Project Natural Glow

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Some of you may remember the Project Glow challenge I put together for Caitlin a while back. Well, I’m cooking up a similar challenge, but this time it has an all-natural twist.

The questions I am asking are:

Can I commit to switching to all natural cosmetics?

Will using all natural products improve the appearance of my skin, hair, etc.?
Will I be able to find all natural products without breaking my budget?

A little while ago, I mentioned that I wanted to start buying more natural cosmetic products to replace the current ones that I use. So far I have switched to coconut oil as a body moistruizer and I replaced my non-natural toner with Desert Essence Australian Tea Tree Oil.  I love this product. It is quite drying so you have to be prepared to back it up with lots of moisturizer before you put your make-up on though. I just love it. After cleansing my face, I swipe this product all over my face and then I moisturize. I find it really cuts down on shine throughout the day and it has cut my break-outs down so much they are virtually non existent! I think I first found this at Wal-Mart, but I also spotted it in the natural foods section of Loblaws/Superstore (where they have their natural beauty products located).

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I will be the first to admit, I have never paid much attention to what ingredients I put on my body, but after some thought, I realized that it was a bit silly of me to be so careful about what I put into my body but not what I put on it. Afterall, skin is the largest organ in the human body!

A few readers pointed me to Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database.

I found this description on the About page:

In 2004 we launched Skin Deep, an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products. Our aim was to fill in where companies and the government leave off: companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish, and our government doesn’t require companies to test products for safety before they’re sold. EWG’s scientists built Skin Deep to be a one-of-a-kind resource, integrating our in-house collection of personal care product ingredient listings with more than 50 toxicity and regulatory databases.

Now in its fourth year and third major update, our Skin Deep database provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for nearly a quarter of all products on the market — 46,432 products with 8,582 ingredients. At about one million page views per month, Skin Deep is the world’s largest and most popular product safety guide.

After searching some of the products that I use, I was down right disturbed by the ingredients I put on my skin each and every day.

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A few weeks ago, I purchased Yes To Carrots Pampering Carrot Juice Shampoo. It is not tested on animals and it is made up of many natural ingredients like dead sea mud, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, melon, and honey.

I was pretty pumped to try out this shampoo.

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So what did I think of it?

Well, for starters it was sort of nice using a very mildy aromatic shampoo. I am used to using shampoos with a strong scent, so this was a nice change. Secondly, it was a bit hard to get over the fact that it doesn’t sud up a lot like most shampoos. I believe this is due to it not using common chemicals that result in lots of suds. After a bit of investigation, I found that this shampoo uses an ingredient called Sodium Coceth Sulfate which is “a semisynthetic detergent-like compound derived from fatty acids obtained from coconut oil, modified using ethylene oxide (oxirane). It is a milder foaming agent found in baby cleansers, gels, and cleaners.” (Source). So by no means does this shampoo contain entirely natural ingredients, but I guess it is a good start.

The shampoo seems to do a good job, despite myself having a hard time to accept the lather-less wash. I’ve been told time and time again that the lather and bubbles in soaps were created simply to make people think they were getting clean, when in reality it has nothing to do with it.

I find myself using a huge glob of this shampoo to ‘get the job done’. I think that because it doesn’t create a large lather, I feel like I need to use more to get my hair clean. This probably is far from the truth though.

It is a bit difficult for me to give this product a rating since it is my first time using any sort of natural shampoo, but all and all I was fairly pleased I guess. I will continue to use this HUGE bottle (another bonus) and then move onto another new product.

I must also admit that I have a lot to learn with respect to cosmetics, ingredients, and safety hazards. I kind of see it as a new challenge to do some reading on it and research some ‘friendly’ brands that I can test out and review. Unfortunately, this Yes To Carrots product has not been reviewed on the website yet, so I couldn’t check it out.

Of course, I won’t be going cold turkey on my current stuff. I am using up what I have now, and as I run out, I will be replacing the products with natural ones. This will be a gradual process that will occur over the next several months!

Now here’s where you come in!

I know many of you are so savvy in this department. And I would love your advice, tips, and pieces of knowledge that you have learned from using natural products.

Have you found any products in particular that you loved or hated?

Do you ever think about what ingredients you are putting on your skin?

Could you ever see yourself switching to natural products?

Will you join me in this challenge?

Share your thoughts below! :)

I would love to hear of some great natural brands out there. I think I have heard Burt’s Bees is a good one?

angela signature thumb   Project Natural Glow

See you later…be sure to check Twitter for some fun updates while I’m away! :)

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

JB August 1, 2009

i always think about what ingredients i put on my skin. we have so many open pores that soak up what we put on our bodies. as for shampoo and conditioner, i really love the brand giovanni. and as for body wash and lotion, i like nature’s gate a lot. both brands are good quality but not over priced. collective wellbeing is a great brand too. to throw a little tip out there, i highly recommend using a natural deodorant if you don’t already. i’ve heard that a lot of deodorants have chemicals that can actually be really harmful to our bodies when soaked in through the skin. propylene glycol is an ingredient that i’ve heard is really bad, even though it happens to be in a lot of “natural” deodorants. so be picky! not every cosmetic product i own is 100% natural, namely some of my make-up, but i definitely do the best i can.

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Jennifer @ His N' Her Health August 1, 2009

I use Yes to Cucumbers face wash, moisturizer and shampoo/conditioner. I also thought it was odd that it wasn’t bubbly and felt like I had to use more. I like all the products I have. Since I live in the desert I get really dry skin and hair, these really help. I too am transitioning to more natural products slowly. I really want to start using natural deodorant because I think I might be allergic the the aluminum in the non natural kind. No mater what brand or scent, they all make me itchy!

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Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now August 1, 2009

I’d love to switch to all natural cosmetics, but I’m not sure where to start.

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She-Fit August 1, 2009

These natural cosmetics look great

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Gina August 1, 2009

Hi Angela,

I switched to Arbonne skincare products over a year ago because I wanted to put on my skin healthy products. I am so careful as to what I put in my body I wanted to do the same on the outside. All the products are vegan, not tested on animals, ph correct (normal skin surface pH is between 4 and 6.5), paraben and mineral oil free, and botanically based. The ingredients in my opinion are the best of science and nature. Let me know if you want some samples, and I can mail them to you. Have a great day!
-Gina

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Kayzilla August 1, 2009

Be warned with Burt’s Bees: My mom once bought
Herbal Insect Repellent from ‘em. Smelled mighty nice, and it stuck to the skin pretty good too, but it also attracted this unknown HUUUUUGE bug that stalked behind us for miles while we were hiking in Arkansas. It was scary.

As much as I’d love to switch to natural products, I don’t really have a choice in the manner. I’m under working age, and my mom is the only steady income in the house right now.. Therefor, I get whatever is conveniantly priced. :(

I’ve heard that Tea Tree Oil does wonders for acne cysts. I get those sometimes.. I just had one on my nose and it was the ickiest experience ever. I wish I had some with me! lol. I should ask my mum about it. If it’s at walmart, there might be a chance I can get some. -fingers crossed-

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Shelby August 1, 2009

I use Witch Hazel and Eminence Organics cleansers and moisterizers. They are a little expensive (the eminence, not witch hazel) but they last a really long time. You can either go to the website or to buy- just search online stores that carry them.

The Yes products have propylene glycol in them which is a moderate hazard. I was so dissapointed.

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Sam August 1, 2009

I’ve been wanting to switch over to more natural products for a while now but have no idea where to start. I tried out Kiss My Face shampoo and conditioner but it left my hair feeling greasy no matter how much or how little I used. I’ve been using Yes To Carrots shampoo and conditioner and I seem to be having the same problem. It’s not as bad, however when I dry and straighten my hair it has a weird texture to it, not the silky smoothness I am used to from using Herbal Essance. It almost feels like there is still product in my hair, even after rinsing extra long to make sure it is all out. I’m not sure where to go from here really, as I don’t want to keep spending money to experiment with products that leave me less than satisfied. Hopefully your readers will have some suggestions so I’m not fishing in the dark for something that might work. I look forward to hearing your reviews and hopefully finding something that works for me.

On the other hand, I’ve also tried to Yes to Carrots face wash and lotion and actually found some success with that. I like the face wash as it exfoliates without using really rough exfoliates. The lotion is more of a paste to put on, but a little goes a long way and it really moisturizes my skin. However, I would love to find a product that removes the small bumps that don’t seem to want to budge from my forehead. They’re not pimples per say (no white heads) but they’re just skin colored bumps that never go away. Kind of annoying…

Wow, that was a long ramble! I hope you find something that works for you though!

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Sam August 1, 2009

I was using the Neutrogena SPF 45 Moisturizer/sunscreen combo you recommended before. But I recently noticed that it says nothing on the bottle about it being “non-comedogenic”…So I switched to Aveeno SPF 55. Which is oil-free, non-greasy, non-comedogenic and waterproof. My skin looks great now :)

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Crystal August 1, 2009

I try and use as natural products as I can (of coarse I am not perfect though). Whole Foods has a labeling system for all of the products that don’t contain harmful chemicals (at least the ones on their list, which is a mighty long list) and in Colorado (might want to check locally) all Whole Body products are 15% off on Tuesdays!

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meghan August 1, 2009

I love burts bees! Also love making my own stuff like oatmeal exfoliant and banana honey face masks. Greek yogurt makes a cooling face mask as well. Fun topic!

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Spotty Prep August 1, 2009

I wish I could afford Arbonne all the time!

I use Pureology for my hair, Say Yes To Carrots and the Body Shop for moisturizers, lotions, soaps, etc. I use Burt’s Bees chapsticks. Makeup and nail polish are harder for me…

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Kelley August 1, 2009

Try Lush! http://www.lush.com... everything is completely natural, and a lot are vegan. The website also has REAL reviews.. I’ve had really bad luck with natural products, but these are by far the best.

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Allison August 1, 2009

That’s such an awesome point that we should be aware of what we put on our bodies, not just in it!

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Lisa August 1, 2009

I made the switch last year – on my face I currently use a Clarisonic Cleansing System with a combination of Juice Beauty – http://www.juicebeauty.com and Suki – http://www.sukipure.com products. On my body – pure coconut oil.

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Aaron @ CrossBorderCravings August 1, 2009

I have to agree that I don’t think about what I put on my body all that often either. Sometimes I scope out natural products, but its usually expensive and/or hard to find. With make-up, I have mostly given up because it would be such a huge undertaking to convert. If you bring to light some of the natural products out there it would be awesome!

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Danielle C. August 1, 2009

I tried to switch to natural deodorant (Crystal) at first I was okay with it but as the temperature rose so did my sweat. Honestly, I just can’t deal with sweating…so I went back to my Secret. I can see myself going back to Crystal in the Fall. For the summer though I can’t deal with sweating and smelling. :(

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Clare August 1, 2009

Burt’s Bees lip stuff-as well as some of their other products have lanolin (sheep fat!) in them. Soaps like Dove are made with tallow, rendered cow and other animal fat! Yuck! Bare Minerals products are great-although I do try to find the synthetic brushes as the others are made with squirrel fur from china. It’s tough out there once you start reading labels-but it is really possible to have Beauty without Cruelty(another good brand if you can find it). By the way, Ang, thank you for being a daily inspiration!

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Aisha August 1, 2009

I have been using lush products recently, their face cream called skin deep, it is really nice and not greasy because most creams even the most basic ones made for babies leave my skin quite greasy. Also I’ve been using pure coconut oil on my hair as an antifrizz thing, and it works really well, no frizz at all today, even though it was raining like mad and I have uber frizzy curly hair. There is a brand called jergens which does a lovely pomegranate body cream that is really good.
I honestly feel better using almost all natural things, I think even if this feeling is psychological that my skin is a lot clearer (may be from a lot less processed food though…).
I will gladly join you on a challenge to use more cruelty free products.

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Mellissa August 1, 2009

I am slowly trying to switch to more natural products, I use a lot of Aveda for hair products, Bare Minerals for my makeup and I just started using the Avocate Skincare Line from Morris Organics and Tea Tree Oil and my skin is really starting to glow!

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Louise August 1, 2009

Hi! Night time moisturizer: Rosa Mosqueta® Rose Hip Moisturizing Cream 4oz – http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=091 for reviews; Vitacost .com to purchase and for reviews.

Shampoo: Primrose & Lavender Scalp-Soothing Shampoo 16oz – http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=054A Also purchase at Vitacost! I prefer Honey Suckle Rose, but it comes only in 11 oz and is more expensive.

The above lather up nicely!

For daytime, I use Meaningful Beauty’s Maintenance 1 Day Moisturizer SPR 20 – you have to use something with SPF!

You’ll enjoy the above – I have it figured out for white skin that is photo-sensitive (sensitive to the sun) with rosacea. Wear a hat. Drink lots of water!

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Annie D. August 1, 2009

I love Dr. Bronner’s soap. Target carries them and they last FOREVER!!! Lately I too have been using coconut oil as moisturizer, as well as a leave in conditioner. YUM!

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Lainie August 1, 2009

This is a really great post because it made me realize that although I think so carefully about what goes into my body, rarely do I think about what goes on my body. The other readers have great suggestions and I’ll be anxious to hear more…

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erin August 1, 2009

i try to use natural products free from harsh chemicals and preservatives as much as possible. it makes me feel better about what i’m putting on my body, and it makes me feel better about how i am impacting the environment. one brand i’ve found that is all natural, safe, AND budget-friendly is everyday minerals (www.everydayminerals.com). they even offer free sample packs to help you find the right colors for your skin. they sell some of the best (and most inexpensive) makeup brushes as well.

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MarathonVal August 1, 2009

This was an interesting post to me because I was JUST talking to my mom and husband about this issue – typical man, he didn’t understand why it was important to use natural products, such as more natural shampoo, because “it’s just your hair and your skin it doesn’t go into your body”…… if only it was that simple!

About Burt’s Bees – the company is actually owned by Clorox, which has gotten in trouble recently for having harmful business practices and obviously has no qualms about putting chemicals in their products.

This is why it’s tough to sift through the so-called “natural” ingredient list and labels – it’s not always what it seems!

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Steph August 1, 2009

be careful with lush- they use parabens in their products which have been linked to cancer. there are other things out there that are all-natural, but i agree that lush products are better than many that are out there.

i absolutely LOVE the juice beauty line of skin care. it is organic, and smells heavenly. it has done wonders for my skin. i buy it from sephora at square one. it is around 20 dollars or so, 30 for the moisturizer, but it lasts me forever. a little goes a long way. they also have a starter kit that you can buy to try out the products before making the investment which is very handy.

with regards to shampoo/conditioner- i am having a VERY hard time finding natural options that work well. i have tried many brands with little luck. the one brand that is absolutely wonderful is called “john masters”, and his products can be found at whole foods. the problem is the PRICE! being that i am a soon to be student again, there is no way that i can afford to buy them (around $20 for a small bottle!). im debating trying to find some homemade recipes so that i can try making my own shampoos and conditioners at home!

a big thing for me was finding all natural sunscreen as i have been living in a tropical climate for the past 2 years, and i have read about all of the chemicals in sunscreen. some argue that the increase in skin cancer may not only be due to the ozone, but also to the horrible chemicals in sunscreens. i love badger brand- it is all natural, and works amazingly well. it is a little difficult to put on as the main ingredient is zinc so it is thicker, but i feel it is worth the extra effort knowing that i am taking care of myself. it is also made with a number of natural oils, so it repels moisture well- perfect for sweating!

one thing to keep in mind- many people advertise as organic and all natural, but they are not. you really need to study the labels! i highly recommend the book “gorgeously green” to everyone. it is so informative, and has taught me a lot.

great post!!!

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chanturtle August 1, 2009

I use natural hair products not so much face and body. I use Giovanni line which they now sell at walmart (yay!) I don’t know why I switched but I read alot how some of the stuff in shampoos and conditioner and hair products ACTUALLY cause frizz instead of preventing it.

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kelly August 1, 2009

I have very sensitive skin as well as Rosacea so I struggle to find any product that works. I would love to begin switching over to natural but am a little hesitant because I don’t want to cause big problems with my skin by experimenting. Great post, as always!

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Jess August 1, 2009

I too don’t really know where to start sometimes. I love cocoa butter as a moisturizer – esp. for winter time (I live in Wisconsin, it gets UBER dry!).

I’ve tried some natural products, but I haven’t found anything I LOVE. I want to try Dr. Bronner’s.

I just bought some Bare Minerals and I really like it. I’m a little hesitant on one product that the woman told me has silicone in it … eep.

I have psoriasis, so it’s sometimes hard to find something that works well with my skin. But I really HATE having to use strong prescription meds on my skin in order to keep things under control. I had hoped that eating better would help, but it hasn’t yet :(

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Ashley August 1, 2009

I have recently been working to switch to natural products and I am so happy with the results!!

I have a Say Yes to Carrots conditioner which I really like. I like the shampoo less. For shampoo I tend to use the Burt’s Bees for coloured hair (fennel & something?) It’s quite lovely, keeps my hair moisturized and has had great results on my colour.

For skin I use a few different things. I have a Burt’s Bees cleanser that I really like. I also have an awesome moisturizer with 30SPF in it. I need to grab the name… But it’s awesome! Goes on under make up so nicely and I love that it has SPF.

I’ve also started using some Korres make up. Their mascara is amazing!!! I absolutely love it and it does great things for my lashes. I can’t wait to hear more about your experiences with natural make up.

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Caroline August 1, 2009

I’ve only ever used Burt’s Bees chapstick. I’ve wanted to try their shampoos and such, but I always think of natural products (just like healthier foods) to be much more expensive than non-naturals, which I hate, but I just can’t find room in the budget to even pay for name brand soaps most of the time.

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morgan August 1, 2009

i loooooooooooooove yes to carrots! the conditioner is amazing! i also treat myself to rocky mountain soap company soap. smells amazing and more natural that other stuff! (i dont know how much but i know that i’m never weirded out by the list of ingredients!)

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morgan August 1, 2009

oh! i also use lush’s henna to colour my hair and i will never go back to chemical dye!! it’s a pain to do every 2 months (takes up to 5 hours), but my hair is so shiny and soft and pretty after and i love the fact that i could leave the henna on for ages if i wanted to and it just makes my hair even healthier! i was always weirded out by that tingly feeling of chemical dye…

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Kristina August 1, 2009

I used Aveda for all my hair products and face products.

While on the pricey side, it lasts forever as a little goes a long way.

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a August 1, 2009

i’ve used Nature’s Gate shampoo and conditioner (jojoba for damaged hair) and I have to admit I hated it! It was so hard to run my hands through my hair, it had no shine and felt heavy and flat. Also, if I’m gong to be spending that money, I’d rather have something like Kerestase that makes my hair feel amazing!

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Marissa August 1, 2009

I love this idea!

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Jen August 1, 2009

I’m so glad you’re doing a post on this! I’m very conscious of the products I use and try not to buy anything (from makeup to toiletries to cleaning products, etc) that has been tested on animals…I just don’t think it’s necessary in most cases. I also aim to use environmentally friendly products whenver I can. I’m just finishing up shampoo & conditioner from Down Under Naturals Nude. It’s 95% organic and is not tested on animals, and I do get a pretty good lather out of it! I also really like the Live Earth brand (I buy it at Shoppers Drug Mart). It’s a smidge pricier than DUNN – $5.99 a bottle vs $3.99 – but it’s also all natural, etc. Good for you for being conscious of what you’re using!

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Paige August 1, 2009

Great idea! Some organic/natural products that are HG material for me are

-jojoba oil- I use this as a makeup remover and as a night to
e moisturizer. Love this stuff.

-rose water- as a toner/refresher

-I also love the avalon organics line

Good luck, girlie!

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Sarah August 1, 2009

Great post, Angela! I love what you’re doing with this blog! I think if you like the Desert Essence tea tree oil, you’ll really like Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash (good for all skin types, but possibly drying for some–I have sensitive, somewhat combination skin and love this product). It’s not at all pricey and it really does what it says. I’ve found great luck with Dr. Hauschka and also Suki products, as well; even though both lines are quite pricey upfront, they do last a while and I think are completely worth it–and most products are vegan. (I think you’ll especially like to read what Suki has to say. She started her business with just a few products and has really taken off in the past few years–what would be great for you in your business, too! A great company worth supporting, as is Dr. H.) I’ve also used John Masters hair products with wonderful results, though have lately been using Aubrey Organics hair products and like them very much. I hope you’ll keep writing on this topic! Let us know what’s working for you and keep up the great work!

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Katie T. August 1, 2009

I’ve also been thinking about this a lot lately… It’s BRUTAL how many chemicals are put into products that we used on a daily basis. Kind of a scary thought, if you ask me.

I suggest you make an account with http://www.makeupalley.com. You can search SO many different brands – so if you have a certain natural product you’re interested in, you can go there and read reviews BEFORE buying it!! This website has been a god-send for me. There are so many terrible products out there that sound like they’ll do the trick, but are no good.

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