Summer Loves

I just threw some summer products in a drawer, then thought to take a picture and tell you what I’ve been loving (and not loving). If you see these on end-of-season clearance, stow them away for next summer.


Clockwise from top left:

Suncoat nail polish in Poppy Red (a great retro orangey red with a hint of metallic…love with aqua jewelry) and Purple Haze. Use two coats, and the color is brilliant. Water based.
Suncoat Girl polish (pealable) in Forever Fuscia. Fun for my daughter, and water based so less chemicals to inhale during application.

Moon Blossom No Bugs On Me essential oils blend in olive oil. Got this at a farmers market a few year ago, so you may not be able to find this one, but it had oils of lavender, geranium, cedarwood, eucalyptus, citronella, and cinnamon. Seems to work well, when we remember. I have most of these oils, so when I run out I plan to buy the last one and mix up my own in olive oil.

Traumeel by Heel. Heals up bruises (knees, shins, foreheads) in a hurry! The sooner I get it on the owie, the sooner the discoloration stops developing. This stuff is amazing! One child got her three fingers caught in the car door hinge (ouch!!!) but we iced them immediately and put this on. Even though she eventually lost one nail, there was no bruising. Weird but true.

Aloe for sunburns…my husband forgets to cover up sometimes, so we keep this handy for the inevitable burn.

Sunstick by Elemental Herbs. A face stick of zinc sunscreen. Great way to apply it to the most important spot…and really works at 30spf. It didn’t expire or wash off for us. Great price for this quality product.

To see why I only use mineral sunscreens, read this post.

Badger Zinc Sunscreen. We also used the Badger Infant Sunscreen and enjoyed it. These formulas are thicker and greasier than what we are used to. You have to keep rubbing them in for a bit, but then they become transparent, stay on, and don’t require re-application. Once you get used to more intensive application, it’s great, great stuff. Pleasant smell, doesn’t burn the skin (or wash off into eyes). Love it!

I’ve also tried these two brands of mineral sunscreen: Jason and Alba. I don’t like them as well.


You can see I got one on clearance last year. They are both thinner/more like regular sunscreen in consistency, but I’ve had problems with them separating; not sure if it was age or heat related. Also, both have titanium dioxide, not just zinc, and there is some question about the safety of this internally. Zinc is something we need more of on the inside, so I’d rather be rubbing that on the outside too.

Next year, I’m going to pack my baby powder along to the beach; saw on FaceBook that you can use it to clean sand off skin.


Happy Summer Feet: Water-Based Nail Polish

Red Toenails (can I just say that it's hard to take a nice picture of one's own feet?)

I love bare feet in summer. . . especially if they are mine and the toes are sporting red polish! I know that there are definite color trends in nail polish, but I keep reaching for the red for my toes, as my style tends toward Classic. And because it makes me happy.

However, nail polish and polish removers are nearly all quite toxic: they carry high levels of phthalates (known to cause reproductive deformities in male babies) and harsh/toxic solvents. Fortunately, there are some brands now available without these toxic ingredients. The two I’ve tried are Honeybee Gardens and Suncoat. (I’ve copied some of the safety info from Suncoat at the end of this post.*) They are both water-based (imagine that!).

So, how did they work? Here’s my review:

Watercolors Desire

Honeybee Gardens Watercolors Nailpolish
Price: retail $6.99, $5.21

I purchased two colors of this polish, “Desire” for myself (toes) and “Valentine” for my 6 year old daughter. I noticed right away the absence of odor unless you stick your nose right up to the wet polish. Also, the polish was slightly thinner than some conventional polishes I’ve tried, so the suggestion to do 2 coats is a must for getting the color to look dark enough (this is in the case of the red on toenails).

Watercolors Valentine

My only bad experience with this polish was in washing my feet too soon after applying (this was really user error, not the fault of the polish). It was February and my feet were quite dry; I applied the polish and then showered immediately after the polish dried. I think my toenails soaked up water in the shower and expanded, or something, because the polish peeled up in huge flakes. When I avoid applying it before going in the water this polish lasts several weeks before chipping.

Suncoat Water-Based Nail Polish
Price: retail $8.99, $6.89

After having tried the Watercolors brand, I decided to try out the Suncoat brand in “Red ‘n Red“. It was a little more expensive, but I think the intensity of color blows Watercolors out of the water (sorry, bad joke) and that makes it worth it to me. I’d still buy the other for little girl polish, but I was really impressed with the red-ness of this polish. Also, they seem to have some pretty hip options on color (even a black) . . . not that I’m straying from my classic red. . . 🙂

Again, I was impressed that there was no odor. (I even painted my toenails in the car on the way to a wedding without any complaints from my husband! Not recommending it. . . just keeping it real.) And 2 coats are a must in a dark color. They do recommend their clear-coat for a shiny finish, but I’m happy with the “satin” finish of just the 2 color coats. How long has this polish lasted? I’m on day 31 without any chips that I can see from my 5’5 vantage point (I’m 8 months pregnant, so don’t ask me to get any closer!).


The instructions say to remove with isopropyl alcohol: I was particularly happy about this as conventional removers seem to be a pretty toxic set (straight solvents, right?). However, I did try removing it with my conventional remover (before getting the alcohol and pitching the old one), and the polish came right off as normal. I have also tried removing the Suncoat polish with isopropyl alcohol, but it takes some time and rubbing to get it all off. I do have a lot of grooves and ridges on my toenails, so I’m sure it would be easier with smooth fingernails, but you should be aware of this if you switch colors a lot.

*Why switch to water-based? Some info from Suncoat is below, for more see the page on

Why is Water-based so much better?

  • Environmentally Friendly: Conventional nail polish contains large amounts (typically around 70%) of chemical solvents such as toluene, acetates and alcohol. When nail polish is applied to nails, these solvents evaporate into the air, generating toxic chemical fumes; the well known and VERY offensive “chemical smell”. This is why many people find it hard to breathe when using conventional nail polish: you are surrounding yourself with heavily polluted air, inhaling toluene, acetates etc.; chemical solvents. In Suncoat water-based nail polish, all the chemical solvents are replaced by water. The major ingredient is water, not chemical solvents! So when Suncoat water-based nail polish is being applied, it is only water that evaporates to the air, not toxic chemical fumes.
  • Safer to Nails:The chemical solvents in conventional nail polish, after repeated use, can discolor nails and make them brittle and weak. This is not an issue with water-based nail polish.
  • Not A Safety Hazard:Since conventional nail polishes contain around 70% chemical solvents, they are highly flammable and explosive. They are often classified as dangerous goods. They are safety hazards for retail stores, salons and residential homes. They should be kept away from heat, open flames such as burning candles, etc. Water-based nail polish, on the other hand, is not considered dangerous goods, and is much safer to both store and use.
  • Other Benefits of Suncoat Water-based Nail Polish:No Phthalate of Any Kind.Many conventional nail polishes contain a deadly chemical, namely, phthalate. Phthalate, such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), has been proven by research studies to interfere with normal hormone balance, can cause severe birth defects and other health problems. Phthalate is a very effective and popular plasticizer that gives nail polish flexibility, and helps prevent polish from cracking. Phthalate is also a very low volatile chemical (meaning will not evaporate quickly). So after the polish is applied to nails, phthalate will stay on the nails with the polish, and can penetrate into our system, causing health problems. Suncoat water-based nail polish is phthalate-free.
  • Formaldehyde-free: Many regular nail polishes have formaldehyde-releasing ingredients, used in preserving the formulation. Formaldehyde has been reported as a carcinogenic chemical. Suncoat water-based nail polish is formaldehyde-free.


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