December 30, 2011

Beauty Trends for 2012

It's almost the new year, are you ready? Have you heard about Tangerine Tango and Rodin Olio Lusso? Well, then maybe you aren't quite yet.

December 22, 2011

December 18, 2011

Flutter Worthy Lashes

Mascara is one of the few products green product junkies regularly cheat on (shhhh). Achieving long, dark, smudge-proof, flake-proof, 12-hour coverage is a challenge. In my experience, even run-of-the-mill, mainstream mascara struggles to shine in all five categories.

December 14, 2011

'Tis the Season

That time of year is here. The chill has crept in. There are puddles to splash in and snowflakes to catch on your nose. After dusk, holiday lights twinkle in the night. This is the kind of weather that makes you snuggle up in a cozy sweater in front of a crackling fire. I love the changing of the seasons. But you know what else this time of year brings? Sales.

December 12, 2011

What's On The Inside Counts

This blog is about treating your skin and body better, helping the environment and living a healthier lifestyle. Most of my discussion has focused on how your personal care products can accomplish this. But what you put on the inside counts, too. If not more.

December 5, 2011

Essential Oils to Avoid

As a follow-up to my post on fragrance, I wanted to share more information on essential oils. I highlighted how safe essential oils are in comparison to synthetic fragrance. However, there still exist some safety guidelines when it comes to specific situations, such as expecting mothers.

November 25, 2011

The Detergent Shampoo Guide: Soapie Skyes Shampoo

During our discussion of soap based shampoos I promised I would complete a guide to detergent based shampoos. This guide seems quite necessary, as detergent based shampoos with pure ingredients seem to be an endangered species. However, I tracked down a shampoo by Soapie Skyes that bucks the trend.

November 20, 2011

November 18, 2011

Winner of the Vapour Organics Giveaway!

Today is the day! Last night the lucky winner of Vapour's perfume stick was randomly selected, and the suspense is finally over.

November 17, 2011

Today is the Congressional Hearing on the Safe Cosmetics Act

I've mentioned the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 in a post here before. The short story is that our personal care products are nearly unregulated by the FDA. The Safe Cosmetics Act is attempting to change that. And now is your chance to take action.

November 16, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight: Fragrance

Fragrance has been on my hit list for awhile. And believe me, for good reason. It's taken me some time to get around to writing this post, mostly because of the incredible amount  of evidence against fragrance in terms of neurotoxicity, immune system toxicity and reproductive system toxicity. While the sheer amount of information is overwhelming, it is that much more important to expose. All the more reason to dive right in.

November 9, 2011

Vapour Organics Giveaway!

You've heard me rave about Vapour Organic Beauty before. They have designed a makeup line with covet-worthy ingredients, a rare breed indeed. They also spend a good amount of effort creating sustainable packaging and donating to multiple worthy causes. And now you get a chance to win one of their products!

November 7, 2011

Bubble and Bee One Day Sale!

Okay, it's not quite a one day sale. The savings are the best today (30% off), and go down 5% every day until Friday, when deals end at 10%. If you're familiar with Bubble and Bee, you know that sales are few and far between. That means you gotta jump on this!

October 31, 2011

The Budget Edition: Whole Foods Lip Balm

As you all know, I'm addicted to lip ganaches of every variety. My lip balms used to be laced with petroleum (check your ChapStick, Lipsmackers, Blistex etc. they all are too). But my addiction changed when I made the switch to green. It changed from need to want.

October 27, 2011

One of My Favorite Foundations: RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-Up

Foundation can be one of those dangerous downward-spiral-products. It can be used to hide a little blemish, but then you suffocate your skin and one imperfection leads to a full-blown break out. I was just chatting with a friend over sushi the other night who bemoaned a rather familiar tale: "I always break out after wearing makeup!"  Guess what? That doesn't have to be the case.

October 20, 2011

Some Tips for Making the Switch

Nobody likes change. I don't, I never have. My mom tells me I cried the day my older sister went to kindergarten. But my aversion to change never reared its ugly head when I transitioned into a healthy beauty routine. Let me tell you why.

October 13, 2011

A Deal from Marie Veronique Organics!

You all know you've been dying to try their goodies. Ever since I posted about Marie Veronique's facial trio, I've been hearing you all lust after their line, just dying to try it. And now is the perfect time!

October 11, 2011

The Great Deodorant Hunt: Part 1

Let me preface this whole saga with a little background on my pits. I know, TMI already, right? Well, you gotta know something beforehand or everything else will just be out of context, right?!

October 9, 2011

What's Wrong with Antiperspirants?

In the past there have been a lot of circulated stories regarding the dangers of antiperspirants. The problem, however, is that stories are not usually backed up with fact.

September 26, 2011

Vapour Organic Beauty Solid Perfume Review

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time at all, you know that I bash on fragrance a lot here. I'm a little harsh. Which is why I need to express my support for a perfume that I can actually get behind. Enter Vapour Organic Beauty.

September 24, 2011

The Budget Edition: Kiss My Face Soap

As a grad student, I personally know the meaning of the phrase "starving student" (peanut butter and jelly for dinner, anyone?). So, I'll be the first to admit that far too many natural product lines fall into a luxury price range. Due to popular demand from my readers, I'm going to start featuring affordable products in Budget Edition posts!

September 22, 2011

The Soap Shampoo Experiment: Initial Results

When you were a kid did you make baking soda and vinegar volcano mounds in your kitchen sink? Or perhaps concoct coffee grounds and ovaltine sludge? Well I did. It was my kitchen chemistry play time when I was 4. I'm sure my parents appreciated that mess...

September 20, 2011

The FDA Issues Warning About Fromaldehyde Levels in the Brazilian Blowout

After three years of concern regarding the content of formaldehyde in the Brazilian Blowout, the FDA has finally issued a warning to the company. The Brazilian Blowout is a keratin treatment used in salons, which is designed to permanently straighten curly hair.

September 13, 2011

Body Time Shampoo Review

Remember when I discussed the damaging effects of some shampoos? Well, after that post my lovely friend Madeline got curious about her shampoo and graciously asked me to review it. She was using Body Time moisturizing shampoo, a brand that claims to be especially mild on hair.

September 9, 2011

KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr

Did you know Miranda Kerr (yes the Victoria's Secret model) started her own skincare line, Kora Organics? It's a relatively new product line which claims to be free of sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colors, T.E.A., D.E.A., glycols, silicones, PEGS, ethoxylate and formaldehyde. So did Miranda live up to her claims? My curiosity was piqued, so I thought I would investigate.

September 2, 2011

Freckles to Toes Has New Tabs!

Have you noticed?! We have tabs up top for you to access new pages like my favorite sites and a growing ingredients glossary. They actually have been up for a little bit now, so you may have already found them. But just in case you didn't catch 'em, go explore!

September 1, 2011

Mainstream Media Warns Public about Fragrance

You see warnings about synthetic fragrance all over healthy living sites, but now mainstream media is speaking out. MSNBC published an article about five toxic chemicals you should banish from your home. In their list they include synthetic fragrance and triclosan.

August 30, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight: Phenoxyethanol

Phenoxyethanol is typically used as a preservative in personal care products. It can also be one of the ingredients under the umbrella term "fragrance" listed on a product label. Phenoxyethanol began replacing parabens when the backlash against them started up. So the question is, are they any better than parabens?

Let's look into it, shall we? Phenoxyethanol is created from benzene, which is a known carcinogen, and then is treated with ethylene oxide (also a known carcinogen) and an alkalai.

August 23, 2011

A Pure and Natural Makeup Remover

When I started my search for safer products, I thought sunscreen, makeup remover and nail polish were going to be the hardest products to replace. As it turned out, the sunscreen replacement was easy. And I've just found out that makeup remover might be even simpler.

August 15, 2011

Bubble and Bee Coconut and Lime Lip Balm Review

I've been holding out on you guys. I found an amazing company with dozens of products I approve of and have been diligently testing out oodles of their concoctions. However, none of my tests had reached maturity, until now. 

August 12, 2011

What Exactly Does Organic Mean?

Organic isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Most people think it just means that a crop is grown without the use of pesticides. However, "Certified Organic" covers a lot more than just pesticide use. If you are thinking about whether you should spend more on organic skincare, or whether eating organic food is worth it, taking a look at what the term "organic" covers will probably clear some things up for you.

August 9, 2011

Guide for Using the EWG's Skin Deep Database

My quest for healthy products began with Skin Deep. It was one of the first resources I utilized to translate all the long winded ingredients on the backs of my bottles. Since singing its praises from the rooftop (despite being the tone deaf caterwauler that I am), I have now come to realize the limitations of its powers. In order for you to be the most educated consumer, I am going to share the tips for fully understanding the product ranking system on the EWG that took me so long to discover.

August 7, 2011

The Answer to the Vitamin D and Sunscreen Controversy

There has been a lot of debate regarding sunscreen and vitamin D recently. Let me give you the quick run down. Vitamin D is an important nutrient for the body. Deficiencies in vitamin D are suspected to lead to osteoporosis, high blood pressure and some cancers. There are two ways for your body to increase its levels of vitamin D: through diet, and through sun exposure. The first method can consist of supplements, food rich in vitamin D and food fortified with vitamin D. However, it is suspected that the most efficient method of vitamin D production is through exposure to sunlight. The dilemma is, how do we get enough vitamin D while not risking melanoma?

Your Shampoo Might Be Giving You Split Ends

My hair obsessed housemate got me into healthy shampoo. That actually may have been the beginning of my interest in safe personal care products. Which I'm glad I remembered, because now I have a scapegoat for this obsession of mine. She became devoted to products that wouldn't damage her locks because she wanted to grow her hair long like Rapunzel. From her, I found out that the cleansers in our shampoos are actually so harsh that they strip our hair and damage it. The ingredient that she wanted to stay away from was sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is a detergent, a very harsh detergent. It is so harsh that by cleaning your hair, it is damaging the follicle and giving you split ends.

July 21, 2011

Marie Veronique's Facial Trio Review

For the last three weeks, I have been testing out three of Marie Veronique's products: the gentle face cleanser, the sun protective oil and the moisturizing face screen (both the light tint and no tint shades).

July 14, 2011

The Safe Cosmetics Act is Intoduced in the House

The House of Representatives is currently considering the Safe Cosmetics Act. What is the Safe Cosmetics Act, you say? Currently, cosmetics and personal care products are largely unregulated; companies aren't required to assess the safety of their products, ingredients that are considered "trade secrets" aren't even required on labels, and the FDA is unable to make them recall dangerous products.

July 6, 2011

Is Your Perfume Making You Fat?

So we all thought that a healthy diet and some exercise was all this country needed to beat the obesity epidemic. However, recently some studies have emerged that address what scientists call "chemical calories" in beauty products.

June 28, 2011

Alba Botanica Terra Tints Review

Your lips are some of the most delicate skin on your face, which means you especially need UV protection. One of the biggest difficulties in finding a mineral sunscreen is the white cast it gives your skin, which is the same problem with a mineral SPF lip balm. Except white lips are even worse. This is why I love Alba's Terra Tints! They have an SPF of 8 (provided by zinc) and have a range of 6 different shades, which hide the white cast and simultaneously give you a little dash of color. Your color choices are: blaze, bloom, dawn, garnet, sienna and sunset.

June 23, 2011

"Organic" Brands Sued

Personal care products are far less regulated than you would think. You may have heard that on June 16th the Center for Environmental Health filed a lawsuit against more than 30 cosmetic brands. The suit claims that these companies falsely labeled their products as organic for marketing purposes. This is a perfect example of greenwashing.

June 22, 2011

True Naturals Sunscreen Review

I read recently that True Naturals boasts that their sunscreen goes on 100% clear. Given that it has 17.5% zinc oxide and it is non-nanoparticle, I wasn't sure that was even possible! So I decided to give it a try myself.

June 16, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight: Parabens

Recently, parabens have been pushed into the public spotlight. Whether or not you have heard the murmurings yet, these are an ingredient that you want to know about. Parabens are often added to personal care products and pharmaceuticals as synthetic preservatives. They are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, from which their name is derived. Parabens are relatively ubiquitous. Check your shampoo, lotion and makeup and you are likely to see one of the following paraben permutations:  methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, benzylparaben, isobutylparaben, and  propylparaben.

June 12, 2011

Wish List

Through the grapevine I've heard some amazing stories about various products that go above and beyond. As a result of the cheers of adoration, I've decided there are few of them that I'm dying to try. So I've compiled a little list of my five current daydreams to share with you. Maybe you'll fall in love too.

June 8, 2011

Ingredient Spotlight: Triclosan

Ok, I'm just going to lead off with the niddy-gritty. Did you know that triclosan is a component of the gas chloroform? Yes, that's what's in the handkerchief Bad Guys hold over their victim's mouth to make them pass out in old time movies. And did you know that it might be in your toothpaste? Triclosan is used as an antibacterial in soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes and many other products. Recently, researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute found that when products containing triclosan are mixed with water, a chemical reaction between chlorine and triclosan occurs, creating chloroform. That's not really the best gas to be inhaling while you're brushing your teeth. Just sayin.

Triclosan is in Colgate 2 in 1 toothpaste, Colgate Toothpaste Clean Mint, Colgate Total Plus Whitening Toothpaste, Colgate Total Gel Mint Stripe Toothpaste, Colgate Total Advanced Fresh Anticavity Fluoride & Antigingivitis toothpaste and thirty other toothpastes, a list of which you can find on the Cosmetics Database. If you want a recommendation of what to replace your old tube with, see my post on Jasons toothpastes. Triclosan is also in mouthwashes, so check the Cosmetics Database for a full list.

In other words, check the label of your toothpaste! And maybe chuck it in the waste basket, slam dunk.

June 7, 2011

Win Marie Veroniques Sunscreen!

So exciting! One of the sunscreens I recommended in my last post, the Ultimate Sunscreen Guide, is up for grabs over on the blog! She is celebrating 100 followers, so join in the revelry. You can win a bottle just for writing a comment on her blog; see her directions in this post. Just make sure to do it before June 15th! She loves the quality and ingredients of this sunscreen, and gives it rave reviews. I've decided that the reason it makes my skin so luminous is the pearl powder they include in the ingredients list. Yes, you heard me right. Pearl Powder. Swanky, I know. also has a code you can use at Marie Veronique Organics to get a free 1/4oz bottle of Marie Veronique Anti-Aging oil if you buy a Moisturizing Face Screen SPF 30+ or Anti-Aging Day Serum. So what are you doing still reading this post? Get going! Skedaddle!

June 4, 2011

The Ultimate Sunscreen Guide

The San Francisco Chronicle just posted a report on how Sunscreens need to protect skin from UVA rays. The article states that over half the sunscreens on the market do not provide adequate UVA protection. This is exactly what I covered in my post Protection: Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreens! To help out those of you who want to buy safe sunscreen with wide spectrum protection, I have put together this outline of what to look for when you're on the hunt for a new sunscreen.

June 3, 2011

Is Your Breakout Prone Skin Caused by Cosmetics?

Have you ever switched to a new facial cleanser and then suddenly broke out? Well, that happened to me recently. I decided it was time to determine which ingredients were actually bothering my skin, so that I could avoid them in future purchases. Turns out that there are like a gazillion ingredients that can cause breakouts! And even "acne" products contain them! Isopropyl palmitate is in a lot of moisturizers, and it can tend to be very comedogenic (likely to produce cosmetic acne). And sodium chloride is in many shampoos, which can get on your face in the shower.

May 31, 2011

Jasons Toothpastes

I discovered Jason Natural Cosmetics toothpastes recently and gave them a test run. The first toothpaste I tried was Jason Vanilla Mint Powersmile. This is probably the most mouthwatering flavor I've ever tasted in a toothpaste (and that's including all the amazing options I had at the dentist when I was a kid, like strawberry banana and chocolate!) This flavor is the perfect combination of sweet vanilla and refreshing mint.

May 26, 2011

Protection: Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreens

Since my discovery about the evils of my chemical sunscreen, I set about researching mineral sunscreens.  With such beautiful weather and summer just beginning, now seems like perfect time to share! Please forgive me, I'm going to get a little science-y in this post.

Chemical sunscreens contain some ingredients we want to avoid, so that limits us to mineral sunscreens (at least until ivy leaf particles are available in sunscreen, said to be four times more effective than mineral sunscreens. Get on it scientists!). Besides their unsavory ingredients, I found out that chemical sunscreens actually are less effective in the UVA range than mineral sunscreens. This took me by surprise.

Figure showing the protection offered by chemical vs. titanium dioxide vs. zinc oxide sunscreens. The more red, the better the coverage. Left: Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 100+ (chemical), Middle: California Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ (titanium dioxide), Right: Elemental Herbs Sunscreen SPF 20 (zinc oxide). Taken from the Cosmetics Database.

May 25, 2011

Freckles: The Humble Beginning

Years ago, before I knew better, I used this sunscreen every day:


Thanks so much for visiting Freckles to Toes! I wanted to use this first post to give a background of sorts on the goal behind this blog. The green movement has gained momentum, dare I say it has become trendy? Words like "green," "natural," and "organic" have infiltrated household phrases. But sometimes they are misused. Over the last few years I have gained a greater appreciation for reading ingredient labels on my beauty products, in addition to those on the food I eat. I am continually surprised by how the brand name and claims on the front of the package are contradicted by the ingredient label on the back. I have no doubt that everyone else has been just as frustrated and confused as me at one point.

That's where I come in! I have talked the ears off all my friends about the shampoos they shouldn't use and the toothpastes that are unsafe and my flavor of the week sunscreens. It was my boyfriend who finally told me to start a blog and share all my randomly acquired knowledge and wild opinions. He did probably bear the brunt of most of my rants about chapstick and conditioner, poor guy.

Thanks to him, you now get to hear my rants, and hopefully learn from what I've learned. If it falls under the category of "Green" or "Beauty," and somewhere between your freckles and your toes, you can find it here. Enjoy!