    Hydrating formula. A light moisturizing creme combines Hyaluronic Acid with Vitamin E, Ester-C and Aloe Vera, especially formulated for day use. Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that binds water in the connective tissue. Improves collagen health for increased strength and elasticity for firmer-looking skin. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by plumping skin tissue. No animal testing. Made in USA.

Not only do these products feel great on your skin, they also smell wonderful. My skin felt very refreshed after using the cleanser, mask, and day creme. Like all Derma E products, they are also affordable.

One thing to note is that according to the Environmental Working Group's cosmetic database Skin Deep, Derma E is non-compliant with the Compact for Safe Cosmetics: "This company has signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and made progress toward compliance, but has not met all requirements: they have not yet fully listed all ingredients on product labels."

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 27, 2010

Got BO? Natural Long Lasting Deodorant That Really Works

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I've tried a lot of different natural deodorants, and I'd have to say that 99% of them do not hold up to a day of stress, heat, sweat, and exercise. That is, until I found Tom's of Maine - Apricot Long Lasting Stick. Without an overbearing scent, this deodorant does the job and provides lasting protection from odor.

Hops inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Sourced from castor beans and the mineral zinc, zinc ricinoleate is known to help trap odor molecules and absorb bad smells. Natural fragrance helps mask odor. Encapsulating natural fragrance oils with silica shells makes them last longer.

Tom's discloses all of the ingredients, which is unusual for many beauty companies.  Furthermore, the company guarantees their products and will refund the purchase price as well as shipping. 

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 17, 2010

Marie Veronique Organics Anti-Aging Day Serum: Intelligent Ingredients You Can Trust

anti_aging_dayserum.jpgWhenever I encounter a new organic beauty line, the first place I check to see if their claims are truly trustworthy is the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.  I am happy to report Marie Veronique Organics (MVO) holds true to their motto of "Intelligent Ingredients" with low hazard scores of one to three by EWG.

  • Anti-Aging Day Serum, SPF 20

  • *Defends against premature aging with a unique combination of natural humectants, emollients, anti-oxidants, and sunscreen
    *Protects against free radical formation due to UV exposure with powerful anti-oxidants such as coffee fruit extract and Calaguala fern
    *Prevents moisture loss from exposure to the elements
    *Contains non-micronized zinc oxide, a physical sun block that reflects UV rays without releasing wrinkle and cancer-causing free radicals
    *Absorbs into the skin without leaving a greasy or ghostly white film

    I also like how the serum is available in tints, which help to even out skin tone, and contains protective SPF ingredients.  MVO also makes a Moisturizing Face Screen SPF 30 in various tints that I would love to try.

    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.
    Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

    August 27, 2010

    Really Natural Books: No More Dirty Looks - The Truth About Your Beauty Products

    NO More Dirty looks.jpg
    Beauty products are notorious for making false organic marketing claims and containing harmful ingredients. From lead in lipstick to phthalates in lotions, consumers are challenged to find truly natural products. A new book has the answers you need. 

    No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products--and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics defines and explains the risks of many common cosmetic ingredients.

    It started with a harmless quest for perfect wash-and-go hair. Every girl wants it, and Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt finally found it in a fancy salon treatment. They were thrilled--until they discovered that the magic ingredient was formaldehyde.
    Shocked, O'Connor and Spunt left no bottle unturned. If it went on their body (and thus, was absorbed into their skin and bloodstream), they researched it. As it turns out, many of those unpronounceable ingredients in your self-tanner and leave-in conditioner are not regulated and the "natural" on your face wash doesn't mean what you think it does.

    Now, with the help of top scientists, dermatologists, and makeup artists, the authors share their compelling findings and the easy way to detoxify your beauty regimen. No More Dirty Looks also reveals the safest, most effective products on the market and time-tested home recipes. Finally, you don't need to sacrifice health for beauty--because coming clean is the best look yet.

    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

    Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 26, 2010

    The Best Natural Lotion for Dry Skin and Harsh Conditions: Weleda Skin Food

    skin food.jpg
    I recently went on a backpacking trip in the wilderness. Four days of sun and wind exposure, as well as swimming, can wreck havoc on your skin. The best defense and treatment so your skin doesn't end up looking like and feeling like a weathered piece of leather is Weleda Skin Food. Not only does Skin Food nourish your skin, it protects it!

    Dry, rough skin of any age gets indulgent moisture with this intensively nourishing, deeply hydrating cream. It's a unique, ultra-rich whole-body cream that deeply hydrates, restores and protects your skin. Stubborn dryness on your elbows, hands and feet are moisturized and conditioned with the essential fatty acids and vitamin E in our organic sunflower seed oil. Organic pansy is known for its mild antiseptic properties that calm dry irritation. Soothing rosemary leaf extract's mild antiseptic properties and the anti-inflammatory properties of Biodynamic® and organic calendula flower extract gently nourish and care for your skin. Deeply moisturized and protected, your skin looks soft and supple with a healthy glow. It's your recommended daily allowance of radiance, and it's just what you and your skin are craving.

    I highly recommend Skin Food!  It saved my skin while in the wilderness, and it is also wonderful for regular use at home.

    Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 14, 2010

    Really Natural Personal Care: Kiss My Face Peace Castile Soap

    kiss my face peace soap.jpg
    I've long been a fan of Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap for its versatility. From dog washing to dishes, there is nothing you can't do with castile soap. Kiss My Face has just introduced their own line of 100% natural all purpose castile soap. It comes on many flavors:

    Give Peace Soap a chance! You'll love it. (Peace & love... some things never go out of style.) Combining organic olive oil with coconut, hemp and jojoba oils for luxurious lather and mildness, we have created a totally pleasurable cleaning experience- from head to toe, ceiling to floor, our castile soap cleans skin and much more. Veggie, countertop, dishes or sweater, it does it all and it does it better.

    Castile soap has been used for centuries around the world, originating in the Castile region of Spain. This simple soap formula is so effective that it has changed little in 500 years.

    One of the things I love about castile soap is it is safe for grey water systems and to use when camping or backpacking. I don't leave home without it when I head into the woods for an adventure.

    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

    Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 7, 2010

    Natural Beauty: Handcrafted, Organic Based Cosmetics by Christopher Drummond

    Even though I do not wear cosmetics on a regular basis, it is fun to find all-natural, handcrafted, vegan beauty products. Designed by a former model and professional makeup artist, Christopher Drummond Beauty goes "beyond mineral makeup" to create a safer product. We tested out two of Christopher's products:

    Ultra-fine, milled mica powder. Light shimmer and radiant color to enhance your skin tone. A truly unique powder blush that imparts a flattering radiance to your cheeks. Remarkably silky texture for easy application and subtle shading. Accentuate cheekbones for a youthful look. Softer tones around the eyes to soften expression and rejuvenate.
    This is lip gloss made for every woman. Not only does it have beautiful, transluscent color that is not too much, but not invisible; our formula is free of petroleum (a gasoline by-product), parabens, dyes, carmine, artificial dyes or fragrances. Our lip gloss is lightly scented with organic essential oil of blood orange that promotes healthy lips that appear fuller and more luscious. Naturally

    Both of these products are great, high quality natural cosmetics. You can trust the ingredients. Whether you wear makeup every day or only on special occasions, your skin deserves the best.

    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

    Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

    July 2, 2010

    4th of July Fun: EcoSMART "Organic" Natural Insect Repellant

    ecosmart insect repellant.jpg
    Fourth of July weekend is rapidly approaching, and I am sure you will be spending some time outside. From BBQs to fireworks, bugs can be a nuisance to your outdoor fun. Insect repellants containing the pesticide DEET are know to have adverse health effects, especially for children. One natural alternative is EcoSMART Organic Natural Insect Repellent.

    Harnessing Nature's own defense against insects ― essential oils ― EcoSMART's non-toxic, botanical skin repellent is safe for use on children of all ages, and works as effectively as DEET and synthetic chemicals. A revolutionary plant based formula is the secret to the efficacy of EcoSMART's insect repellent. Unlike conventional DEET-based formulas, EcoSMART's patented technology uses 100 percent food grade ingredients to keep mosquitoes, gnats and more away for hours. It has a fresh, natural scent is non-oily and dries quickly.

    Using rosemary, cinnamon, and lemongrass oils, this naturally-based repellant uses the word "organic" on it's label. That is my only problem with this product, as the ingredients are not certified organically-grown, and the word usage seems to be part of the marketing confusion many personal care products create for consumers.

    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

    Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

    June 7, 2010

    The Best Natural Baby and Kids Shampoo and Soap: California Baby

    I've been using California Baby Calming Baby Shampoo and Body Wash for six years now ever since I discovered my son was sensitive to sodium lauryl sulfate. California Baby is the gentlest product for your little one's skin, and even my eight-year-old daughter still uses this soap and my son's eczema has never returned since we made the switch.

    Benefits & Features:

    • Contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients
    • Cleansing agent: 100% Decyl polyglucose
    • No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, DEA, or numbing agents
    • No tears, non-irritating, non-stripping formula
    • Safe and gentle
    • Two products in one--use head to toe. May be used for hair, face and body
    • Great for babies, kids, or adults with chemically sensitive skin
    • Will not irritate eczema or cradle cap; reports of healing even stubborn cases
    This is a product I highly recommend for all of your family members!
    Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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