The Holistic Chick Online

Heathy and Holistic Inside and Out…Don't Drink Coffee While Riding an Elliptical.

Sugar/Stevia Blends Question..and that new sugar, Nectresse

English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage

English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have noticed that both Domino and C&H brands have both come out with “light” versions of sugar, a stevia/sugar blend.

Both brands claim the same for their products:  half the calories of sugar, a half a teaspoon of “light” equals the sweetness of one teaspoon of plain sugar, with no artificial ingredients.

No artificial ingredients.

If you check out the ingredients for both products, they are exactly the same:  Sugar, Stevia, Natural Flavoring.  I can’t locate what the natural flavoring is.

Also, on the S&H FAQ Page, there is this disclaimer:

Q. How much stevia is used in C&H® Light?

Since C&H® Light is a proprietary blend of sugar and stevia, we are not at liberty to share the particulars with the public. C&H® Light is an all natural, reduced calorie sweetener that has met with all FDA regulations and contains no known allergens.

-from www.chsugar.com

There’s no way to find out the ratio of sugar to stevia, and who knows what “natural flavors” mean, so I guess I will be leaving this on the shelf.

Oh, I also came across Nectresse, made by the makers of Splenda.  The first ingredient is erythritol, a sugar alcohol.  Next ingredient is sugar, third is Monk Fruit, last is molasses (from http://www.nectresse.com/faq#32).

Nectresse sounds good, looks good, is marketed really well, but is it really beneficial for us?

 

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Cuppow: This Thing is Awesome. Oh, and I now have a Smart Phone.

My Cuppow At Work Action Shot

I cannot for the life of me remember where I came across Cuppow.  I know once I found it I posted it all over my personal Facebook page because really, how ingenious!  My friends saw my posts and commented how cool it looked, but no one had purchased one yet.

I so planned on buying one, but you, dear readers, know things come up.  I wanted it, but I had more pressing things to worry about, like taxes, getting the oil changed in my car, putting gas in my car, the dryer ate my last bra, those things.  So the Cuppow was put on my list of “wants” and I figured I would drool over the pictures until I was able to get one.

Then a friend of mine sent a message to me over Facebook saying he ordered presents and they should be here in about a week.  I scratched my head at that, thinking what on earth, he must have meant someone else.  So I never replied.  He never followed up, so I forgot about it.  Until I got a text on my phone asking if I was home, presents had come in the mail, could he come over?  Um, sure, I texted back, and not a minute later he was at my front door with a Cuppow.

I think his back is still bothering him from when I threw my arms around him.  Ooops.

I mean, how sweet and amazing for him to get me one, right?  The only thing, we are both totally lame, because neither of us had a wide-mouth Mason jar to use it with!  A day later we had that solved, but really?  No wide mouth jars?  He had none, and I had a ton of narrow mouth jars.  I found a box of wide mouth lids with bands, but no jars.  Yeah, all I can do is shake my head.

So!  Cuppow!  These things are super, super cool.  This hard, BPA free plastic lids turn your Mason jar into a leak-proof drinking vessel.  The Cuppow sits right on top of your wide mouth jar, you screw the band on and there you go, the coolest coffee cup ever.   Canning jars are the best really, because they are clean, they don’t stain, absorb flavors, you can wash them, boil them, whatever.  You can have a cup of coffee, then rinse it out and have a cup of tea without any residual flavors from the coffee.  There’s no BPA or chemical worries with a canning jar.

In the summer time I use a quart jar for iced tea at work, with tons of ice, a straw, lemon and fresh mint. A quart jar is big enough to last between breaks, and if I need to I can slap the lid and band back on it.  They really are handy, and the Cuppow makes them handier.

(Shameless Starbucks Plug:  The pint jars are perfect for Via.  Just sayin’)

The only downside is the glass gets hot if you’re drinking hot beverages, but a quick Etsy search will come up with plenty of options for cozies for your jars. With or without handles.  Oh, and for those of you, like me, who have tons of narrow mouthed jars, I was informed the Cuppow people are going to come out with narrow-mouthed lids before the summer.  NICE!

On another topic, we finally got our phones upgraded, so I now have a Smart Phone.  A Samsung Exhibit II4G for Android.  I have been totally geeking out ever since I got the silly thing.  WordPress has an app, so of course I downloaded it, as well as some other cool writing apps.  Even Etsy for Android is just amazing.  I use Dolphin as a browser and don’t worry, the geek simply wipes off.  🙂

 

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Thought I found a new line of healthy cosmetics. I really did.

A sample of Prussian blue.

Sample of Prussian Blue, which is also known as Ferro Ammonium Ferrocyanide. Thanks Wikipedia.

I was in a search engine kind of mood tonight (in other words, procrastinating like you would not believe) and I came across a brand of cosmetics who had come out with a healthy line of products.

I must say the front page for this line of products (let me call them Exhibit A so I won’t overuse adjectives) was very nice.  I was sold simply by reading the description, “100% natural and packed with organic ingredients”.  There was mention of Eco-Cert Certification, the packaging was award winning because it was made of an everyday vegetable, the packaging was very attractive and boy, I really liked the color of the lipstick!  I dove into the two pages of products, all excited as to the bounty I was going to be faced with.

I am going to number my disappointments:

1. No lipstick.  There was lip-gloss, but no lipstick.  There was a picture of several shades of lipstick, in the same amazing packaging, but either the company is out, or not advertising it or whatever.  Regardless of the reason, it wasn’t available to purchase.  I can adapt, so I aimed for the lip-gloss.

2.  The Lip-gloss has nice colors, the price is a bit steep at $20 but the price doesn’t matter anymore because right smack dab in the middle of the ingredients is Fragrance (parfum).  Those two words are a deal breaker for me, because Fragrance (parfum) can be absolutely anything.  Now, Fragrance is known as a trade secret, so companies do NOT have to divulge what the Fragrance is made of.  The website tells us Exhibit A’s Lip Gloss is formulated with “natural and organic ingredients”.  That is well and good, but what are those ingredients?  Traditionally, Fragrance (parfum) is generally known as an umbrella term for synthetic or chemical compounds, so in this Lip Gloss am I to assume the same thing? The website says this line of cosmetics is made without synthetic fragrances, so do I believe it? As I said, seeing that one ingredient is an absolute deal breaker, so I moved on to another product in the line.

3.  Pressed Powder!  Yipee!  Wait…no ingredients listed.  NEXT.

4.  Loose powder!  Well, not too bad, pressed is more purse friendly but…oh wait, first ingredient is talc, which my skin hates.  Never mind.

5.  Eye Shadows!  Soft, muted colors and again first ingredient is talc.  Scratch that idea.  Even worse, at the end of the ingredient list there’s that phrase that make my eyes roll to the back of my head:  “May Contain”.  Then there’s a line of letters with numbers.  Whatever these letters and numbers mean, are they in the product or not?  May Contain?  So, if we get a batch that contains whatever it may or may not contain are we better off for it, or is it an accidental batch?

6.  Last but not least, in an attempt to find something that I absolutely had to have, I checked out the eyeliner.  This time instead of looking at the colors, I went straight to the ingredients, which were rather good save for this horrible mouthful of letters:  Ferro Ammonium Ferrocyanide.

All together now, say it five times fast.  Typing the word about made me dizzy.  To save myself from falling out of my desk chair I copied and pasted the words into my search engine and up popped several cosmetics websites that inform us of chemicals in our cosmetics and their possible toxicity levels, but I bypassed those websites in favor of the one that would prove my point without any sort of bias.

Heck yeah, I went to the FDA.  The Federal Drug Administration.  The Feds.  Their own website.  Because hey, if the government says it’s OK to use, why let’s just hop right on that train and ride it to the end of time (insert whatever level of sarcasm you see fit).  Seriously, I went to the FDA’s Color Additive Status List.  Looks like it was last updated in December 2009?  Huh.  You have to scroll down, or use the links across the top, to find the section where Ferro Ammonium Ferrocyanide lives.  Oh, and List 5?  List 5 are the colorants “exempt from certification and permanently listed for DRUG use.  (None of these color additives may be used in products that are for use in the area of the eye, unless otherwise indicated.).”  Copied and pasted from the List 5 Category.

Now, the list is in alphabetical order, so it’s not difficult to find what the Fed’s have to say about Ferro Ammonium Cyanide.  For those who aren’t intrigued by all this, let me quote what it written:  “Externally applied drugs, including those for eye area – GMP – 73.1298”.  So.  This colorant is exempt from certification, and we can use it on the eyes.  *raises eyebrows*

So then, I went to an independent website to see what they had to say about Ferro Ammonium Cyanide:

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Ferric Ferrocyanide and Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide as color additives exempt from certification. Ferric Ferrocyanide and Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide are safe for use in coloring externally applied cosmetics and personal care products, including products applied to the area of the eye, when these ingredients conform to FDA specifications. Ferric Ferrocyanide and Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide are also allowed to be used in externally applied drugs. These ingredients are not allowed to be used in products intended for use on the lips.

Wait up a second.  I can use this product on my eyes, but not on my lips?  Is this the reason why cosmetic companies, who have loose, colored powders you can use as either nail polish, eyeliner, eye shadow or lipstick have a disclaimer when certain colors are not to be used on the mouth?

In addition, this product is in a brand of cosmetics that is said as being “100% natural and packed with organic ingredients”.

This is why we need to educate ourselves.  The pretty packaging and claims sometimes do not tell us what we need to know before we use a beauty product…

What we should know.

 

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Massive Make-Up Kit FAIL

Today I found a huge purple case in the bathroom containing cosmetics from one of the big make-up stores (I am going to assume it belongs to the 15 year old) .  It was pretty awesome:  tons of eyeshadows, lipsticks, glosses, blushers, bronzers, eye pencils and all of the brushes you could want.

Hanging from the handle was the tag, which contained several “pages” of the ingredients of all the products included.  This was no healthy brand of cosmetics, the ingredients were shocking as well as completely toxic.  The first ingredient in all of the eyeshadows and powders was talc, which makes me run away screaming.  Add in the parabens, SLS, acetates, polymers…yeah, just a chemical slew of pretty colors.  That’s not the reason why I am here mentioning this make-up kit, thought.

What shocked me was this warning, listed in bold black letter after the ingredients for the blush and the bronzer:  DO NOT PUT ON LIPS.

Doesn’t say why, it just says it.  So here’s my question:  so if its safe for your face but not on your lips, why put it on your face?

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A Minor Rant

Colours - make up

Image via Wikipedia

I bet you all can already guess I love cosmetics.   A brand new tube of lipstick always puts a smile on my face, I am not ashamed to admit it.  I have tried all sorts of colors, types, department store, drugstore, expensive, cheap…I’ve tried it.

Over the past year I have devoted myself to educating myself and others about the dangers in typical over the counter cosmetics and beauty products.  I never thought beauty products were unhealthy, I believed in all the print ads and the pretty models when they said this one product is going to make a difference in your life.  I felt special when I raided the Clinique counter of their facial cleansers and toners, I loved the eye shadows at MAC.

Then a friend started selling a direct sales brand of cosmetics and I was in heaven all over again.  I had personalized service and she ran a tab for me as well so I could always have what I wanted, and believe me I used every single item that was offered:  cleansers, masks, microdermabraision, moisturizers, toners, eye cream, something to even out my skin tone…and all of this was before I actually put any makeup on.  Then came the color and primers and everything else.  I had the best eye shadows ever in my entire life, a whole selection of lipsticks and liners and glosses. I enjoyed doing myself up every day.

Then the line changed their formulation for their cosmetics:  they came out with a powder mineral foundation that was supposed to be the greatest thing, they changed the formulation of eye shadows from whatever they were to mineral, their lipsticks became scented with vanilla…suddenly cosmetics weren’t as fun anymore.  The mineral foundation was full of talc (which my face did not like) the eye shadows did not last on my eyelids, the eye primer made my eyes burn, the mascara made  the inside of my eyelids break out, and I cannot stand the smell of fake vanilla.

So I started my search for healthier cosmetics.  It didn’t happen overnight, I spent tons of time online looking for eye shadows, lipsticks, and especially foundation, and not only foundation, but there were veils and sheers and all this other stuff THAT WAS LOOSE.

Everything came in little jars, and you needed fluffy brushes to apply.  All sorts of brushes:  contouring, lining, blush, foundation and lets not forget the numbers of the brushes.  I can’t keep them straight.  Whatever happened to the little sponge applicators?  I liked the little sponge applicators, they work for me.  I never bought the line that brushes had to be used to get a more professional, polished look.

Lets go back to my issue:  everything is loose.  Loose foundations, eye shadows, blushes, veils, shimmers, bronzers.  Touch ups are no longer a simple compact with a little pad, now you have to carry around the container and the coordinating brush.  Even though there are those new “locking lids”, its really difficult to be discreet when you have to click open the container, shake product onto the lid, then take the kabuki brush and swirl it around, while not trying to shake the powder all over you and everyone else.

The eye shadows:  love the colors, hate the big mess, hate the brushes.  The days of clicking open a compact and having colors there in one place are long gone, now we have messy jars and brushes and mess.  There’s more glittery colors out there than matte, and I am of the age where I am not into glitter.  Also, for the most part colors come individually, so instead of having a set of colors together that compliment one another, you have to figure out on your own what color goes with which other colors.  Believe me when I say I once ordered from one shop four different times trying to get the right brown.

Samples are cool, but there still isn’t enough product to make a difference.  I have a collection of 20 different colors of foundation powders,   What I thought was the right color when I put it on turned out to NOT be the right color after the oils on my face broke through (which doesn’t take long, stupid skin)  so I turned to another sample.  I used almost the entire thing on my face so I didn’t have a whole lot to touch up with, so I used a lighter color, which made my face look as if I dipped it into a floured cake pan.

I got fed up.  I wanted to take all of my jars and dime bags and huck the whole entire wad into the garbage can…but then I found hope.  Hope in a plastic Petri dish looking container.  I finally came across a foundation that was not a powder, that did not need brushes, that didn’t change color over the course of the day and blended into my skin so flawlessly due to its yummy oils I didn’t need an exact color, the foundation came in three colors and the “deep” suited me perfectly. 

I did end up finding a pressed mineral powder, so I consider the face part of my makeup routine taken care of.  I am still looking for healthy pressed eye shadow.  I love eye shadow but I simply hate the mess that comes with all of the little jars.  Today, out of frustration and just to be pissy,  I went to the drugstore and actually bought a $2.99 pressed eye shadow trio in three very pretty colors.  Each color is imprinted with where the color should go:  Brow bone, Crease, Lid, and there’s a sponge applicator as well as a little brush for application. Eye shadow for Dummies.  Love it.  On the back of the compact I am promised “all day crease-resistant color, and the coordinating shades take the guesswork out of creating the perfect eye look”.  Hey, if its written it must be true, right?  I am going to get a lot for my $2.99, right? As soon as I got into my car I put it on, and as soon as I sat down at work my eyes started to water, but I didn’t let it bother me because I had product that was easy to work with.   I got a box of tissues and dealt with it, eventually it went away.

Fast forward to about 8 hours later, I am still at work, writing this article and looking at my new eye shadows in their pretty little black case.  I realize I have to peel away at some labeling in order to find the ingredients, which was a pain because I was supposed to separate the back label, not rip the entire thing off.  Eventually I came across the ingredient list.  I will only point out the ingredients I know are bad and there’s a word or two I can’t even pronounce:  Talc (that might ingredient that made me switch to natural cosmetics after my face broke out in an oozy, drippy rash), Dimethicone, Trimethylisiloxysilicate (a silicone derivative, the Cosmetics Database considers it a low hazard ingredient),  Nylon-12, (a bulking and opacifying agent, considered a clay alternative in reducing shine, is able to expand and contract with facial movements without filling in small lines, creating a full and smooth appearance, is considered hypoallergenic and sterile), Synthetic Fluorphlogopite all I can find is that it’s an artificial mica), Methyl and  Propylparabens,  Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Tin Oxide (I am just going to give the link to the OSHA listing for Tin Oxide and leave it at that http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heathguidelines/tinoxide/recognition.html ).And this is about half the ingredients.  MAY CONTAIN:  Aluminum Powder, Carmine, Ferric Ferrocyanide (inorganic pigments used as colorants.  Also known as Iron Blue, Prussian Blue, and is known as the antidote to chronic Thallium poisoning), among other things.

Seriously.  I think I can deal with the messiness more than an ingredient list such as the one I listed above.

I am on the hunt for healthy pressed eye shadows now.

 

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Promise Me Perfume

Here’s an interesting article regarding the new Susan G. Komen perfume, Promise Me, the toxins it contains, and how these toxins are harmful.

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How Much Are You Willing to Spend…

…for a lipstick?  Face Moisturizer?  Cleanser?

Say you walk into your local mall to visit the department store.  Ah the Cosmetic Section!  All of the shiny counters, the pretty labels and bottles, the Gifts with Purchase…back in my days of using OTC cosmetics, visiting the department store and dropping several hundred on beauty products didn’t phase me at all.  I simply charged my credit card and didn’t pay a whole lot of attention as to how much the facial scrub cost, all I knew is that it worked, smelled good and I had to have it. I can’t remember what I was paying then, but checking out the brands online store,  $53 for the three step system, $18 for the facial scrub, $36 for the skin renewal treatment…and this is before I hit the makeup.  $22 for foundation, $14.50 for a lipstick, and this was going into a department store and being hypnotized by the lights and smells.

Its been years since I have gone to a department store for anything.  For skin care, right before I went “healthy”, I was using cosmetics from a direct sales company.  No shiny displays, no bright lights, but I still didn’t blink when I spent $13 on a lipstick, $6 for one eyeshadow, $90 for the age-fighting system that included a foundation.  $30 for eye cream, microdermabrasion for $55.  It all adds up.  These products had more “bad” ingredients than good, and the mineral powder foundation literally ruined my face.  I was spending $18 on the foundation and $10 for the brush for the foundation, as well as ingredients such as talc (the #1 ingredient), dimethicone, methacrylate copolymer, methyl and propylparabens.

Having spent all that money on products with questionable ingredients, do I cringe when I spend $14 dollars on a foundation that doesn’t have the icky ingredients?  Not at all.  $7 for a lipstick without lead?  $3 for an eye primer that doesn’t make my eyes turn read?

Check out this excellent article, found on www.healthybeautyproject.com. How much are we willing to pay for beauty, especially for beauty with healthy ingredients?

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The Dirty Dozen

Found this on Well+GoodNYC.  Its a lit of the Dirty Dozen, the 12 ingredients we should avoid in our “daily use products”.

I don’t know if this is ALL of the harmful things we should avoid, but for the person who’s just started on the journey of clean products, this is a good start.

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A Few Things I’ve Realized

Lipstick

Image via Wikipedia

1.  Pea Pods and Carrots in a Taco Salad are pretty tasty, as well as a hefty helping of Black Bean and Corn Salsa with fresh Cilantro.  I actually had ground beef in my salad (I usually stick with beans) but the meat was equal parts of meat and pulverized spinach and carrots.  Pretty yums.

2.  The more I take care of my skin with decent facial products the less need I have for foundation.  Once I quit the chemical-laden cosmetic line I had been using for two years, healed and cleared my skin from said products, and found out what actually works for my skin due to trial and error, I have no desire to cover my skin up for the first time in my life.  Mind you, my skin isn’t perfect by any means, but I don’t have glaring issues as well.   My skin is soft and glowing all on its own, and this is from a 40 year old who SWORE she had horribly oily skin, so everything I was using was to eliminate that oil.  I had no idea I was starving my skin.  Now I know better.  I alternate between Olive Oil Soap and Oil to clean my face, tone with an alcohol free Rose Petal and Elderflower Blossom Tonerand I moisturize with different products, from Coconut Oil, Argan Oil beneath my eyes, to Owen’s Acres Ultimate Beauty Salve. the last time my skin looked this good,I was spending an absolute fortune on a department store skin care line.

 

I still love lipstick and eyeshadow, though.

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Shampoo and Condition off the DrugStore Shelf

Introduced flowers, such as this Kahili Ginger...

Image via Wikipedia

I will be the first to admit, I did something stupid.  Two weeks ago I was at my local drugstore to get girl things.  You know what I mean, swabs, cotton balls, pads, razors…chick things.  I was in the hair product aisle and obviously had some sort of moment because I ended up buying a huge bottle of shampoo and its matching conditioner.

Don’t get me wrong, they smell awesome.  Absolutely awesome.  I spent maybe $4 for each 11 oz bottle, and the bottles are pretty!  They’re green, there’s shea butter and something else yummy in both products and the whole eye and nose experience was lovely.  It got even better when I washed and conditioned my hair.  My hair looked and felt and smelled wonderful, I could easily get a comb through it, and the wonderful smell lasted all day!

These things lasted about four days.  On day number five I couldn’t stop scratching my scalp for the life of me.  I thought at first that it was because I missed a day washing my hair (which as it turned out, I didn’t) because I was in denial, but yep, it turns out my lovely, cheap shampoo and conditioner is full of chemicals my scalp does NOT like.

Needless to say, I learned my lesson.  So back to Dr. Bronners Lavender Bar Soap and my 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oil as a conditioner.  What was I thinking?!

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