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!