One way to keep up with popular trends is to take a look at what celebrities are up to. I can't say they always know what is best, and I would never recommend doing anything because someone famous endorses it, but I can safely argue that celeb lifestyles receive a lot of attention! 

When it comes to healthy cosmetics, I am very excited to see what celebrities are saying. They are not experts, but its nice to know there are some famous faces out there advertising for a healthier world. 

Take Alicia Silverstone for example. She has been leading a Kind life, which means being actively leaner and greener in all daily endeavors. I am not sure if she is responsible for coining the term Kind, but I will give her credit for getting a clue! ...haha bad joke. Take a look at her quirky plug for Gabriel Cosmetics' Clean Kid Kit, taken from her OpenSky profile:
Yes, she seems a bit goofy but aren't most of us health nuts a little...well, nuts? 

Another leading female advocate for Kind living is Jessica Alba. She has teamed up with Chrisopher Gavigan, founder of Healthy Child Healthy World bring an honestly pure line of baby care products to a family near you. The Honest Co. strives to be just that - a company with healthy products and nothing to hide.
Celebs with a conscious are worth listening to, and since their voices reach millions of people it is great when they have something positive to share. Hopefully this trend of consciousness will continue to educate the masses...who knows, maybe BabyLove will get a sponsor of its own. Hey Beyonce, care to get on board with our project? We could use your help!
 
 
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What a week—the clock falls back (I can always use an extra hour of sleep), the presidential race finished (phew, no more election commercials), and the marathon of midterms finally finished! No better way to celebrate Friday than volunteering at the Food Bank, practicing my downward facing dog, and trying out my new Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral Enriched Moisture Cream. This product was recommended by one of my dearest childhood friend who just got married in Pebble Beach. In preparing for her wedding, she told me radiant skin secret was this product.



Because of this project, I now double and triple check ingredients list for all my skincare products before I smear anything on my body. Origins has always been one of my preferred brands because of their business philosophy to create products that are “powered by nature and proven by science”. However, I still consulted Google for a full review of every ingredient on the back label just to be sure they met to my standards (Yes, it definitely took more time than I’d like to admit!).

My first impulse is to verify that the compounds I couldn’t pronounce are considered safe by the Environmental Working Group. After I got those guys out of the way, I couldn't help researching the others. Surprisingly, the ones that caught my attention were the ones that I automatically assume were safe—the citrus oils. While these oils are not considered unsafe, they are phototoxic, meaning that they cause a sunburn-like reaction when exposed to light. Yikes!

Prior to the start of this project, I believed that natural ingredients are synonymous with safe ingredients. However, research has shown that this seemingly logical assumption is actually untrue. Millikan (2001) notes that many natural ingredients can actually be poisonous to the skin and more irritating than synthetic alternatives. Additionally, completely natural sourcing is nearly impossible to ensure batch-to-batch consistency. Given that teensy differences in ingredient concentration can result in adverse skin reactions (especially for people like myself with sensitive skin), it makes it tricky for product formulators to develop the perfect product. So how do you make the choice between natural and synthetic, irritant or effective? Maybe it is not such an easy choice after all.

... Got a little off track--back to the product. Thankfully, this PM specific moisture is only meant for night use, so the potential for the sunburn like reaction is probably pretty minimal. Additionally, I fragrant citrus smell of this product reminds me of my childhood days of stealing, uh, picking my neighbor’s oranges in Florida during the summertime. So, I am going to test this product out this week and report back next Friday!


 
 
Yayy for Election 2012!! Whether your candidate won or not, it’s hard to deny the feeling of empowerment that comes with voting! In California, there were some interesting Propositions on the ballot, and one in particular about labeling genetically modified foods (GMOs) reminded me of some challenges we still face in terms of consumer education.  Specifically, I’m thinking about the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (SCA2011).

As you’re reading this blog post, you may already know that when it comes to cosmetics regulation…the US is lacking. To put it nicely. My personal frustration with the status quo inspired me to write this more academic-like structured In Case You Missed It post (you can thank my policy analysis class for this one).

Below is this week’s In Case You Missed It – the history of cosmetics version!
Let’s get some historical perspective:
1848 – The first federal legislation to regulate drugs entering the US is passed: the Drug Importation Act.
1924 – Misleading statements on products labels are prohibited.
1938 – Cosmetics are regulated for the first time! Manufacturers must provide scientific proof of product safety through the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
1960 – Manufacturers have to ensure safety of colors in foods, drugs, and cosmetics: the Color Additive Amendment. Also, natural products based on botanical ingredients introduced.
1970 – Endangered species-related legislation bans certain cosmetics ingredients.
1976 – To review ingredient safety, an expert panel is formed. Results are publicly published in the International Journal of Toxicology.[1]
Did you notice that not a single piece of federal legislation after the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act actually regulates cosmetics specifically?! Despite so many advancements in technology, product ingredients, etc!!

Now, on to the present:

The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 was introduced in the House of Representatives in June 2011, and is currently bouncing around various subcommittees for further review. Basically, it increases regulations around cosmetics. In particular if this act passed, we’d see:
1.     Improved product labeling.
2.     Products screened against a reasonable certainty of no harm.
3.     Prescribed manufacturing processes for cosmetics and ingredients.[2] 

These three actions form a system that ideally screens out harmful and potentially carcinogenic substances, while keeping things affordable for small businesses.  This bill should not be confused with the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010…that bill was like the Beta version compared to 2011’s bill. The major arguments against the 2010 bill did not come from big cosmetic companies, which I would have thought, but actually from small to medium sized businesses who couldn’t afford the registration fees. The New and Improved SCA2011 listened to those complaints, and will eliminate fees for the smaller companies. [3]

In fact, SCA2011 goes beyond fee waivers to make the process easier for small businesses. With 1800 companies signed on to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, revisions to labeling, disclosure, and testing, SCA2011 is more of a collaboration than a battle. [4]  Whether or not some concessions were made from the 2010 bill, passing SCA2011 would definitely be a step forward! It’s true value seems to be that it pretty much UPDATES the regulatory processes to match current technological capabilities. I mean, I’m sure the 1938 legislation did its job but it’s been 74 years…a lot’s happened. We have new chemicals, new manufacturing processes, new products – it makes sense to have new regulation. 

Something that stood out to me about SCA2011 is that it requires companies to list the ingredients in “fragrance.” In my experience, “fragrance” can hide a multitude of potentially harmful ingredients like phthalates, parabens, or triclosan. Companies elect NOT to disclose those ingredients, claiming that the fragrance is a proprietary blend and therefore, a “trade secret.”[5] 
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What’s most disturbing to me is when I’m able to push through the marketing of a product, and really scrutinize the ingredients and the company’s mission – I realize the true danger I put MYSELF in on a daily basis! It’s overwhelming in the skin care or makeup aisle…with dozens of brands fighting for my attention, I can spend an HOUR in the store and still walk out empty-handed. Personally, I feel that the government could do so much more to protect me, the consumer, by simply phasing out known carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals from products that I use on a daily basis. 

If you are interested in reading more about cosmetics regulation, or want to follow the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 as it moves (hopefully) forward, see the references section for some great resources.

References:
[1] http://www.safecosmeticsalliance.org/index.cfm?objectid=EE203500-D4DB-11E1-A38E000C296BA163
[2] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.2359:
[3] http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=695
[4] http://www.forbes.com/sites/amywestervelt/2011/06/27/new-and-improved-safe-cosmetics-act-could-boost-green-chemistry/
[5] http://www.ewg.org/files/nottoopretty_final.pdf

 
 
I love Halloween! I know lots of people do, based on how many pins of Halloween makeup/candy/costumes/food/decorations I saw on Pinterest all month long...

And, since there's such a great big community of Halloween enthusiasts, I thought I'd cover something for the day AFTER Halloween. 

As you run errands (ie, go from Walmart to Target to CVS to Rite Aid buying 50% off Halloween candy), you're bound to need a caffeinated pick-me-up, if you're anything like me. I drink my coffee black, so I typically bypass the packets of sugar, honey, lemon, etc, but recently I paused and snagged a handful, since there were packets of Sugar in the Raw. I already knew what was gonna happen.

BEAUTY TO-GO: Lemon-Honey-Sugar Scrub
Ingredients: 2 packets of lemon juice, 1 packet of honey, 1 packet of sugar in the raw, 2 teaspoons EVOO from the pantry.
Tools: fork and shot glass (I made mine a facial scrub, so only used a small amount).
Steps:
1. Pour the lemon into the EVOO
2. Mix until well combined
3. Add the honey, and stir
4. Add the sugar
This amount was perfect for my face and neck. I massaged the sugar rocks gently over my skin, and rinsed with warm water. I must say, when rinsing, my skin felt oily still from the scrub and I was worried I'd need to use my facial cleanser after, but once I dried off with a towel, my skin felt incredibly smooth, clean, and moisturized - not oily at all.
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Looks like food...oh wait! It is food.
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Fresh-faced! Feelin good. Note the neon pink shower sponge in the back!
And now, for the best the interwebs have to offer...In case you missed it:



Those were my top 5 stories for the week ... what are some of yours?
 
 
The BabyLove team received an enormous amount of inspiration this weekend when we visited Baltimore to attend the 20th Annual Net Impact Conference. For those of you unfamiliar with Net Impact, it is a global organization dedicated to social progress, using the power of businesses, corporations and education for good. Most simply put, the organization aspires to teach everyone that no matter what their role is at work or in life in general, they can make a positive impact. 

You are a net impacter if you: 
  • Make decisions on a daily basis that lend to a higher cause.
  • Go beyond your employee duties to enhance social responsibility occurring at your work place. 
  • Are willing to take a risk to make a change or lasting impression in your community, city...world! 
Jessalyn and I learning the ways of responsibility in Baltimore. Apparently fancy cake has a lot to do with it. 

Corporations and industries do not only influence our economy, but our behavior as a society as well. If they operate in a manner that is socially and environmentally aware, the consumer in turn will have less of an opportunity to practice unsustainable habits. And if every company took steps to mitigate the harmful side effects that come of their operation, such as air or water pollution, there would be much less cleaning up to do. 

Its a shame that this isn't always obvious to everyone, or in their best interest. Sometimes it takes one person working within the company and concerned about to stand up and propose a change. 

As a happy member of Net Impact, BabyLove is devoted to doing whatever it takes to make a difference. We believe it is important to be mindful of our actions, and as an up and coming business we have the potential to put our energy towards betterment. This is our number one mission, beyond making money, earning fame or status...We wont be happy until we know we've done all we can for our mothers and mother nature!
 
 
Happy Monday!

I always love a good egg yolk. Some people avoid them and ONLY eat the egg whites because they’re afraid that the yolk is too fatty, or has cholesterol, or has this or that…well, in my opinion, they are MISSING OUT.

It also turns out that egg yolks are pretty controversial, especially for pregnant women. While sources like Whole Foods list whole eggs in their top 10 Power Foods for pregnant and nursing mothers, pointing to the fact that egg yolks contain most of an egg’s nutrition, the issue seems to be around RAW yolks.

Raw or undercooked food can pose serious risks to pregnant women and their developing babies, and egg yolks can carry bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Many websites address these dangers, citing mostly the same risks of infection and recommending a thoroughly cooked, firm egg yolk.

There are, however, people who believe that as long as the egg is from a free-range, pastured chicken, a runny egg yolk may actually BENEFIT a mother during pregnancy.

I guess this is something I’ll revisit in the not too near, not too distant future once I decide to have children, but the message I took away from this intense Google-research-session is…enjoy as many runny yolks as I can now!!!

What would you do? Would you take the risk? Do you believe the hype – for either side of the controversy??
Honestly, can anyone out there tell me that this does not look delicious?? I ate these for breakfast this morning – all you do for the perfectly pan-fried runny-yolk egg is:
1.     Heat the pan to medium heat.
2.     Drizzle in oil – any kind is good – my favorites are olive oil, coconut oil, or even non-stick spray if you want to cut down on fat.
3.     Crack the free-range, pastured eggs right into the pan and let simmer until the whites turn…well, white.
4.     Cover the pan (this helps cook the film of egg white that’s covering the yolk). If it looks like the bottom of the egg might get too crunchy, add a splash of water to the pan to get some steam action going.
5.     Carefully use a spatula and lift the eggs off the pan and onto your plate.
6.     Sprinkle whatever spices you like – I like pepper, oregano, and cumin usually but this morning I kept it simple with some fresh cracked pepper.
***
And now for this week's In Case You Missed It….

·         Organic Monitor Director argues that sustainably-minded Asian companies still overlook social and economic impacts.  The statement addresses a holistic approach and focuses on sustainable packaging. I wonder how or if those companies will respond…

·         Have you heard of EcoCert?  A certification body specializingin natural and organic cosmetics, they issued Honeywell’s first certification for an Asensa hydrolyzed corn starch that forms a latex and is used in both skincare and haircare applications. And I thought corn starch was just for cooking…

·         The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled a recent ad by Boots brand Little Me Organics to be misleading. The product has “organic” in its title, yet contains less than 5% organic ingredients. Semantics and legal definitions can be so problematic, can’t they?

·         Marine-based cosmetics might cause more harm than its worth by placing even more pressure on increasingly strained marine ecosystems.  May want to consider the FULL implications of that “eco” sea kelp scrub…

·         As you prepare your Halloween costume, check out this article from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics about metals in face paints before deciding to paint yourself blue in a full Avatar get-up.  I may have to come up with a new costume now…can’t be Yoda without a green face, now can I?

·         Here are 12 tips for a Healthy Halloween from Mother Nature Network. Yes, more about Halloween…but you can never have enough Halloween!!!

OH! By the way!!! Remember this post about running the Race for the Rescues 10K?  Well they sent out a post-even email announcing that ALL the pups at the event were adopted!!! AND – apparently they took pictures of the runners, and guess who is front and center in the FIRST picture of the email?

Uhh…of ALL the pictures. Of course, right.

Sorry for the randomness of this post…I've been running low on sleep! Have a wonderful week – stay safe and  stay healthy!

 
 
And the holiday-like week continues #pleasedontletitstop. For the last seven days, our doorstep has been covered with boxes of samples from companies we love. After months of researching these brands, our team was finally able to touch and see the products firsthand—this is a HUGE step in moving our project along. We are starting to see the tangible benefits of our hard work and cannot wait to how this progress continues over the next few months. But we could not have done any of it without the help of our brand sponsors. 

The generosity of Pretty Mommies, Susan Brown’s Baby Company, Lavender Ranch, Topricin, Jadience, and Mother Love allowed our team to transform our idea into a tangible product—and we are so thankful for this opportunity! Not only are these brands products fantastic, but the people that stand behind the brands rock too. Our team has had the opportunity to speak to brands’ representatives about everything from their products ingredients to how this industry works to why they love their company. The time that these people have taken aside to help us out is an invaluable part of moving our project further and giving our team a better understanding of how to fix this widespread problem.

So this week, we toast to our brand sponsors and cheers Thank You, Gracias, Merci, Grazi, and Danke to helping us pursue our project.

P.S. here’s a sneak peek of the samples!



 
 
Happy hump day! I hope your week is treating you well. Its always nice when work has its rewards, and for BabyLove we're beginning to see our hard work really pay off. We've been busy uncovering the latest in skincare and are excited to share our thoughts on some sample kits we received this week. 
To get a firsthand look at beauty sampling we decided to order boxes from some popular providers. Today we received our October packages from Beauty Army, Ipsy and Green Grab Bag. Our roommates peeped over our shoulders and chimed in with (jealous) ooh and aahs as we opened the boxes. 
Beauty Army's products arrived in a chic pink box that, to our surprise, is recyclable! We are always excited about companies who incorporate elements of sustainability. But Beauty Army's eco-conscious doesn't stop there. Upon closer examination of the products and a little bit of research into their ingredient composition, we found that all of these cosmetics are formulated naturally. In fact, most of the brands Beauty Army offers are all natural. Good looking out!
Ipsy had clever packaging as well. The magenta sleeve is a nice touch, and although plastic is no friend to the environment, we appreciated their material-minimalist approach. Instead of the more wasteful box-inside-of-another-box-stuffed-with-tissue-and-wrapping packaging style we usually see, Ipsy simplified their design with one external envelope and a cute makeup bag to house the products. We applaud re-usability and are taking notes for our own sample kit design. 
Last but certainly not least, Green Grab Bag delivered quite the cosmetic surprise. Everything included in their package is simply mouth watering. Coconut hazelnut sugar scrub, dark chocolate body butter, wild ginger alaea salt scrub...these products are supposed to go ON your body right? Well I guess they are probably healthy enough to eat too, but I wouldn't go that far. 

Another product that impressed me in this bag was Beeseline, a beeswax take on Vaseline which is a petroleum jelly product. I can't wait to let my mom try this out and hopefully break her Vaseline habit! 

Thank you fellow samplers! We applaud your work.
 
 
This week I’d like to start off with a VERY important announcement:
BabyLove has a Facebook page!! Head on over and check us out – We absolutely LOVE new friends, happy messages, cool wall posts, and definitely those “Likes”. Keep up to date on our project’s development as we move forward and grow!! #weresoexcitedandwejustcanthideit


We will be fully integrating our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, BabyLove website, and any other social media outlet we can think of…so that hopefully, you can visit us no matter how you choose to procrastinate...I mean.. pass the time online.

Speaking of social media outlets – I am a self-diagonsed Insta-addict. I’m always on Instagram – looking at photos, posting photos…it has taken the place of Facebook in my personal procrastination arsenal. My latest post:

I’m a huge animal (particularly pups) lover, and something that has always just killed me is animal testing of cosmetics. Honestly – my eyes tear up thinking about it #Imsuchasensitivesap.  I’m always looking for the “Not Animal Tested” verbage on labels, and it’s so sad that there are so few products out there that have it. It’s an outrage, really!!!

BUT a recent breakthrough in a Portuguese study could significantly reduce animal testing – the researchers’ goal, in fact, is to ABOLISH animal testing in the cosmetics industry.  Their “Sensitiser Predictor” test is a faster, economical way to assess skin sensitivity – and a seemingly better alternative to testing on animals.

So with that sad, and then hopeful, transition, here is what’s out there in green cosmetics news…In case you missed it.

·         Pretty Mommies Skin Care comments on the dangers lurking in topical skin products and how they affect an unborn baby. Did you know that oxybenzone, an ingredient in many sunscreens, is a potential hormone disruptor and has long been associated with low birthweight? So scary!

·         This NYT article provides alternatives to costly cosmetics – for example, to replace a “beach hair” spray ($20 for 4 ounces) … go to the beach! So simple.

·         FOX News anchorwomen wear noticeably more makeup than their liberal counterparts, as discussed in this Huffingtonpost article. Interesting…

·         Though not cosmetics-related, this article details the dangers of PVC flooring. PVC is found in many play-mat floors (soft, flexible plastic), and contains phthalates – an incredibly pervasive endocrine disruptor.  Better check those daycares! Yikes…

·         “Stars without makeup: The real face of fame.”  A slideshow gallery depicting 90+ celebrities with and without makeup. I love these!

That’s it for now … Stay safe, stay healthy!

 
 
This Friday, the Holidays Came Early!

We are not the type of girls that regularly receives packages in the mail. In fact, most weeks our mailbox is either completely empty or filled with bills and junk mail. But this Friday was different. You know that feeling you get when your boyfriend surprises you with a beautiful bouquet of flowers or when you run downstairs to the tree on Christmas morning? That’s how Team BabyLove felt when we saw the UPS man bringing two big boxes with our name on the top to the doorstep. These packages were overflowing with three new samples from two of our favorite brands--Pretty Mommies and Susan Brown’s Baby Company! 

Not only are these samples adorably packaged, but moms love how great the stuff is on the inside. And it’s easy to see why: both Pretty Mommies products and Susan Brown’s Baby Natural Sensitive Lotion-to-Powder is free of talc, fragrance, parabens, and phthalates as well as recommended by dermatologists. And they work!

The women behind the brands are equally as remarkable as their products. We heard firsthand how committed the founders are to revolutionizing the maternity skincare industry and making great products that are safe too. We are so grateful that companies like these exist and are even more excited helping BabyLove get up and running. So stay posted for updates about the launch of our product—we cannot wait to share these products with you!