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,

Chemicals replace infection as top threat to health

Lately there has been much concern about new superbugs that can overpower any antibiotics we have available, so the title of this article may no longer be correct. We want to include the article in spite of this, because that does not make the threat of chemicals any less real. Happily, there is also a solution.
Liz McEwan 1/31/16

Chemicals have replaced infection as top threat to health, expert says…
Houston – Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to human health in western industrial nations, says toxicologist Rick Irvin.

“The major causes of death in the western world up until the 1950s were mainly diseases of microbial origin – influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, ” says Irvin, toxicology professor at Texas A and M University.

“Through public health practices, immunization and nutrition, we’ve just about controlled those. The diseases we’re beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of this century and certainly into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin, “Irvin said in an interview.

identify and avoid

He said scientists now believe 70 to 90 per cent of all cancers, for example, are caused by exposure to chemicals. Heart disease, too, is essentially chemical in origin because it’s caused by fatty foods and cigarette smoking, Irvin said.

“When you’re talking about chemicals.” Heart disease and cancer are responsible for more than 50 per cent of all deaths in western nations, Irvin said.

He said toxic chemicals may work singly or in combination with other chemicals to cause disease. In real life, people in industrial societies are exposed to many chemicals every day, Irvin said, “We’re finding that with a lot of combinations, we get a toxic effect not previously known.” For example he said it has been found that diesel soot has as many as 100 chemicals in it, many of which combine to create the same carcinogens found in cigarettes.

Irvin believes the threat posed by toxic chemicals will grow because researchers are producing more and more new substances for industrial and scientific use. “There will be an explosion of new chemicals in the next 20 years, which will overwhelm governments ability to regulate their use.


“We’re getting a lot more of what call high-tech chemicals – such as those used in the manufacturing of microelectronics – that have very specialized uses. We really don’t know much about this group and its effects on humans.

“Irvin said people cannot avoid all chemicals, but they should use common sense to avoid excessive exposure to harmful ones. “For example, I don’t smoke or drink and I don’t take illegal drugs. I eat a high-protein, low-fat diet and I expect to live my threescore and 10 years.

“A person’s genetic makeup influences his or her susceptibility to disease, but it appears that genes “modulate as opposed to determine” the amount of risk, Irvin said.

“Some people, because of their genes, are more likely to get diseases from chemicals than others, but their genes will not absolutely determine their fate.” He also said that, while chemicals pose a threat to health, in some ways they are less insidious than bacteria and viruses. It is difficult to completely wipe out disease-carrying microbes because they can be transmitted to other humans, Irvin said.

Chemicals, on the other hand, generally cannot be passed on. “That means that, if you identify a chemical that causes a disease, you simply avoid it and the disease ends.


2 Good Reasons for Simple Pricing

Lately several people have asked why we price our products in round numbers rather than with the now traditional 99 cent ending. There are 2 reasons.

The use of the 99 cent ending was developed as a way to manipulate people into thinking that they are spending less. And it works, which is why everyone does it! It works effectively on me even when I’m fully conscious that I’m being manipulated. Even though I round up and add it up properly, the psychology works. And I hear it working when one of my kids says, “But Mom, it’s only $4.00…” when it’s really $4.99.

price tags

I hate being manipulated, conned or lied to. I’ve made a decision that I don’t want to do to others that which I dislike having done to me. So even though I’d love it if you would spend more at Herbaliz, this is one of several things that “everyone does” that we won’t do here.

The arithmetic is easier. If you are going to round $4.99 up to $5.00 anyway, why not start there?