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The end of an op-ed this weekend in the Times states, “The precautionary principle suggests that we should be wary of personal products like fragrances unless they are marked phthalate-free. And it makes sense — particularly for children and pregnant women…” This principle has been toted by many in my field as a necessary avoidance. In fact, no phthalate-containing nail polishes, shampoos, perfumes and body lotions can be found at juju or many other forward minded locations peddling safer beauty products.  Now, peer-reviewed medical science articles are being written about the absolute link between autism, for example, and exposure to environmental toxins. A wonderful fact-driven migration: from granola crunching health food stores to the JAMA!

The science community knows that Phthalate exposure to pregnant women can lead to their children displaying behavioral issues. So why is this toxic ingredient still being added to hair sprays, shampoos and conditioners? A quick search on “phtalate” in the Environmental Working Group’s website, Skin Deep database, found almost 23,000 products containing phtalates!  Sure, I wasn’t surprised to find Versace’s Red Jeans perfume listed, but Aveda’s Detoxifying Shampoo (detoxifying? what a misnomer!) and cleansers from Kiss My Face?!!

My advice for now: avoid buying any product with “phtalate” listed in its ingredients. Moreover, avoid buying any beauty product that lists “fragrance” in its ingredients, unless, there is an asterisk explaining that the fragrance is an unadulterated essential oil. Scary.

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Though there are dozens of organic herbal and plant-based infusions that should be listed as an ingredient in your anti-wrinkle creme, here are my top picks:

1. White Willow Bark, also known as Pussy Willow.  The inside bark of this plant is rich in naturally occurring salicylic acid, a marvelously gentle tool for cellular turnover when applied to the skin. White Willow Bark is also an anti-imflammatory for oily, combination, acne or blemished skin and scalp. Great relief for rosacea, psriasis, eczema, dandruff and any skin or scalp condition that produces redness and/or inflammation.

2. Retinol liposomes from Vitamin A.  The ultimate source of the vitamin A is carotene. Look for the listing of organic yellow vegetables (carrots, tomatoes) and yellow fruits (papaya, mangoes) in your brightening creme.  Reduce fine lines, clear your pores and (again!) speed up cell turnover with these essential vitamin A carriers.

3. Rosa Centifolia is known for its anti aging components when applied to skin.  Packed with antioxidant for keeping those free radicals at bay, tannins, which have a toning effect on skin, emolient (moisturizing) ingredients, as well as anti-viral and anti-bacterial ingredients. Think roses for dry, weather-beaten skin too.  Really! We’re all, young and old, in need of some skin protection in this extremely cold winter weather.  Add to this blasting furnaces and dry indoors, and anyone’s skin can look grim no matter what the age.  Roses to the rescue!

4. Vitamin C Glucoside.  Think tart refreshing citrus!  Its brightening power and collagen stimulator are just two of its charms.  Another great provider of antioxidants (we need these internally and externally!) Vitamin C Skin Care is an important component of most anti-aging skin care regimens. Topically applied Vitamin C is proven to help protect the skin from photo-damage from sun exposure. Vitamin C taken orally does not have the same skin care benefit – it must be applied directly to the skin.

One more, one more…what to choose… Carrageenan/Irish Moss is an all natural anti-wrinkle miracle ingredient …what about green tea with its above-average antioxidant power?  burdock…..Nope I’m choosing….

5. Borage…don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing boring about its aid in the pursuit of youthful skin. Borage Oil was used in ancient Rome to enhance natural beauty. It was even used by ancient beauties like Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Borage’s composition contains omega acids that are not only beneficial for the skin but are very effective in skin repair. Consider this a green beauty tip via antiquity!

Once again you’re reminded to READ YOUR LABEL! Before you spend a dime, read the listed ingredients and watch for these top 5 to appear. If they don’t, keep looking!  What are your top 5?  Creative criticism and helpful insight wanted!

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I love what I do, creatively and professionally and I wanted to work in an environment that reflected how I lived my life: healthy, concern for the environment, sustainability, education, learning, cruetly-free, and responsibility.  When it comes to hair and body care, I wanted products that are pure and organic, products that me and my clients demanded. Organic hydrating conditioners, sulfate-free shampoos, paraben-free cleansers, non-toxic soy candles, pomades and texturizers made from pure plants and essential oils and vegan lip balms. My businesses are dedicated to procuring products from companies who utilize,  respect and promote organic harvesting and growing. And, of course, all of our products are cruelty-free.

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