The Controversy Around Talcum Powder

I have recently been asked by customers about whether I am familiar with the news stories about potential connections between talcum powder products and ovarian cancer.

It is well documented in the public domain that numerous lawsuits have been filed against the mega giant Johnson & Johnson. These cases have alleged that particles of talcum powder have been found in the ovaries of women with ovarian cancer. Women were using one of three products by Johnson & Johnson: Talc, Baby Powder, or Shower to Shower.

The items were purchased for the purpose of “feminine hygiene.” Women were looking for the benefit of absorbing moisture and preventing rashes, as well as dusting their diaphragms with it. It turns out that the use of these products in the genital area shows an increased risk for epithelial ovarian cancer.

How much of a risk? Depends on what doctors’ comments you read, or what jury is sitting on the case.

Why add this to your worry list? Our Herbal Silk Body Powder contains certified organic cornstarch and arrowroot instead, so you don’t have to be concerned about its safety. You can achieve the results you seek without the dangers of talc.

Labels Are Important

In today’s fast moving world, labels serve as an announcement to customers. They are a short-hand way to describe a brand and who they are.

The labels we use on our products have an artistic representation of plants and botanicals, the basis of our products.

We also have a grouping of logos under our social media tools.  These reference certifications by key groups in the environmentally active health and beauty industry.

Herbaliz is a certified business with Green America, which stands as a stamp of recognition for “environmental sustainability and social justice.”

There is a cruelty-free icon which signifies Herbaliz is in a searchable database compiled by Peta. It confirms that we do not test on animals. (Ugh. Do companies still do that?)

We have signed on to the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, which is under the umbrella of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The Environmental Workers Group (EWG) features the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, which lists eighty-eight of our products. Our scores all hit the Number 1 category: the “Low Hazard” rating. When you click on those products on our website, we also have their rating listed. The goal behind this database is to clarify the safety of common synthetic ingredients and chemicals used in body care products.

The SkinDeep ratings often show that “data is limited.” The data to which they refer is in scientific studies done onchemicals. Little study has gone into real botanical ingredients because they have been used without negative side effects for hundreds of years.

Herbaliz is allowed to post the “Truth in Labeling” seal because we follow all the criteria set out by The Natural Ingredient Resource Center (NIRC).

Please check out these links to learn more. This is our way to let folks know:  who we are, where we stand, and how we strive to be an active part of the larger environmental community.

It’s a way of saying to you that it is possible to do business and do the right thing.

Thanks for your support in making the world a better place!

Happy 2017 from Liz

Another year has come to an end…

As I think about 2016, I am grateful for the new friends and customers who I have met though Herbaliz and the wider green communities.

Working with flowers, plants and herbs in my garden, I get to see the cycle of life up close. It is always inspiring to watch seeds become sprouts, as they are nourished by the sun and the rain. I never tire of observing how they interact with the elements of nature.

I strongly believe that natural body care can and should be both healthy and safe. Herbaliz is committed to creating toxic-free products that have no synthetic additives that are harmful to you, your family and the planet.

That means no chemicals. It means herbs, both fresh, dried, and extracted. It means plant oils. It means making products which are biodegradable.

You are an integral part of the equation! Without your desire to be part of the solution calling for non-toxic beauty products, we wouldn’t be here.

When you have asked us for items for home use, baby care, and general wellness, it has given us the impetus to move into ever wider circles of healing.

We appreciate your engagement through interactions on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, as we join to inspire and inform each other about the challenges facing the earth.

Thank you for all you do to make an impact in the environmental landscape.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017!

Liz

 

Thanksgiving: Appreciating the Natural World

While Americans prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is important to take a deeper look at what we can connect to beyond a table laden with food.

As a person who is intimately involved with plants and herbs, I have a strong respect for the special gifts that come from our earth.

Sage being wonderful in stuffing...The Thanksgiving story I was taught back in grade school was greatly oversimplified. I didn’t learn much about the Indigenous tribe, the Wampanoag, who helped the Pilgrims survive. They were well established in the Massachusetts vicinity and had a full comprehension of their environment and believed in an interdependence with the natural world.

Through observation, they monitored the patterns and cycles of animals, plants, and weather. Their philosophy was to live in harmony with nature and to respect the interconnection between all living things.

Native Americans used crop rotation and irrigation methods before the arrival of the Europeans. For them, a key belief was to take only those parts needed when they were harvesting plants. There was an understanding that elements had to be left to regenerate growth for the following year.

An intuitive comprehension of “sustainability” and working in partnership and harmony with the surrounding ecosphere was key to the Indigenous way of life. (It still is, as Native Americans are leading the national fight as water defenders against intrusive fossil fuel pipelines.)

Our planet faces the challenge of pollution, an overabundance of toxic chemicals in our daily lives, and the exploitation of natural resources with little thought about future generations.

yarrowHerbaliz wants to take time out to give thanks to the unlimited varieties of vegetation that are available to us from aloe to yarrow.

I also want to express my appreciation to the customers who share our philosophy, and are doing their part to support a positive way of interacting with the planet.

So on Thanksgiving, take time to have a quiet moment to reflect on the beauty of our natural habitat and all that it gives to us.

Halloween Hobgoblins: Toxins in Your Personal Care Products

October has always been a time to look forward to falling leaves, crisp air, and the fun of Halloween. Yet this month, I have other scary things on my mind beyond witches and ghosts.

Extreme weather has brought Hurricane Matthew, which has battered and devastated people from Haiti to the United States. Closer to home, I continue to be concerned about the multitude of toxins in our environment, homes, and products. I am encouraged though by the initiatives that grassroots activism has pushed through.

A recent example is the new Chemical Safety law signed by President Obama in June of this year. In addition to correcting shortcomings in the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), one of its key goals is to foster greater “public transparency for chemical information.”

Ingredients to Avoid CardOn the Herbaliz website, we have a page devoted to Toxins to Avoid, a topic I feel strongly about. (We also offer a wallet card listing chemicals to steer clear of.) Some of these substances are better known culprits than others. Yet, too many still show up in allegedly “natural products.” Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, is most frequently used in soaps and shampoos. Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, TEA), when absorbed through the skin, accumulate in body organs and have been linked with an increased incidence of kidney and liver cancers.

That’s more frightening than a witch’s curse! When you see ghouls, vampires and Darth Vaders walking around on Halloween, you know they are the bad guys.

Unfortunately, there are individuals in the beauty and cosmetic industries – lurking in the shadows – who still implement the use of cruel experiments on animals to test their products. To fight this, three members of Congress (not wearing costumes!), Reps. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Don Beyer (D-VA), Joe Heck (R-NV) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), are backing The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2858) which “prohibits testing cosmetics on animals.”

Puppy with pumpkinsHerbaliz is sharing the Humane Society petition to encourage action in contacting local law makers on this bill. It’s easy: a phone call, an e-mail, and a shout out on Social Media will do the trick.

Happy Halloween!

Moving into Fall with Herbaliz

As we transition into fall and cooler weather, it’s time to take stock of how to best adjust our body care from the hot and lazy days of summer.

The pace quickens with work and back to school schedules, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on self-care.

Herbaliz Lip BalmMy suggestion for a basic one-two-three skin care regime is a facial cleanser, a moisturizing lotion, and lip balm (Full disclosure: I always have lip balm with me!) All of our products specify which skin types they are best suited for, and that should be noted when making a choice.

Depending on your home environment, you can start thinking about adding in some specialty creams which address drier air and nighttime skin therapy. Real Green Cream is perfect for this purpose.

When we start to add back more clothing, skin has less opportunity to breathe. Our shower gel is non-drying (and now comes in a 16-ounce size), and can be followed up with the Aloe and Shea Lotion.

The start of the academic year can be stressful. For those teens who have (or are beginning to have) acne, our moisturizing gel is an excellent way to enhance the health of skin. It features antiseptic properties and an organic aloe vera component.

New beginnings can promote anxiety, so I am a big fan of our lavender products. Lavender is recognized for its calming qualities. Aromatherapy is one of Herbaliz’s specialties, so don’t forget to check our on-the-go diffusers that can help with mental clarity.

traditional-sachetHomes need a fresh start as well! Open up the windows! Indoor air pollution is a source of numerous problems. Our antibacterial soap is great for the whole family. Consider placing some herbal sachets in rooms, or dressers and closets as you begin to switch from summer to fall clothing. After changing the sheets and pillow cases on your bed, try a linen spray to give your bedroom a special ambiance.

Echinacea in the garden.I’m looking forward to observing the changes in my garden. The echinacea is hanging in there, as you can see. Calendula has already given up because of the heat, while sage and oregano are expanding with vigor.

That is the beauty of the seasons!

Hair and Skin Care to Survive the Heat

August can be a challenging time to stay fresh and keep our skin and hair looking great. Customers often ask me if they should change their beauty routines during the very warm weather.

Here are some suggestions and guidelines…

moisturizing gelFirstly, if a cream feels too heavy during this time of year, switch to a lighter moisturizer like our Moisturizing Gel. It has an aloe base and won’t clog pores.  If you are sleeping in an air conditioned room, you may be fine with a richer product at night.

Our Facial Cleanser can be used several times during the day if you feel your skin is dirty or grimy from perspiration and sweat. Cleansing Grains can target the T-zone, which may be more prone to blackheads and breakouts.

To refresh during the day, an occasional spritz with a Moisture Mist is a must. A rose version if your skin is usually dry; the skin refresher option if you are prone to breakouts.

If you have only tried one of our shampoos, now is the time to check out the sampler. I particularly like the “Cedar and Sage” when it gets warm.

Our “Frizz Tamer” will help those fighting the impact of increased humidity. The Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinse is a cleansing detangler after a day at the beach or the pool, especially nice if you would rather not shampoo again.

sunburn reliefIf you have overdone your time in the sun, we have a Sunburn Relief product that will come to the rescue. As for pesky insect bites, help is on the way with our remedy of undiluted essential oils.

I find that I need to exfoliate more during the warm months. Our salt scrub gets the process going. Finish off with the Herbal Silk Body Powder made without talc or GMOs.

Then sit down with a long, cool drink and a great book!

 

Special Care for Summer Feet

The hot weather bares areas of our bodies we keep under wraps during the winter months. During the summer, women (and men) are eager to switch to sandals and other types of open footwear.

What is the best way to get your feet into shape after the winter doldrums?

Here are some suggestions:

• Start with our Salt Scrub, which comes in four different scents. We also have an unscented option with no essential oils.

• Keep an Ayate Wash Cloth as part of your arsenal. Use it with or without the scrub to keep your heels and the backs of your feet exfoliated.

Fabulous Foot CreamFinish up with our Fabulous Foot Cream, an organic Shea Butter based formula that is combined with herbs and essential oils.

• Tackle pesky Athlete’s Foot with our remedy that combines Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils.

• Pamper your toenails with our Healthy Nail Treatment. The botanical
components will improve your nail strength and the cuticles, and also have anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. (If you aren’t using this for your fingernails, now is the time to start!!)

• Treat yourself to a Footbath. Our formulas are based on traditional Ayurvedic recipes. We use herbs from a variety of sources including leaves, roots, and flowers. Beside nurturing your feet, it will benefit whole body wellness and mental balance. We have four different blends. You can try the seven vial sampler to see how they differ.

Besides the way your feet look, it’s important that they feel good. Think of the common expression, “I’ve been on my feet all day.” Make foot care a year around habit, starting now. Your feet will appreciate your efforts!

Men Deserve Non-Toxic Skin Care

On a regular basis, I receive inquires from female customers about buying products for the men in their lives. Many of these requests have led to the formulation of new items, including our Face Wash for Men.

When a male client, looking for a product without alcohol and chemicals, asked if I could come up with a solution, our Aftershave was born.

Why is safe skin and scalp care as important for men as for women?

Simply because men are as susceptible to toxins as women are.

Just recently, Megan Boyle of Healthy Child, Healthy World, wrote an article explaining that men’s exposure to chemicals was shown to be linked to issues around couples trying to conceive. (Also check out the the Environmental Work Group’s endocrine disruptors page.)

Soap Saver GiftSo what’s the best way to get started? Here’s my list of the top five products suggestions:

Aftershave: Available in four sizes.

Moisturizing Lotion: Available in four sizes and six blends.

Gardner’s Hand Soap: Perfect for cleaning hands without being harsh.

Ayate Wash Cloth: A facial wash cloth that also exfoliates.

Soap Set: A starter gift that he will love. A bar of Herbal Glycerin Soap of your choice with a slotted, pine wood holder.

A new beginning!

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the new Herbaliz blog!

It’s time to go deeper than a quick email response or our newsletter can, to address the many questions you have asked. Over the years, we have built a community. It is time to give it voice.

Herbaliz’s most widely viewed page looks at the topic of Ingredients to Avoid. There is much more to dive into on that…and other subjects.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. They may be blog material!

Wishing you happy and healthy,
Liz