Mean Girl to the Rescue!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How green was my valley?

I always plan on doing product reviews and recommendations on this blog, and then time gets away from me, or I start obsessing over something, or whatever. But I recently came across this site, Ideal Bite, courtesy of ClubMom, of all things (though this particular section is written by Sweetney, so I guess I shouldn't turn up my nose - could it be that ClubMom is cool now, despite (or because of?) Andrew Shue, who will forever be Billy from Melrose Place to me, slouched in a doorway, eating an apple (seriously, he was always doing that in that show. I think Papa Spelling felt it conveyed naivete or something.)?

But anyway.

Ideal Bite is a pretty compelling read to a big natural-products-and-ideas whore like me, and it's put together by two women who seem to be alarmingly normal. This is a site for people who need to take baby steps to being green. Women who love their products. People who love food. I immediately signed up for their tips email. And started reading about how most shampoos contain all kinds of shit you don't want touching your body. Oy.
So now I want to buy Surya hair products. They even have henna, which, if it works out, I may switch to permanently and kill my association with Titian Red Blonde. I also have a hankering for Lush's Karma Komba solid shampoo bar, which is the same scent as my favorite perfume.

I already knew about the whole deodorant thing (i.e., the aluminum, the parabens, the Alzheimer's, the cancer, the death and destruction), but I felt like a product recommendation would be a good thing, since a few of the organic ones I've tried made me, uh, still smell. So after I'm done with my Yves Rocher Hammamelis deodorant, I'm going to try Lush's Fuwari (Note to Japanese customers; if we've accidentally insulted you with one of our deodorant bars, we apologize. I love that.). Doesn't it sound delicious?

Just in time for my trip to Savannah, I made the switch to an organic sunscreen. Alba Hawaiian SPF 30 (I'm really, really pale; in fact, I normally use SPF 45) has a nice, non-greasy texture and smells lovely. And no breakouts! UPDATE: I had thought that this was paraben-free, but my eyes deceived me: it contains Methyl/Propylparaben. Ugh. Parabens are linked to breast cancer, because they are able to be absorbed through the skin and to bind to the body's estrogen-receptors, where they can encourage breast cancer cell growth. I have since written Alba asking them for a refund and entreating them to desist using parabens in their products. Strangely enough, they have a chemical-free sunscreen, also, which does not contain parabens.

If you're curious as to why you should change personal care products to something a little more environmentally sound, or maybe fretful that your shampoo might not be treating you right, chemical-wise, you can go to Skin Deep, where you can look up your favorite products and even submit the ones not listed for review to see how they fare. **Check the comments for a lengthy dicussion of cleaning and personal product alternatives, too!**

God, I could yap about this stuff all day.

I know I won't be able to completely give up fragrance in my products, but I can change the source of the fragrance in my products to a more natural one. Arabella just sent me a link on how to make your own lotions, so maybe that can be my summertime project.

What project do you have on tap for this summer?


At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

No projects, since I'm lazy and stuff, but I do have a question for you, Organic Girl.

I clean my house sort of a lot. Maybe obsessively. My husband can't stand the smell of the cleaning agents I use, although I do use some "natural" products in the kitchen, and Method in the bathroom. He thinks I'm "killing" him with Pledge and Swiffer and such. Any recs for earth and human friendly cleaning agents?

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Arabella said...

Jess--white vinegar is your friend! If you do a Google search, you'll find all kinds of recipes online for natural cleansers made with vinegar. is a good starting point.

I recently made the switch to a natural deodorant and, in all honesty, with the exception of one particularly fragrant day in which I was attempting to stretch the time between jacket dry-cleanings, I think it works as well or better for me than the conventional deodorant I was using before. And it smells like lavender instead of chemicals.

Thanks for the link to Ideal Bite!

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Jess, Arabella is correct. But since you and I are compatriots in laziness, may I suggest Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products? They smell great and you can get them at or at Mrs. Meyer's website. She has great soy candles, too.

If you look in the "natural store" area of, there is a wealth of info. I also swear by Sun & Earth (which smells like oranges) and Seventh Generation (their lavender dish soap is the bomb).

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Nancy said...

I have started switching to natural products and have been using cruelty-free beauty products for some time. I feel like I am making at least a little bit of a difference in the world.

Do you have a Lush near you in Philly? There's one here in DC. I discovered Lush in Vancouver and LOVE IT.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Jess said...

I LOVE Lush.

I do use Seventh Generation. And I think we have Sun and Earth kitchen cleaner. I'm going to look into the white vinegar idea and the Mrs. Meyers. Thanks, ladies.

At 1:34 AM, Anonymous SlowGardener said...

Perhaps you can help me get back on track with natural personal care products. I tried a bunch of shaving products and deoderants from Whole Foods (because I'm a lazy shopper) a couple years ago, but I meekly admit I've since gone back to Secret anti-perspirant (aack!) and Gilette shave gel (Vanilla Dream scent... nice!). Yes, I am evil. Is there no natural anti-perspirant? If there is, show me the way and I am there. With the natural shaving products, I was constantly slicing myself due to their slippery sliminess. It seems that the un-natural products have some magic ingredient that creates just the right amount of friction with the razor. It probably doesn't help that our shower doesn't have anywhere for a woman to rest her foot while shaving (so I have to suspend my leg in mid-air), plus I am practically blind in the shower without my contacts, so I really need that chemical-based gel cushion to keep the whole process under control. I really want to use natural products, but I haven't found any in these two categories that accomplished the goal. Suggestions are welcome!

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Arabella said...

Slowgardener--I haven't found a natural anti-perspirant either, although I have a friend who swears by putting body powder on her underarms.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Slowgardener, see this page for a list of natural deodorants. There are more suggestions in the blog area.

I have used Tom's of Maine (now owned by evil Colgate), Yves Rocher, and Nature's Gate, which seems to vary in effectiveness depending on the scent.

Arabella, according to Skin Deep, baby powder is not good - it has some cancer-causing ingredients and can cause lung damage. I adore it, though. Maybe cornstarch is better?

For shaving, I use Barbasol, because it's the most widely-available cruelty-free cream, and it comes in female-friendly scents. It's not listed on Skin Deep, but they recommend Avalon or Dr. Bronner's. When I don't use shaving cream, I just use soap or shower gel, and that does the trick just fine. Shgower gel will also provide that "gel cushion" you need to prevent unnecessary bloodletting.

And, no, SG, you are *not* evil (far from it). In fact, you are the first person to ever get me thinking about this stuff! I still remember you carrying home soda cans to recycle them. :)

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Mignon said...

All this talk of natural cleaners and stuff and I'm sitting here in a Fantastik-scented pee cloud. I think the culprit is a mice nest, and the traps are out, but the smell is coming from the air vent. I think I'll pour some vinegar down there, perhaps followed by some scented oil? Any suggestions there?

Project this summer? Sell sell sell move move move.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

Oh gads! I am all about the chemicals. My hair is on drugs, and so are my underarms.

And, I like the smell of PineSol!! Are you going to ban me from your site now?

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Mignon, I think I had recommended Nature's Miracle before. It really does work - I have used it on cat pee-defiled areas to great effect.

Debbie, no, I won't ban you from my site (how would I even *do* that if I wanted to?), I'll just feel sad for you that you love chemicals so much.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger Arabella said...

Mrs. H--yes, you are right about baby powder, and any talc-containing powders in general. Thanks for pointing that out. I always use cornstarch-based baby powder, which is available right next to the regular talc variety. Also, it's important not to use either kind of powder near your 'gina.

Mignon, if you have any "mice experts" in your area, I highly recommend having one come in and mouse-proof your house. It's well worth the cost. These people know mice like you wouldn't believe. One of them found a hole behind my refrigerator that I never knew existed. Once he plugged it up, we stopped having problems.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Katherine said...

Wow, I was just going to read a few books, but I think I need to get my lazy arse up and do something more meaningful after reading this post!

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Mignon said...

Mrs H - I thought that stuff was for carpets (I wrote 'crapets' three times)... can I just pour it down the vent, do ya think? I'm going to the petshop when Pooey wakes up for dog food. I'll get some anyway, probably good to have that kind of stuff around with dogs and boys anyway. (Seriously, do boys ever grow out of peeing and missing the toilet? I wish our new house had a urinal...)

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Mignon said...

My local 'mouse expert' just went downstairs and set some traps. I'm afraid what he would say if I questioned his bioligically-related expertise - it would be like if he hired someone to buy him a new set of luggage. (aaaahhhhh.... luggage....)


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