June 23, 2009

Collective Wellbeing Hot Pore Cleansing Scrub with Active Charcoal

Grill season is here. And while this summer won't find me sizzling slabs of meat over charcoal (a potentially carcinogenic activity), I will be slathering a little of that black, porous rock over my face via a current product fav: Collective Wellbeing's Hot Pore Cleansing Scrub: a purifying mask and jojoba bead exfoliator in-one...that warms on contact!

Pretty factor:  Like a sponge, charcoal absorbs excess oil on the skin (much appreciated during Chicago's hot, humid summers). An exfoliation duo of jojoba beads and salicylic acid unclog pores and prevent breakouts. And antibacterial tea tree extract zaps acne-causing bacteria that might be having their own summer bash on your skin's surface.

Eco factor: Collective Wellbeing uses organic botanicals and no sulfates, parabens, or synthetic fragrance or color. They're members of 1% For the Planet and The Chicago Climate Exchange, through which they have completely eliminated their carbon footprint! 

To buy: $14.99 at Whole Foods and collectivewellbeing.com

June 15, 2009

Alo-ha! Pacificia's $9 Solid Perfumes

A few readers have asked why I haven't reviewed the growing crop of gorgeous natural perfumes. One simple reason: cost!  Most average around 90 bucks a bottle—which is out of my wallet's range and, I imagine, many of yours given this wretched recession. As a result, the only eau's I've been using have been Stella McCartney's rollerball and whiffs from my essential oil-scented hair products.

But that changed last month after discovering Pacifica's solid perfumes. Just $9, they come in cool Andy Warhol-meets-South Pacific tins. Finding your signature scent is easy as there are 20 aromas to choose from, such as Malibu Lemon Blossom, Tahitian Gardenia and, my favorite, French Lilac.

Pretty factor: These perfumes are a lesson in simplicity. Just a few ingredients: organic soy and coconut waxes that "hold" scents longer and a blend of essential oils. The tins are easily transportable, too—perfect for your beach or weekend getaway bag.

Eco factor: Pacifica products are free of parabens, phthalates, nitro musks, lead wicks and animal ingredients (including beeswax).  They are not tested on animals and packaging is made with recycled content. Pacifica reuses and reduces wherever possible and is working toward carbon neutrality.

To buy: $9 at select Whole Foods, Sephora (which sells 6 of the 20 scents) and pacificaperfume.com

June 9, 2009

Josie Maran Bear Naked Makeup Remover Wipes

I've always favored gentle foaming cleansers over makeup-removing clothes to wash my face. But a lot of women love the no-water-required convenience of wipes.  Plus they're ideal for this time of year; they remove sweat and runny foundation in one quick swipe. Model Josie Maran has launched some nice ones: Bear Naked Makeup Remover Wipes.

A portion of every sale benefits the Polar Bear SOS, a Natural Resources Defense Council initiative that aims to have polar bears protected under the Endangered Species Act. One tragic effect of global warming is that rising temperatures have melted large amounts of Arctic ice. As a result, polar bears must swim further to find land and are drowning in the process. There are some heart-breaking images that document their plight....

Pretty factor: These gentle wipes use a soothing blend of cucumber, chamomile, aloe and vitamin E. They're free of artificial fragrance (which can irritate the delicate eye area), instead using a splash of grapefruit oil for a refreshing, zesty scent.

Eco factor: No parabens or artificial dyes or fragrance. A portion of proceeds goes to the Polar Bear SOS, an initiative by the Natural Resources Defense Council to get polar bears protected under the Endangered Species Act.

To buy: $12 at josiemarancosmetics.com and sephora.com

June 1, 2009

Safe Your World UV-Protecting Shampoo with Organic Yerba Maté

Those of us in the organic beauty industry often bemoan how hard it is to find effective, luxurious natural hair products.  Several brands, which will remain nameless, have let me down recently, leaving my ends more straw-like than silky-smooth. 

So, even though it doesn't have the chicest of packaging, I was down for trying a citrus-fresh shampoo sent to me from a brand with inspiring environmental activism: Save Your World's new Save Your Hair Color-Safe Shampoo in Oasis Fruit.

Pretty factor: Like John Masters, Save Your World also uses nutrient-rich organic aloe as its base instead of the typical water.  But the star ingredient is organic yerba maté, a South American herb that contains 24 vitamins, 15 amino acids, and powerful antioxidants = stronger, healthier, and more vibrant hair.  (Yerba mate is also believed to reverse grays, but I'll save my wishful thinking for bigger matters.)

Save Your Hair also hemp seed, coconut, evening primrose and avocado oils to hydrate and rejuvenate the hair plus titanium dioxide (a natural sunscreen) to protect against the color-fading effects of the sun.  I've been using this shampoo with Juice Organics Brightening Conditioner and my hair has been fuller and shinier.

Eco factor: With every Save Your World product bought, you spare one acre of rainforest in Guyana (a state in South America) from being logged for an entire year.  Save Your World partners with Conservation International, which pays Guyana's Forestry Commission what it would have received had the area been razed. So far, it has helped preserve 200,000 acres of CO2-absorbing rainforest.  Save Your World products are free of sulfates, 1,4-dioxane, parabens, and synthetic dyes or fragrance.

To buy: $12.98 at some Whole Foods and saveyourworld.com