Eye makeup remover

In my slow process to switch to organic bath and beauty products, I’ve become increasingly interested in the number of ingredients that are used to make all these creams and tinctures. I don’t know that more ingredients = bad, but something instinctive tells me that fewer ingredients are better. So I’m paying attention to that.

One other thing I’m noticing is the waste I create when I use different products. For a couple of years I’ve been using an eye makeup remover and a cotton round as an applicator. Recently I realized that I was tossing 30 of those little things into the trash can every month. Even if my makeup remover is organic, surely that trash cancels out any goodness – right? With all of that in mind, let’s have a look at our current match:

Everyday Elements Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover


Jane Iredale Magic Mitt

The old: Everyday Elements Eye Makeup Remover ($3.50 at Bartells drugstore)

Everyday Elements eye makeup remover Everyday Elements ingredients

Ingredients (15): Water, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Allantoin, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate.

What I like about it: Just a little dab on a cotton round takes off waterproof eye makeup with ease. Doesn’t feel drying, though I do have to wash my face afterward. No harsh ingredients (aside from the phenoxylethanol).

What I don’t like about it: This isn’t a dis on the product itself, but using it requires cotton pads or tissues, which generates non-recyclable waste.

The new: Jane Iredale’s Magic Mitt ($15 at Pharmaca and Nordstrom)

Jane Iredale Magic Mitt

Ingredients (1): Cotton fiber

What I like about it: It takes off all makeup, there is no waste, it can be re-used eleventy billion times, and my skin feels great after using it. No need for further cleansing or scrubbing.

What I don’t like about it: truly nothing.

I was overjoyed to discover this product at my natural pharmacy. You put your hand in the mitt, wet it with warm water, and gently rub off the makeup. Even waterproof and stubborn makeup comes off easily. I just splash my face with water when I’m done, and pat dry. My skin has felt noticeably less dry, especially around the eye area. I am sold. Jane Iredale Magic Mitt is our winner!


Facial moisturizer with SPF

A couple of years ago before traveling to the East coast of Australia, which is directly below a giant hole in the ozone layer, I visited a dermatologist for some advice. I was already using facial moisturizer with SPF, but the doc strongly recommended that I use only moisturizers that contain Neutrogena’s Helioplex concoction. So I bought and used it, even though it stings like crazy when my face gets hot.

Turns out that my Neutrogena moisturizer, along with many other products with SPF, contains oxybenzone which is nasty and toxic. No seriously – chuck your products that contain oxybenzone. Natural sun protection products contain either titanium dixoide or zinc oxide. If you want to learn more about sunscreen, check¬†http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/. Meanwhile, let’ s meet today’s contenders:

Neutrogena Healthy Defense liquid moisturizer SPF 50


Juice Beauty SPF 20 Mineral Sheer Moisturizer

The Old: Neutrogena Healthy Defense ($13 for 1.4 oz at Walgreen’s)

Neutrogena Healthy Defense

Ingredients (27): Active – Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 4%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 5%, Oxybenzone 4%; Inactive – Water, Glycerin, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Silica, Styrene (Acrylates Copolymer), Steareth 100 (Acrylates Copolymer), Ethylhexylglycerin, Steareth 2, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Diethylhexyl 2, 6 Naphthalate, Xanthan Gum, Mannan, BHT, Beta Glucan, Pentylene Glycol, Chlorphenesin

What I like about it: Great SPF protection. Light, even coverage. Works well under makeup.

What I don’t like about it: Stings a little when I put it on, and especially if I sweat after applying.

The new: Juice Beauty SPF 20 ($29 for 2 oz. at Pharmaca)

Juice Beauty moisturizer Juice Beauty moisturizer ingredients

Ingredients (28): Active – Titanium Dioxide; inactive – Organic Juice Solution Of Pyrus Malus (Apple) Juice, Vitis Vinifera (White Grape) Juice, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Juice & Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Organic Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Organic Cera Alba (Beeswax), Octyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Organic Plant Oils Of Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) & Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Pca, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Phospholipids, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Xanthan Gum, Tetrasodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone, Citrus Aurantium (Petitgrain), Cinnamomum Camphora (Ho Wood) & Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin) Pure Essential Oils.

What I like about it: Very moisturizing. Works fine under makeup. A little goes a long way.

What I don’t like about it: Goes on like mime makeup – I have to rub it in a lot to lose the white. Feels a little greasy at first.

The verdict: I’m learning a lot about sunscreen, that’s for sure. Oxybenzone is nasty stuff – it ranks a 9 out of 10 for toxicity on Skin Deep‘s website. And apparently this whole SPF 50+ protection thing is a bit of a sham. It took me a while to get used to the Juice Beauty product, but now that I’ve been using it for about a month, I’m happy. It’s really thick; the consistency reminds me of a night moisturizer rather than day, but my skin feels great, particularly during this dry winter. I may still try other products, but for now Juice Beauty slams the stingy stuff.

Liquid hand soap

This is the hand soap I keep next to the kitchen sink for grease cutting and nice-smelling cleanliness. I’ve really had no complaints about the one I’ve been using, even though I do wonder if my hand dryness is related to the sulfates in the soap. As always, ingredient definitions are in the glossary. This one is going to be a tough challenge. Bring it!

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day liquid hand soap


Kiss My Face Lemon & Ginger self-foaming liquid soap

The old: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day liquid hand soap – lavender ($3.50 at Walgreens)

Mrs Meyers liquid soap Mrs Meyers ingredients

Ingredients (19): Deionized Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauramide Dea, Glycerin, Fragrance, Lavender Oil, Orange Oil, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Olive Oil, Isosteramidopropyl Morpholine Lactate, Polyquaternium 7, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid.

What I like about it: Smells good, cuts grease, works even if you water it down.

What I don’t like about it: Not much.

The new: Kiss My Face foaming liquid soap ($4 at Whole Foods)

Kiss My Face soap Kiss My Face soap ingredients

Ingredients (17): Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice (Organic), Floral Water of Orange (Certified Organic), Lemongrass , Juniper, Hibiscus, Infusion of Certified Organic Herbs, Lemon, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile), Rosemary, Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Water (Steamed – Distilled), Vegetable Glycerin, Sea Salt, Essential Oil of Grapefruit, Essential Oil of Bergamot, Tocopherol

What I like about it: Smells great – I now like lemon more than lavender for the kitchen. Doesn’t dry my skin.

What I don’t like about it: I’m not crazy about the foaming, which feels flimsy. Doesn’t cut grease very well.

The verdict: Compared to some other products I’ve used, Mrs. Meyer’s isn’t so bad on the scale of toxic products. Only sodium laureth sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine are ranked as a moderate hazards. That said, I really want to like the Kiss My Face product. I get that self-foaming soap means that you use less of it, but it may be the concentration of soap that’s needed for getting oily grease off your hands in the kitchen. I’m not sure if it’s the foam or the formula that is holding this one back, but I’m going to keep looking.


A friend of mine has been extolling the evils of fluoride for some time now. I’ve been shrugging it off; we drink it in our water and it’s in nearly every toothpaste I’ve ever seen–surely it’s not that bad? Well, the Environmental Working Group ranks sodium fluoride as a 9 out of 10 on their hazard list. And there are many more articles that detail the risks to our bodies. While they don’t take a stance on fluoride in toothpaste, the American Cancer Society says of fluoride in water that, “there is no strong evidence of a link between water fluoridation and cancer. However, several of the reviews note that further research, including better-designed studies, is needed to address this topic.”

All that said, sodium fluoride along with other ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh cleanser and skin irritant, has me looking for more natural alternatives. Let’s meet today’s contenders.

Kiss My Face Whitening toothpaste


Sensodyne Maximum Strength with Fluoride

The old: Sensodyne Maximum Strength with Fluoride ($5.50 at Walgreens)

Sensodyne toothpaste Sensodyne ingredients

Ingredients (14): Potassium nitrate (5%), sodium fluoride (.15%), Calcium Peroxide, Flavor, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, PEG 12, PEG 75, Silica, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Titanium Dioxide, Water

What I like about it: Helps dull the sensitivity in my teeth. Cleans fine.

What I don’t like about it: No real evidence of whitening. Contains some nasty ingredients.

The new: Kiss My Face whitening toothpaste($5.39 at Amazon)

Kiss My Face toothpaste Kiss My Face toothpaste ingredients

Ingredients (18): Sorbitol, Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Aqua, Xylitol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Cetraria Islandica (Iceland Moss) Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Flavor, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Menthol, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice), Xanthan Gum, Menthol, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex, Potassium Sorbate.

What I like about it: Tastes good, seems to clean fine, no warnings that mention contacting the poison control center.

What I don’t like about it: Some sensitivity is returning to my teeth, though I expected that.

The verdict: Kiss My Face has a range of toothpaste options, and they do have one with potassium nitrate (the numbing agent), which I’ll try if my teeth get too sensitive with this one. However, I really like this toothpaste so far, and the aloe vera gel works even better with my Sonicare toothbrush than the Sensodyne did.¬† Kiss My face slays the competition!

Dental Floss

This one is weird, right? Like there’s non-organic dental floss? Well, the issue with floss is the material (usually nylon or Teflon, which are a petroleum products), the coating (usually synthetic wax, which is a petroleum product), and the case (usually made of plastic, which is a petroleum product). Also, something like 700 million non-recyclable cases are tossed away every year. So with that in mind, let us meet today’s contenders:

Crest Glide Comfort Plus


EcoDent GentleFloss

The Old: Crest Glide – $3.50 at Walgreens

Ingredients (6+): polytetrafluoroethylene (aka Teflon) monofilament fiber and a coating comprised of beeswax, gum arabic, water, flavor, and “other ingredients.”

What I like about it: I have tightly spaced teeth, and this gets between them easily.

What I don’t like about it: Since it slides so easily, it may not be having any positive flossing effect. I find I use more since it slips off my fingers.

The new: Eco-Dent GentleFloss – $3.00 at Whole Foods

Ingredients (21): Simmondsia chinesis (jojoba) seed oil, Euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, Oryza sativa (rice) bran wax, Menthol, Mentha piperita (peppermint) oil, Anethole, Citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) oil, illicium verum (anise) oil, Pelargonium graveolens flower oil, Citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, Ocimum basilicum (basil) oil, Rose flower oil, Potassium thiocyanate, Lactoferrin, Loctoperoxidase, Glucose oxidase, Natural flavor, Polysorbate 80.

What I like about it: smart packaging, tastes pretty good, definitely has positive flossing action.

What I don’t like about it: this thread can barely make it between some of my teeth, and it shreds apart sometimes. I have to admit that I used the Crest floss to rescue some EcoDent floss fibers from between my teeth.

The verdict: If you have teeth that are not crammed together from wisdom teeth being pulled too late, then this may be the floss for you! I really want to like this, but my teeth are not cooperating. So with sadness I have to say: keep looking.

Hand moisturizer

I’ll probably have lots of moisturizer posts. This one is for the travel moisturizer I keep in my purse – they aren’t specifically hand creams, but thick body moisturizer. I love my Bliss Body Butter, but let’s take a closer look, shall we? As always, you can see definitions for ingredients in the Glossary.

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Butter


Hugo Naturals French Lavender All Over Lotion

The old: Bliss Body Butter ($3 for 30 ml. on Amazon)

Ingredients (32): Water (Aqua), Cocos Nucifera Oil, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycine Soja Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Isopropyl Myristate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Calluna Vulgaris Extract, Algae Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Trimethylolpropane Triisostearate, Sorbitan Tristearate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Carbomer, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene, Citral, Ethyl Acetate, Cyclohexane, Propylene Glycol, Diethanolamine.

What I like about it: Smells lemony and great, goes on smooth and lasts for a long time.

What I don’t like about it: The lemony smell can sometimes be overpowering. Skin can feel coated rather than deeply moisturized.

The new: Hugo Naturals French Lavender All Over Lotion ($3 for 2 oz. at Whole Foods)

Ingredients (23): Aqueous Infusion of: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera), Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey Root), Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Passiflora Incarnata (Passion) Flower, Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark, Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris (Lady’s Mantle) Extract, Olea Europaea (Organic Olive Oil) Unsaponifiables, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba) Seed Oil, Squalane (from Olives), Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea Butter), Cetearyl Glucoside, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter (Organic Cupuacu Butter), Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Euterpe Oleracea Pulp Oil (Organic Acai Berry Oil), Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Juice, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Lonicera Caprifolium Var. Caprifolium (Japanese Honeysuckle Extract), Lavandula Spica (Organic French Lavender) Flower Oil.

What I like about it: Thick, deeply moisturizing, smells great, lasts for a long time.

What I don’t like about it: That this tiny bottle will run out soon.

The verdict: Wow these products contain a lot of ingredients. This glossary is going to kill me. But holy cow on the Bliss moisturizer – I count at least 5 ingredients that rank as moderate to high hazards in the Skin Deep cosmetics database. PEG-40 Stearate and Diethanolamine alone, even though they are in tiny amounts, are pretty toxic. The good news is that the Hugo Naturals product is fantastic. I feel moisturized rather than coated. Hugo Naturals is our winner!

Nail polish remover

First up: nail polish remover. I’ve been using a variety of drugstore brands for a long time, and I’m curious about whether I can find something without so much alcohol and other crap in it (see the Glossary for ingredients and definitions). So pitted against each other today are:

Premier Value Nail Polish Remover


Almost Natural Polish Remover

The Old: Premier Value: $3ish at Walgreens

Ingredients (13): Ethyl acetate, alcohol, butyl stearate, castor oil, lanolin, fragrance, benzo-phenone-1, propylene glycol, BHA, propyl gallate, citric acid, isostearic hydrolyzed protein, D&C Red #17.

What I like about it: works fast on even multiple layers of polish. Cheap.

What I don’t like: Drying on the nails afterwards. Stinks.

The New: Almost Natural: $7ish at Whole Foods

Ingredients (6): methyl-pentan-2 one, multi-fruit acids, amber acid, deionized water, vitamin A, natural vanilla fragrance.

What I like about it: really does smell like vanilla. Works fine (just follow instructions – hold on to the nail for 10-20 seconds before wiping).

What I don’t like about it: Expensive.

The verdict: even with the extra cost, the smell and the ingredients in Almost Natural make this one my favorite. Plus, a bottle lasts me a really long time. Unless I find something even better, I’m not going back. Almost Natural Polish Remover is our winner!