natural products

Puro Co. Product Review

Hey everyone!  I’ve had the pleasure of using some of Puro Co. new skin care products and I wanted to share my experience with you.  The owner of Puro Co. has gone to great lengths to make sure she only uses the purest ingredients in her products and it shows.  The products are completely chemical-free, non-toxic, hand crafted in small batches and have had a remarkable impact on my skin.

 

Here are the products I tested:

1. Crema Body Butter - Hands down, this is the best smelling product I’ve ever used.  Since its base is cocoa butter, you not only get an amazing creamy texture, but you get a clean cocoa scent that I was tempted to eat it smelled so good.  Cocoa butter is so nourishing for the skin and made of such high quality fats that this is definitely worth a shot for anyone suffering from eczema.  The other thing I really love about this product is that a very little bit goes a long way.  This body butter is sold in 2 oz. glass containers, which doesn’t seem like very much, but you’ll be surprised by how long it lasts.  My skin responds really well to the combination of ingredients used.  Normally I apply this body butter after showering and my skin will still feel nourished well into the next day, which never happened with commercial lotions.  Great investment for your skin.

2. Lavender Shave Oil and Clove Shave Oil - The star of this product is the hand infused calendula olive oil, which offers many anti-inflammatory skin related benefits.  It’s an awesome product for anyone who has sore, inflamed or itchy skin conditions and/or have terrible reactions to normal shaving cream (like me).  The product is packaged with a dropper, which is nice, to prevent any from being wasted by spilling over the edge.  I fill my hand up with the oil and rub it deeply into my skin and then I shave.  The oil smells great, goes on smoothly and gives a close shave.  The best part is how my legs feel afterwards - soooo smooth and noticeably nourished.  I like both scents equally, but definitely will lean towards using the lavender if I’m showering in the evening to help me relax.  I will then hop in bed and rub the shave oil on my hands and feet, too - it’s very versatile!  

3.  Ylang Ylang Perfume Oil and Rosewood Perfume Oil - Do you know how many toxic chemicals are in commercial perfumes?  Enough to cause hormone disruption, fertility issues and even cancer.  There are THREE ingredients in the Ylang Ylang perfume and FOUR in the Rosewood Perfume and they are all natural.  I haven’t worn perfume in at least six years because there weren’t many all-natural, affordable options with scents that I actually liked.  Enter Puro Co. and their new line of all natural perfumes!  Both scents are completely different, but equally pleasant.  The Ylang Ylang scent is light and uplifting so I tend to wear it during the morning and daytime hours where the Rosewood is a richer, more savory scent so I find myself wearing it more often during the evening hours.  I also carry the Ylang Ylang perfume in my purse so if I’m out and I start feeling stressed, anxious or tired, this perfume will do the trick as Ylang Ylang essential oil is a natural antidepressant.  

Aesthetically pleasing, therapeutic, intentional and pure.  You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be wanting more!  To view products or to order go to www.puro.co

Until next time, Be Well.

 

Kick Your Cold to the Curb!...Naturally!

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First of all, I just want to say that I never get sick.  Well, that’s almost true.  I rarely get sick is a more accurate statement. The last time I can remember getting sick was about two years ago when I was overwhelmed with moving to a new city.  I was stressed, wasn’t eating or sleeping well and was out of my normal routine.  Recently however, while traveling, I forgot my probiotics (worst thing ever!) and got only a few hours of sleep each night for two nights in a row.  I’m the type of person who needs a good 7-8 hours a sleep a night so this did not fare well for me.  Two days later I was so sick I could barely get off the couch.  So one of two things could have happened.  I could have called a doctor (to clarify, I’m talking about a MD here as opposed to my wonderful Naturopathic Doctor…) who would have no doubt prescribed some drug or antibiotic to cure me of my horrible symptoms OR I could use what I already know about homeopathic remedies and natural practices to heal myself at home.  You already know which path I chose, but I want to tell you right away that I was feeling like myself again in just four short days which is about the same amount of time it would have taken me to heal had I gone a more traditional route.  I am not completely opposed to mainstream medicine, but I don’t agree with the quick fix of drug prescriptions that are so widely accepted and touted without the thought of a healthier more natural approach.  OK, enough of that.  Basically, I want to walk you through everything I did for myself over the course of those four days to give you an idea of what healing naturally might look like in hopes that you could benefit from using this information when you start feeling lousy and run down.  

Here is a good time to insert a disclaimer. First of all, I’m not a doctor and I’m not pretending to be.  If you are severely sick you do need to call a Naturopathic Doctor or Medical Doctor who is licensed to treat you.  If you’re pregnant or are treating a child (especially under the age of 2), you need to consult with a medical professional before going forward with any of the suggestions below.  Also, there are dozens of other alternative medicine practices that could be used when someone is feeling sick.  However, I am just sharing my personal experience.

Here were my symptoms:

Overall weakness in entire body

Sore Throat

Congestion

Nausea

Headaches

Low energy & exhaustion

Lack of appetite

Low grade fever

It hit me like a truck, but it was your pretty basic run-up of common flu-like symptoms.  Had I been given some warning signs that I was going to get sick I would have up’ed my probiotics, gone to bed earlier and started myself on some olive leaf complex and elderberry, but it wasn’t nice like that.  Having said that, my best advice using natural remedies would be to listen to your body and catch the symptoms early on, implement some of these suggestions right away before you actually start feeling sick and then monitor.  Chances are that you won’t get sick at all, which is what I’m usually able to do.

Here was my arsenal:

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1) Don’t underestimate the power of sleep.  When you’re feeling sick you should make sleep your #1 priority since this is the only time your body can truly heal itself.  And I mean deep sleep, not dozing on and off with the TV in the background.  :)

2) Do what you’ve always been told and drink lots of liquids.  I was drinking a lot of water, tea, apple cider vinegar mixtures and coconut water.  My favorite brands of tea are Numi and Traditional Medicinals and when I’m sick I drink a lot of the Traditional Medicinals like the Breathe Easy mixture and Throat Coat.  Stock up for the kids, too.  

I also posted my favorite Apple Cider Vinegar mixture on my Instagram a while back, but here is the recipe again if you missed it:

-warmish/hot water

-2 spoonfuls apple cider vinegar (my favorite is Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)

-2 spoonfuls of honey

-juice from half a lemon

-sprinkle of cinnamon on top

Why apple cider vinegar?  It will help drain your sinuses and will give your immune system a boost to help fight off the virus or bacteria causing you to feel sick.  It’s great for overall health, too.

3) I doubled my probiotics since most of your fighting soldiers are coming from your gut.  I use a professional probiotic from Douglas Laboratories that contains over 40 billion beneficial organisms per serving.

4) I took 2 capsules of Elderberry D3Fense every few hours. Obviously, Vitamin D3 strengthens the immune system, but with the combination of elderberry, echinacea, and olive leaf, this potent mixture can literally stop a cold in its tracks.  Elderberry, known for its high antioxidant levels has benefits way past helping cure a cold.  Start researching it; you’ll be amazed at what it can do for you.  www.herbwisdom.com is a good site for researching herb information.

5) Vitamin C - I use a whole food extract Vitamin C powder from Health Force taken from the acerola berry.  I’m sure this is something you are already doing once symptoms hit you, but make sure you are using a high quality Vitamin C that will actually work.  I was taking about 2,000 mg daily to fight off my cold.

6) Olive Leaf Complex - My favorite is Barlean’s Organic.  So Olive Leaf oil is pretty amazing and its use has been documented all the way back to the time of Hippocrates and continues to be used around the world to treat many different illnesses.  It is recognized as a powerful antioxidant, can increase energy and helps regulate blood pressure.*  Some other exciting research shows olive leaf oil as being an effective anti-viral agent providing benefits that far surpass antibiotics.*  Some people would benefit from taking daily supplements of olive leaf, but I usually only take it when I’m not feeling well and then I usually take 1-2 tbsp. per day while I still have symptoms.  I take mine in grape juice since the taste is personally too bitter for me.

7) Eucalyptus Products - Eucalyptus is a tree, not an herb, and contains properties that can help reduce the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.  However, it is really strong and should be used sparingly and never with small children who can develop severe reactions to its use.  Some practices I use when I’m congested include spraying my pillow at night with a light Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Spray that has been properly diluted and using a Eucalyptus Chest Rub that has also been infused with other essential oils like tea tree, lavender and peppermint oils.  The brand I use is Tea Tree Therapy.  I will also drop one or two drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil into a pot of boiling water, tent a towel behind my head and lean over the steam for immediate relief if I need it.  Eucalyptus is so potent that I don’t do all of these things at the same time.  I will spray my pillow and use chest rub at night hours after I’ve exposed myself to the steam.   

8) Oil of Oregano - I use this oil all the time even when I’m not sick.  I dilute the oil in filtered water and carry it around in a spray bottle in my bag.  Since oil of oregano contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties it’s a great alternative to hand sanitizer.  When I’m feeling under the weather I will actually spray this same diluted spray onto the bottom of my feet (one of your greatest areas for optimal absorption) a few times a day to help fight any bacteria or fungal based infection.  

I know it seems odd that I’m posting this information in August since many cold and flu-like illnesses are months away, but I thought it could help you prepare your own arsenal ahead of time, perhaps prompt you to do more research about natural remedies and really weigh when to treat at home and when to go to the doctor.  I have used the suggestions I’ve shared with you for a few years and have had great results.  Like I said, if you can catch symptoms early and treat immediately you probably won’t get that sick at all. But if you do get sick, give some of these ideas a chance and be consistent with them - just as you would if you were given medicine in pill form.  I think you’ll be surprised with the results!  

Until next time, Be Well.

*Source used: www.herbwisdom.com

 

 

 

 

Healthy Road Trip Fuel

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  Ok, tell me if this sounds familiar…

 

You’re driving along peacefully when one (or all) of the following things happen:

 

1) You realize you have 8 miles of gas left in your tank and need to stop ASAP.  You find a Sheetz and while you fill up on gas, you also fill up on Doritos and soda.  You’ve been driving hard and you deserve it, right?

 

2) You’re feeling a little like a zombie so you stop at the next service plaza to refresh yourself.  You pick up a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut and a tall caramel macchiato from Starbucks.  You’re feeling great again and ready to go!

 

3) Your toddler just informed you that if you don’t pull over NOW he’s going to pee in his car seat.  You take the next exit to take care of business and get him some oreos and fruit punch to reward him for not turning your car into a Seinfeld episode.

 

4) You start to crave something sweet & salty and start praying for a 7-11 to reveal itself.

 

5) You see a McDonald’s and totally justify your stop because you never eat there regularly anyway.  That Big Mac tastes sooo good going down and the fries and milkshake are just icing on the cake.  You start to think once in a while isn’t so bad afterall!

 

Sound about right?  Five to eight years ago this was totally me (except for the oreos and fruit punch part).  I’ve never been one to drink soda, but I would have never considered passing up a syrupy cream-topped starbucks special on the road.  For some reason I felt like I was allowed to let myself break the rules a bit when I was driving long distances because I had convinced myself I didn’t have any other option (boy, was I wrong!).  Thirty minutes post Starbucks/Pizza Hut/fries or whatever other nasty binge I would consume, I would always end up with stomach pains, cramps, and feelings of nausea.  Not a great combination when driving!  And a huge signal that my body was rejecting what I had just put in it!   In general, I have always tried to maintain some sort of healthy eating regimen, but I made poor eating decisions on the road because I wasn’t prepared properly and these excuses would then transfer into the entire trip being sabotaged by weak, impulse decisions.  I would return home feeling gross and in major need of a detox.  Things have changed a lot in my world and I would never go back to this type of bad road trip behavior!

So recently, we packed up our little family of three and headed east to one of our favorite beach towns for the week.  We had a long drive ahead of us and a full week of relaxing and snacking in store.  I went prepared with an arsenal of healthy snack alternatives so that we were not tempted by the flashy packaging of the processed foods at service plazas and gas stations (however, if you’re in a desperate situation, grab a banana, a bag of nuts, coconut water and/or bottled water and get OUT).  I also went prepared with a list of health conscious restaurants and directions to my favorite organic market (for morning juices or smoothies) to use once we got there so that we weren’t stuck eating hours old MSG filled excuses for pizza on the boardwalk.

My list of snack foods contain foods found at Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market and my local natural foods store.  These stores are really easy for me to get to, which was something I really needed the few days leading up to vacay departure.  I’ve read a few blogs that list some amazing road trip fuel, but I wasn’t impressed with the fact that I would have needed to order everything online and I just wasn’t prepared for that.  SO I stayed simple and local.  I really hope my list is able to give you some great, practical ideas for your next road trip adventure!

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1) Electrolyte Enhanced Water - Great for the hot beach when you need to replenish electrolytes quickly from sweating.  This is a much healthier alternative than drinking a sports drink filled with sugar!

2) Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water - They use a high-pressured manufacturing system to rid the water of bacteria before bottling, not heat, so there are more beneficial nutrients staying in the drink.  Great source of antioxidants, loaded with minerals, and naturally uplifting.  I won’t travel without it!

3) 100% Pineapple Juice - Made from whole fresh fruit, not from concentrate.  I found this in a small sized 4-pack in Trader Joe’s which is the perfect travelling size.  My son would drink this all day long if I let him.  There is a crazy amount of Vitamin C in this drink, helps aid digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.  I also love it in smoothies!

4) Lemon & Mint - I took these to put in my water every day for their detoxing power and because they are an amazing pick me up for that afternoon dip.

5) Sliced veggies, apples, bananas, avocados, grapes - All things that are delicious, easy to transport and good for you!  Numerous times on our vacation we were the ones having an apple or banana while everyone else around us was eating a slice of pizza or an ice cream cone.  Choosing to eat this way gave us the sugar everyone craves while on vacation in a naturally occurring way, but it also gave us high amounts of fiber and complex carbs so that we had energy that lasted for hours!

6) Bob’s Red Mill Muesli - I would mix this with yogurt or milk for a mid-morning snack or lunch.  Loads of good stuff in here - whole grain rolled oats, wheat, rye, triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), barley, dates, raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds and walnuts.  Another great source of food for high energy!

7) Chia Seeds - Fiber, Omega 3, Protein.  I put these on almost everything I eat.

8) Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips along with my homemade canned salsa from last tomato season - Yes, I transported a glass mason jar, but it was worth it!  My husband is seriously addicted to this stuff and it makes an awesome lunch when heading to a restaurant is just not appealing anymore.

9) Pink Himalayan Salt - I may start carrying this stuff around with me in my purse.  First of all, it’s pretty.  Second, it contains 84 trace elements and iron from the Himalayan Mts. in Pakistan and is touted as the purest form of salt in the world.  That white table salt?  All minerals are stripped, it’s treated with chemicals, it throws off your body’s pH making it extremely acidic, it has been heated and then treated with bleach.  What’s the point in using white table salt when there is such a better option available?  Oh, it’s sooo delicious, too.

10) MaraNatha’s Organic NO STIR Peanut Butter - We traveled with one jar creamy and one jar crunchy : )  This is by far the best organic p.b. I have ever had! Nice source of wholesome protein and fiber and my son devours it.  Bonus.

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11) Pamela’s Figgies and Jammies Gluten-Free Cookies - Made with real figs and contains nothing artificial.  I love these and they put traditional fig newton’s to shame with their taste and quality of ingredients - and they’re gluten-free!

12) Trader Joe’s Apple and Mango Fruit Bar - Vegan and RAW and only two ingredients : )

13) L‘A’RABARS - These energy bars are my favorite.  They are gluten-free and only contain a few tasty ingredients.  They are also grain-free, non-GMO, soy-free, dairy-free & kosher!

14) Travel size pouches of RAW Organic Green Superfood - When I can’t get a fresh juice or smoothie I mix these pouches with water as a great alternative.  They contain organically grown greens and sprouts, which pumps your body full of that liquid gold chlorophyll.  I will also have these on hand at home for busy mornings when I need to be out the door quickly.

15) Nick’s Grass-Fed Beef and Turkey Snack Sticks - No nitrites added, no added antibiotics or MSG.  This is surprising, but I’d have to say I like the beef better than the turkey!  This is from their website: Grass-fed beef kicks corn-fed cows… in the COB!

  • Low saturated fat — like snacking on chicken or fish
  • High levels of “good fat” omega-3’s — hey, if you’re gonna eat fat… make it the good stuff!
  • High doses of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) — really hard to say and spell, but it kicks cancer where the sun don’t shine
  • 100% free-range bliss — our cows enjoy “outdoor recess” all day… everyday!
  • Eco-friendly? — Sure, our cows produce a bit of natural methane… but our tractors stay in the barn!

Love. It.

16) Nuts! - Walnuts, Pistachios & Almonds - Absolutely love getting in good fats, even if it’s just one handful at a time.  Walnuts have the highest amounts of omega-3 fats than any other nut and they help with brain growth and functioning (they kinda even look like a brain).  Pistachios are a family favorite and are awesome immune system boosters.  Almonds are so good for the heart and versatile - love almond milk and almond butter, too!

17) Raisins, Prunes, Dates & Figs - Seriously these dried fruits are like candy in our house.  They are so easy to pack and transport and they have countless health benefits.  However, I don’t ever buy these conventional because grapes, plums, dates and figs are sprayed heavily with pesticides and once the drying process has occurred, the chemicals become even more concentrated within the fruit.  I always buy these organic.  Also, some people will veer away from these foods (and if you have blood sugar issues then you probably should) because they are nature’s little sugar packets, but that’s honestly why I love them.  If I’m going to eat sweets, it might as well have a nutritional benefit to it and these dried fruits are a.ma.zing (did I say that already?)!  I also use dates as a sweetener in baking or when making raw desserts because refined sugar does not have a place in my kitchen!

18) My little tin of Matcha Tea from Teavana - If you’ve not tried Matcha Tea yet, you need to.  This tea has been used as a part of Japanese culture since the 12th century and we’re just now catching on to its amazing taste and health benefits.  Instead of drinking the tea where the leaves have been strained, matcha involves drinking the entire leaf that has been ground into an extremely fine, green powder.  This drink is loaded with Vitamin C, potassium, iron and fiber and is wonderfully relaxing.

19) Suzie’s Organic Saltines and Whole Grain THIN Cakes (made of corn, quinoa and sesame) - Ok, Suzie’s line is generally awesome all around, but I chose to pack things that we could spread p.b or mashed avocado on.  My favorite thing about the saltines is that they make them with extra virgin olive oil.  If this doesn’t excite you, it should!  Check out the list of ingredients from the popular Nabisco saltine cracker box:

Ingredients. Enriched Flour (WheatFlour,Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid),Soybean Oil, Salt, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Malted Barley Flour, Baking Soda, Vegetable Monoglycerides (Emulsifier). Nutrition Facts.

Hmmm… see anything you don’t like?  How about that high fructose corn syrup?  Don’t be fooled by the “enriched” flour part, either.  Basically the company has taken all the vitamins, minerals and fiber that the plant originally contained and processed it and then tried to put some of it back in again at the end.  This is a very common practice that fools consumers into believing that they just got a nutritional bargain.  Hardly.  If I’m going to eat a cracker, I’d much rather the ingredients go something like this:

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC WHEAT FLOUR, ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, SALT, ORGANIC BARLEY MALT SYRUP, SODIUM BICARBONATE, YEAST.

If you can’t find these in a store near you, check out the website that carries them.  It’s an education in itself! http://www.goodgroceries.com

20) Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts - Hemp hearts are raw shelled hemp seeds.  They provide you with omegas, protein and fiber and have a great flavor.  I sprinkle these babies on everything, right along with my chia seeds!

21) Tiny But Mighty popcorn - This ancient heirloom popcorn was originally shared by the Native Americans with a pioneer family who kept it for generations and it has finally come to market through a very conscious company.  Unlike other popcorn (or corn in general), this brand is verified NON-GMO and the kernels are much smaller than the traditional popcorn we are used to.  I also LOVE it because it’s virtually hull-less, which means it doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, it’s easier to digest and it tastes much better.  I popped the kernels in my air-popper, added some melted vegan organic Earth Balance and some Himalayan Salt and put them in some of our reuseable gallon sized bags.  Awesome road trip food.

22) Panda All Natural Licorice - Licorice is a weakness for me and I love that Panda has four delicious flavors to choose from!  One reason I love this brand is because they don’t used refined sugar.  They sweeten their chews with brown molasses syrup, which provides its own little banquet of nutrients.  YUM!

23)*Splurge!* Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels - ouch.  I’m not perfect!  These aren’t horrible, BUT they do contain sugar that I probably could have gone without.  Next time I will have to be sure to take them out of my cart after they so intentionally jumped in!

I know.  I took a TON of snacks with us, but I’m happy I did because we were never lacking and feeling like we needed to compromise our health when we were hungry.  I also want to mention that many of these foods are staples in our home, but many of them are not.  I usually don’t stock the figgies, the Tahitian Vanilla Caramels or the licorice because they aren’t necessary.  However, I have found that if we allow ourselves a little cheat once in a while it actually keeps our daily healthy lifestyle on track and that’s what really matters.  Look into some of these amazing products and let me know if you have any suggestions for my next road trip (which is coming up in two weeks!)

Until next time, Be Well.

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Did Somebody Say GIVEAWAY?!!

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karma naturals giveaway Remember when you read my blog post a week or so ago about the oh so pretty chemical laden polish your putting on your nails?  If you missed it, you can read it here. Well one of the "3 Free" brands I highly recommended in my post sent me some free samples for YOU! This is your chance to win some awesome organic products for your nails.  Both products together retail for $22 and you have a chance to win them for FREE!  I have for you their Soybean Oil & Lavender Nail Polish Remover that is completely non-toxic along with a great shade of pink, called Skimpy Bikini, that will be perfect for you all summer long.  The polish is of course made without the harmful chemicals toluene, formaldehyde and DBP.  I can't wait to send this out to a lucky winner! Here are the details for entering:

Hop on over to my Facebook Page (found to the right in the sidebar or HERE):

1) Like/Follow my Page

2)Publicly SHARE the Karma Naturals GIVEAWAY POST on your own timeline

3)Leave a comment telling me your favorite summer activity in the comments section on the post.

Once I have seen that you have done all three you will be automatically entered into the Karma Naturals Giveaway Contest!  I will be selecting a winner with the very sophisticated system of "Pulling Name Out of Hat" : ) on Friday, May 23rd @ 10am.

Don't miss out!

Until next time, Be Well.

It's finally flip-flop season! Find out if your nail polish is doing you more harm than good!

Naples-Nails-Pedicure-Manicure-Natural-Skin-Care-Spa-300x300When springtime and warm weather eventually start to roll around I generally have two things on my mind.  The first being, "I really need to get the garden ready!" and the second, "I really need a pedicure!".  Ok, so maybe I have a lot more on my mind than just veggies and flip flop season, but at some point those two things take a front seat and some serious work gets done.  We aren't talking about gardening today, but we are going to see why you should probably take your favorite shades of OPI (Feelin' Hot-Hot-Hot!, anyone?) and trash them.  Yikes!  What did I just say? I couldn't possibly be serious, right?  Why yes, I am, and I think you might agree... Ok, so let's take a step back -with brightly colored toes, I might add ;) -and let me tell you why I'm picking on the more mainstream nail polishes that we all use or have used before.  Most of them are toxic-laden bottles full of chemicals that have no business on our nails.  They are filled with ingredients that you should be concerned about and should probably be avoiding. What's scary is that there are no government based regulatory safety boards ensuring that the ingredients in our cosmetics are safe.  Any cosmetic product out there that you assume is safe may be doing you more harm than good and you would never know it.  The FDA doesn't have to review cosmetic ingredients before they hit the shelves, including nail polish.  Here is a direct quote from fda.gov stating, "It is the responsibility of cosmetic manufacturers to ensure, before marketing their products, that the products are safe when used as directed in their label or under customary conditions of use."  Basically, the manufacturers, not the FDA, are responsible for the safety of their own products.  These are the same manufacturers who also want you as a consumer.  Cue the red flags, please.  Having said that, do you know what's in your nail polish?  Largely, we are talking about toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP, also known as the "toxic trio".  Let's define these:

Toluene:  helps nail polish go on smoothly and adhere evenly to the nail.  According to the EPA, toluene is a chemical added to gasoline to improve octane ratings, but has also been used in the production of polymers, like nail polish (and nylon and plastic soda bottles...).  Low to moderate levels of toluene inhalation have resulted in dizziness, nausea, headaches, and depression to the more severe exposure which can negatively effect kidney and liver function.  It is also a respiratory tract irritant.  If your nail polish bottle reads No Toluene, you're safe, but if it doesn't you need to assume it's in there.

Formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin: helps nail polish to harden.  First of all, formaldehyde stinks terribly.  Remember that awful smell from advanced biology class when you were staring at a little piggy with scalpel in hand?  Yeah, that one.  Well you're willingly painting yourself with it.  The EPA states that, "Besides the annoyance, it also causes acute eye burning and irritates mucous membranes and the respiratory tract. EPA has determined formaldehyde to be a probable human carcinogen."  And carcinogen = cancer causer.

DBP or dibutyl phthalate: stops nail polish from chipping.  It's no secret that scientists have shown that phthalates are another group of cancer causing toxins, endocrine disruptors and gender-benders (reproductive toxicity).  They are so dangerous that the European Union has completely banned its use, naming it one of the top six harmful chemicals known to humans...

But look on the bright side!  There are some safer options out there.  The safest being wear nothing.  The second safest option would be to find a nail polish that boldly labels themselves as having NO Toluene, NO Formaldehyde and NO DBP, also known as "3 Free".  They may be harder to find in stores, but a quick search on Amazon or Google will find you many.  I have two brands that I love.  Karma Hues @ karmaorganicspa.com has an AMAZING line of organic nail care products.  I have been sporting their "Another Beautiful Day in LA" shade of lavender inspired polish and I love it.  I also tried it out on my fingernails (which I never do in the spring because my hands are always in the dirt) and it lasted longer than any other fingernail polish I have used in recent memory.  I was impressed and I'm dying to try their Soybean Oil & Lavender Nail Polish Remover.  I also like SpaRitual @ sparitual.com for their super fun and dynamic colors.  You can't go wrong with either brand, but I would love to hear if you find another natural line that you love.  More and more manufacturers are catching on to the "3 Free" movement so safer nail polishes will hopefully become more readily available.  I hope I've offered you some insight into a very toxic beauty product that is often overlooked.  Don't feel like throwing out your favorite chemical filled nail polish?  Don't sweat it, but next time you go to purchase one try to make it up to your body by going "3 Free".

Until next time, Be Well.