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.

20120827-222815.jpg

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.

20120827-225752.jpg

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.

20120827-230406.jpg

How To Pick A Mineral Makeup

Mineral makeups have become very popular in the last 5 years, because they feel so lightweight, and can offer good coverage. They are often touted as natural, but you should still read the fine print and remember that they are not all created equal.

photo credit: alima pure

Here are some things to remember when you choose a foundation.

1. Color Matching
It’s true: you do need your foundation to match your true skin tone, or you could look muddy, orange, or pink. You’ll have to try it on, in daylight. That means either at a shop, or online order of samples. If you tan greatly in the summer, a shade or two darker is an option, or mixing in a little  powder.

2. Ingredients
Not all “natural” mineral makeups are good for you; you certainly don’t want parabens in them-those preservatives which mimic estrogens in the body and have been found in 87% of breast tumors. Also, bismuth oxychloride, talc, dyes, and fragrances can cause irritation (and may be toxic). The first on that list, bismuth oxychloride, is a common ingredient in mineral makeup, and it serves as a “filler” so the product can be made more cheaply than by using straight minerals. It gives the “pearly” look (rather than matte), and can tend to look shiny by the end of the day.

3. Brushes Do Matter
The shape of brush does have an impact on how the makeup goes on, and brushes should be cleaned often to avoid buildup. (I was told weekly, but I don’t do it that often. Water and mild soap, then air dry.) If you have sensitive skin, and/or animal allergies, find a brush with synthetic bristles: often good makeup can irritate because the person is allergic to the brush!

4. Powder Size: Coverage
A very fine powder will give amazing coverage: better than liquid foundation, yet will feel like you’re wearing nothing. You should be able to feel and see the fine powder on the back of your hand when testing colors. Then test it around your eyes: if it makes the wrinkles look deeper, then it isn’t fine enough. And, when a powder is fine enough, it should look great without a “mineral veil” or other finishing powder on top.

However, a product that boasts “nano” size particles should be avoided; there is some concern and ongoing research as to whether this minute particle size is safe in applications other than medicinal (colloidal silver). And there are good makeups out there that aren’t nano.

5. What’s the deal with Sunscreen?
Many mineral makeups have zinc in their ingredients, and this acts as a reflective sunscreen. Don’t worry this is the good kind of sunscreen (you can read about the bad ones in this post on Chemical Sunscreens). However, you need to apply the makeup fully on your whole face if you are relying on this for sunscreen.

6. Dry Skin
Some women don’t like mineral makeup because their skin is already dry, so they don’t like adding powder. I have fairly dry skin, and I do like mineral powder, but I use a good (all natural) face lotion to moisturize before putting on makeup. I must let the lotion dry first, though, or I can get streaks.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about the minerals I’ve tried, and the great one I’m using now that meets all the criteria above.

Chemical Sunscreens

Sunscreen is good for you (Titanium oxide and Zinc oxide, or just a hat), but many chemical sunscreens aren’t. This article titled The Chemical Sunscreen Health Disaster is a real eye opener to the dangers of chemical sunscreens.

The three main concerns are:

1. They are powerful free radical generators
Many of these chemicals are used in labs for cancer research: they just expose them to light and they burst into free radicals spinning around, ready to attack cells. Not the kind of thing I want sinking into my skin.

2. They often have strong estrogenic activity
As with so many chemicals, they can tweek our hormone balance.

3. They are synthetic chemicals that are alien to the human body and accumulate in body fat stores. Enough said.

Chemical Sunscreens Include:

Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone)

PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB,  glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA)

Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate)

Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate)

Digalloyl trioleate

Menthyl anthranilate

Avobenzone [butyl-methyoxydibenzoylmethane; Parsol 1789] – This is the only chemical sunscreen currently allowed by the European Community. However, its safety is still questionable since it easily penetrates the skin and is a strong free radical generator.

Body Lotion: Quench without Consequenses

Living in the Pacific Northwest, a humid climate, I don’t use hand and body lotion year round. But the dead of winter, when the frozen temps outside-and the forced air inside-suck all the moisture out of the air, is an exception. If I don’t use hand lotion, my hands begin to look decades older than the rest of me.

You too? Then lather up, but choose wisely. Many lotions are made of a petroleum base, and may be preserved with parabens. Not only will these lotions not really help your skin (although they may feel good initially), they may be toxic for your whole body. Sounds scary, but I’m not making this up, or trying to be dramatic. You can read more about the “scary stuff” at the end of this article.

What to look for:

  • A lotion with a vegetable oil base. Good oils might be coconut, Kukui nut, avocado, palm, Macadamia Nut, apricot, sunflower, Shea butter, or olive oil. Since these literally could be “food” for your body, your skin will recognize it for the building and healing nourishment it needs. Castor oil, Aloe Vera, and vegetable glycerine are also good for the skin and plant based.
  • If your skin is very dry, look for a lotion without water. Although you’d think that thirsty skin needs water, it’s actually the other way around. Water evaporates off your skin, leaving less moisture and continuing the wet/dry/chapped cycle. Plus, it’s really just a filler you don’t need to pay for.
  • Look for a statement on the bottle that there are No Parabens. Even if the list of ingredients doesn’t state them, they may be in there if they are less than half a percent. It’s best when the bottle states clearly that they haven’t been added.
  • Not many of us in the Northwest are concerned about sun burns in winter, but if you live in a place where you get sun exposure year round . . . well lucky you! 🙂 And you’re probably looking for a lotion with a low SPF just to have some light overall sun protection. So look for the Active Ingredient of Titanium Oxide or Zinc Oxide; both reflective mineral sunscreens that are non-toxic and even recommended for babies.

If you are looking for a lotion with light SPF, try this Baby Mineral Sunscreen from Avalon Organics, this Chemical Free SPF18 Sunscreen from Alba Botanica, this Organic Age Reversal Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 from Desert Essence, or this Hand and Body Lotion, SPF 15 from Jason.

The “Scary Stuff”

Petroleum base (may be called petrolatum or mineral oil). They are made from crude oil, and have the following cautions in the Cosmetics Safety Database: Cancer, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Other moderate concerns for this ingredient:
Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards. Since the things we rub onto our skin are absorbed into our bodies, these seem like a bad idea for a lotion base.

Also, they coat the skin to not allow for water evaporation (this may initially help with dry skin) both don’t truly moisturize and repair skin from the inside out.

Parabens

Often found near the end of the ingredient list, this “family” of preservatives (Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Paraben, etc.) have received more attention (and demand from consumers that they be pulled from products) after the 2004 Scientific Study which showed parabens to be found concentrated in breast cancer tumors. Of course, this study doesn’t prove that parabens cause breast cancer and there is a lot of debate; I read a reveiw by a different doctor who thought it was irrelevant because even though parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, the amount of “estrogen” giving off from the parabens is a drop in the bucket compared with all the other estrogen in the woman’s body. (I couldn’t help but think that this guy missed the point entirely; that toxicity of foreign chemicals could be implicated in cancer growth, not just the amounts or balance of hormones in the body.)

At any rate, I’m not going to wait 25 years for the scientific community to do all their studies; parabens don’t have a place in my body-care regime, or that of my family.

Chemical Sunscreens

Sunscreen is good for you (Titanium oxide and Zinc oxide, or just a hat), but many chemical sunscreens aren’t. This article titled The Chemical Sunscreen Health Disaster is a real eye opener to the dangers of chemical sunscreens. The three main concerns are: 1. They are powerful free radical generators 2. They often have strong estrogenic activity 3. They are synthetic chemicals that are alien to the human body and accumulate in body fat stores.

Chemical Sunscreens Include:

Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone)

PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB,  glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA)

Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate)

Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate)

Digalloyl trioleate

Menthyl anthranilate

Avobenzone [butyl-methyoxydibenzoylmethane; Parsol 1789] – This is the only chemical sunscreen currently allowed by the European Community. However, its safety is still questionable since it easily penetrates the skin and is a strong free radical generator.