Posts tagged fair trade

Company Review: S.W. Basics of Brooklyn – Truly All-Natural Sustainable Skincare, Part 2

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn – Truly All-Natural Sustainable Skincare, Part 2 in business since 2009 under the name “Sprout Wellness” and the current brand name since November 2012

For part 1 of my review of this company and products click on this link:

I was thrilled to hear from MacKenzie, the media gal, a couple of months ago via this blog to do another product review and also offer you an exclusive sale that expires on Wednesday night 11/20/2013, so make sure to read this post to the bottom of the page.

This company has taken a strong stance in what ingredients they use in their products and refuse to ever use any synthetic chemicals, toxic fragrances or cheap fillers. If you eat the best organic foods, you ought to most definitely do the same for your skin! The skin absorbs whatever you put on it immediately with no barrier directly/express into the bloodstream. Then if the body recognizes it as an “invader” or foreign substance, that is when the immune system kicks in, in an accelerated fashion and the “army” of antibodies has to come in to destroy what it does not like.

There is no logical explanation to keep taxing the immune system and is better to keep it calm and balanced/equilibrium. The immune system ought to be reserved for when it is absolutely necessary, why add “fuel to the fire!” It is like when you see a sign that says, “Danger! Do not enter! Minefield!” Are you going to be a “hotshot” and think that I know how to get around them and will be ok? Why put yourself in harm’s way for no reason, when you have already been warned of the likelihood to be injured? Now, you ought to understand what I mean!

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to change what you put on your skin and do the research to find the best and cleanest products. Since I have had the opportunity to reviews products and companies with high integrity and purity, you can feel confident that I am not out to sell you “a bill of goods.” I would not ever even consider reviewing a product before I research it and make sure it meets my incessant hardcore standards. This company. S.W. Basics of Brooklyn is without a doubt, one of those companies!

Here are the products I review for this post.

Eco Cotton Rounds

What an awesome idea for a product! There are enough cotton balls and rounds being sold, even though there are certified organic ones, too, they still get disposed of in the trash (they are no compostable or biodegradable ones that I am aware of). This company found a mother-daughter team that made these organic, unbleached reusable cotton rounds. They are nice and thick and very absorbent. I use it to apply toner and can also be for applying cleanser, makeup remover, etc. After use, put them in the washing machine in the little laundry bag that comes with the product. Now you will save time and money (because you do not have to drive to the store and keep buying new cotton balls/rounds) and also do something wonderful for the environment (less being disposed into the landfill). They also feel very soft against the skin (maybe next, the company will think about some other new product(s) using that same organic cotton, like a hand towel or wash cloth because it is such great quality and the best natural material).


Before I try any product on my skin, I always like to smell it. First, I read the contents, of course and with this company, there is no doubt about the purity of the ingredients (I would say that if S.W. Basic of Brooklyn, sent me a new product that had no label on it to try out before it goes to market I would not need to ask what is in it because I see their track record with all their products, so far – that is a bold statement to make and I will stand by it and take the dare/challenge, if the company want me to prove that they are truly natural by doing a “blind” product testing, I’m game! I will also record a video while doing it and try to figure out what are the ingredients – don’t forget everything is not more then 5 ingredients, so chances are I may figure some/all of them out).

This cream smelled very yummy, like coconut butter. It has only 3 ingredients: shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil. Since it does not use any water it can penetrate deep into the skin and stays there without evaporating. The shea butter is wild harvested from a Fair Trade women’s cooperative in Ghana.

When I applied it to my face, it was very thick, rich and concentrated, so I did not need to use much. These ingredients are very pure and do not clog your pores, like other commercially prepared products that “claim” they are natural and put it on their label (What a joke! Usually they have a list of ingredients a mile long and you can not pronounce them and maybe there is a drop of something that is quasi-natural because it actually is chemically derived).

Body Oil scented with lemongrass essential oil

I mentioned above that I like to smell products (one of my 5 senses, I like to use) and I also am very visual (using my sense of sight). I say this about the body oil because when I looked at the bottle it has such a beautiful vibrant and lively color. It is a deep rich yellow with a slight greenish undertone. Before I even opened the bottle, I felt nourished simply by the sight of it. Then when I took a whiff of it, the aroma was invigorating. It is also aromatherapeutic (free added bonus!) when you inhale the natural essential oils through your nasal passages.

I know they have a few different versions of the body oil that are scented and they must have known telepathically (ok, maybe I am “pushing the envelope” here, so play along and humor me!) that the scent of lemongrass takes me to an other world. A world that is filled with clean oxygen-rich air, sunshine, happiness, peace, serenity, rolling hills/mountains with fresh natural spring water free-flowing, fragrant flowers and herbs growing wild, tall grasses that I can run through and an abundance of organic wild berries that I can pick and eat to my hearts delight (I hope you enjoyed this visual escape/experience/journey I took you on simply from smelling this product).

Now, lets get back to the product. This body oil is great when you come out of the shower and best to put on your skin when it is still wet to lock in the moisture. It is made with sesame oil, grapeseed oil and avocado oil (also scented versions with either clove, peppermint or lemongrass). I loved how light it is going on, absorbed into my skin and made it feel soft and smooth.

Thanks to Adina, Adam and MacKenzie for the opportunity to do another review and I hope to do more in near future!

Please check out their website for more information about all the skincare products and their fantastic story. You can also Scroll down this page and on right-hand side you will find the link there, under the column titled Blogroll.

The company is offering an exclusive sale on their website to my blog viewers so don’t delay, especially if you have some holiday gifts in mind. Anything you buy from this company is a good investment for the health of you skin and your body (as the skin is the largest organ and whatever we put on the surface gets absorbed into the body immediately!). The code below is for 15% off products and will be good for ONLY 3 days, until Wednesday, November 20th 2013 at 11:59pm EST on the button.


I also did a video review on my YouTube channel:
Subscribe to my youtube channel if you have a Gmail, Google+, Picasa, YouTube, Orkut or Google Chrome account and then you can also leave a comment and like my videos.

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this, but I did receive a sample of the product(s). These are strictly my opinions. I only review products that I, myself would use and purchase.

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Company Review: S.W. Basics of Brooklyn – Truly All-Natural Sustainable Skincare, Part 1

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn: Truly All-Natural Sustainable Skincare, Part 1 in business since 2009 under the name “Sprout Wellness” and the current brand name since November 2012

I met Adam Poor, VP of S.W. Basics of Brooklyn at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim during the month of March 2013. The company was introducing their products at the Organic Marketplace (features only certified organic products). I am always searching for the best products that are also of the highest quality and integrity. I don’t want you, my readers, to settle either. I hope you do your research as diligently as I do before you shop for any and all products you use – food, household, body and skincare. If you are lazy, they you came to the right place because I do the “legwork” for you. When I find a product I don’t simply use it because the company makes the “claim” that it is healthy, natural, good for me. Those words are used too commonly and matter-of-factly in the world today and have lost their true meaning (back in the day products were made by your grandmother/great-grandmother from natural ingredients you had in home like oils, vinegar, beeswax, essential oils, herbs, flowers, etc). I research the ingredients used, check out there site, talk to them in person/on the phone and them I am ready to test it out for myself if it meets my “hyper-high” standards of purity, integrity and environmental consciousness.

You may say, it is nice to talk about this, but are there really companies creating/producing products that are truly natural? Yes, there are! There are those people who are “fed up” with all the “garbage” sold in the supermarkets, drug stores, retailers and even health food stores (sad 😦 to say, they aren’t immune from it and sell products that used to be authentic, but now have “sold out” to BIG companies that are only looking for profits as their “bottom line!”)

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn is definitely in the category of doing it right! They only use 5 or less ingredients in all their products. On top of that, they are organic, fair trade, American-made, ingredients sourced from small family farms, made from scratch without synthetics or cheap fillers. You get the whole potent product that isn’t watered down. Too many products claim to have in them, for example, an essential oil and either has a very minuscule amount in it or is a chemical derivative and doesn’t even ever resemble the natural ingredient in smell or look. To put the “icing on the cake,” they even have the “nerve/chutzpah” to put a beautiful picture on the bottle/container of the herb used to create the essential oil to trick the consumer/customer to believe it has that ingredient in it. Most of the time, if you took it to a chemist to analyze, there may not even be a trace of what they claim. I wish there was more “police-ing” of the health and beauty industry to filter out all the crap from what is truly made with integrity and care for the people and the planet.

Adam was nice enough to send me the 4 varieties/flavors of the beeswax lip balms to test out and review on my blog. As I said before, their products are made with 5 natural ingredients or less and that holds true for there lip balms, as well. If you don’t believe me (ok, so if you are a new follower, you may be skeptical and if you are a “regular,” then you know I am not fooling you because you have probably already tried other products I recommended in my posts), then check the website for yourself (link is on the right-hand side of the page under the column titled Blogroll.

Each one of the lip balms has a distinct taste to it. Yes, that is what I said! Remember when you put any lip gloss, lipstick or lip balm on your lips, ultimately you will taste it in your mouth from licking your lips or after you bite into some food while it is still on. If you are eating the healthiest and best organic food, why would you want to also “consume”chemicals by way of what you put on your lips? Maybe you never thought of that, but it is absolutely true! You don’t have to worry when you use these lip balms, as they will not harm you.

The most basic of the 4 lip balms, is the Cocoa variety that only had 3 ingredients. It goes on smooth and has a silky feel. I can smell (yes, there is the added benefit of aromatherapy when you breathe in the ingredients) the cocoa butter. It brings back memories of when you could detect the aroma at the beach as people slathered it on their bodies. With all 4 varieties, my lips stay moist and healthy. The next flavor, Peppermint has 4 ingredients and makes my lips tingle – it lasts for a while so enjoy the sensation. It perks you up, too when you breathe in the peppermint. It doesn’t have that “fake” unnatural scent. I know because I am a vegan/raw food chef and use lots of fresh herbs to add flavor and accent to my dishes. The third flavor, Citrus has 5 ingredients and I can smell the citrus immediately. Again, their is the aromatherapeutic affect (you can put it on your lips and also smell it!) which you may not realize. This is one of my favorites. I will give you the RVG (Rawsome Vegan Gal)rating at the end. The final one is, Cinnamon that also has 5 ingredients. As soon as I take the cap off of it, I can smell the cardamom. It has a strong and powerfully distinct aroma.

The RVG Rating (Rawsome Vegan Gal) for the four lip balms (in order of like – Disclaimer: this may be different then on my YouTube video, as I made that first and don’t remember what I said 😉

1- COCOA: I like the simplicity of ingredients, subtle flavor and the creamy texture
2- CITRUS: I love citrus and it is also aromatherapeutic – added bonus
3- PEPPERMINT: Nice tingle, smell isn’t offensive or overbearing and it perks you up
4- CINNAMON: Strong aroma and to me has a more masculine appeal

Please check out their website for more information about all the skincare products and their fantastic story. Scroll down this page and on right-hand side you will find the link under the column titled Blogroll.

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this, but I did receive a sample of the product(s). These are strictly my opinions. I only review products that I, myself would use and purchase.

I also did a video review
and had FUN doing it and my disclaimer/preface is: “don’t mind my manners” and I repeat it in the video, as well (you’ll see why). You can check out my YouTube channel for this and other videos:

Subscribe to my youtube channel if you have a Gmail, Google+, Picasa, YouTube, Orkut or Google Chrome account and then you can also leave a comment and like my videos.

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Company Review – Toockies: Hand-Knit Organic Cotton Housewares

Toockies-Hand Knit Organic Cotton Housewares in business since 2008

I met Anna Marie, the CEO of Sinko Corp., who distributes Toockies, at the annual Expo West in Anaheim during the month of March 2013 (the largest trade show in the world for the Natural Product Industry). She had a booth at the Organic Marketplace (features only certified organic products) and displayed her products. I was intrigued to see these organic cotton housewares and wanted to know more. She told me more about the products and I took a brochure and business card so I could follow up in the future. I have never seen any products like this anywhere!

I gathered a lot of information, brochures and samples of products at the expo. I am very discriminating and discerning to choose only what I know is the healthiest, purest and of the highest integrity. If I am going to test the product myself it has to abide by my standards. I am not willing to compromise and that is why I ONLY share with my readers what I has researched to be the best. It is very easy to just choose anything and just “settle.” I don’t want the cheapest/most expensive products if they are not good for me. It is QUALITY that I am looking for in all that I use/consume – food, household products, personal care, etc.

I contacted Anna Marie and she was kind enough to agree to a Q & A – which has already been posted to my blog She also send me some products for review.

Great discount offered on all Toockies products till 12/31/13. Read Below!

The first product I used was the Hand Knit Dish Cloths. They are hand knit of 100% organic cotton by a group of poor women in Calcutta, India so they can earn a living wage. Always machine wash and dry before use and then again after use to disinfect and may become absorbent after many times washing. You can use the cloth to scrub any surfaces in your home and you soak it is water and then ring out as much as possible. I wanted to use it in the kitchen to wipe up around the sink, as the faucet tends to splash all over. I have been using it without soaking it first. Even though it isn’t meant for absorbing water it work fine for me.

Then second product I used was the Circulation Gloves. They are also hand knit of 100% cotton. Again, machine wash and dry before first use. You can use this inside or outside of your bath/shower as a wet and dry scrub. I used it while I was taking a shower and soaked them in water. You can use soap on them, but I just used water. Watch my video to see recommendations for using the gloves. They are great to stimulate circulation and exfoliate the skin.

I am really happy that this company makes great products that are also economical, Eco-ethical, hygienic, offer work for poor women who are now able to sustain themselves and provide a better life for their family. We are not meant to be a “throw away” society, as it is destroying the planet. Reusing these products for many years will help you to avoid the continual disposal of paper towels, loofahs or other scrub cloths (that are not hygienic since they are not cleaned properly after each use).

I emailed Anna Maria as I had some concerns/questions regarding the circulation gloves.

Mindy says:

I used the circulation gloves and washed them before use, of course and put in dryer, too. It takes a lot of heat to dry them, though and I wanted to see about air drying them, instead. After I used them, there was some discoloration on the gloves, probably came off from my skin. Then I washed them again and hung them to dry, but there is a smell that is not so fresh and lovely. I don’t use any harsh detergents to wash. I use a product called soap nuts and is 100 percent pure – more then detergents like seventh generation. I don’t know if you have ever had this issue. I will not use any commercial products for cleaning. Also, the discoloration is still visible on the gloves. What are your thoughts/comments?

Anna Maria’s reply:

Yes, they are raw thick cotton so it does take time to dry them (less over time as the cotton softens). I machine wash and dry and recommend everyone do so as this does get rid of yellowing and smell. A bit of a naturally bleaching agent also helps if yellowing is not going away as quick as you would like. I just add it to the pile of cloths from that day and toss it in. They do yellow if left out for a while but that usually disappears for me when I wash them. I do use a detergent (eco-friendly detergent) in the wash. The smell is from the raw cotton and doesn’t go away unless you machine wash and dry. After a few times in the wash they become softer, take longer to get rid of yellowing and will smell of what every you use on them or wash them with.

The greatest challenge in using this product is changing the way you use your bath scrub product. Most people use a scrubber and then leave it for a couple of days before washing or disposing of it. This is not recommended as it is not very hygienic. This product requires you to be proactive in keeping the products you use on your body clean. Rinsing a cloth in the shower and letting it hang is not clean. Please give them some time and remember to keep them clean. They will last you a very long time and save you time and money. If used as recommended they will keep you from scrubbing dead skin cells back on to your skin giving you a cleaner clean. I hope this helps. If you have any more questions please let me know.

Thanks very much, Anna Marie, this is great information for me and my readers because they may have the same issue when using these products themselves.

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this, but I did receive a sample of the product(s). These are strictly my opinions. I only review products that I, myself would use and purchase.

Enter promo code for a 15% discount if ordering off

Promo Code: RawLife
Active Dates: 10/01/13 – 12/31/13

I have a link to the website product pages that I reviewed in this post.

3 pack scrub cloths:

Circulation Gloves:

Check out my YouTube channel – TheRawsomeVeganGal for video reviews of the products.

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Q & A Series: People, Products and The Health of Our Planet- Toockies – Hand-made Housewares

This Q & A is with Anna Marie Stauss CEO/President of Sinko Corporation – started production of housewares in India the spring of 2008

Great discount offer on Toockies products at the end of this post till 12/31/13.

Question #1: Tell me briefly about yourself and why you decided to get involved in the “health” industry?

I’m not in the health business, per se, but I am in the business of finding full circle sustainable products to bring into your home and to use on your skin. I strongly believe fibers created artifically have an artificial affect to any solution it was intended for.

Question #2: If you were stranded on a desert island and were allowed to take only 5 items with you (they can be food, books or specific products that are all health-related), what would they be and why?

I would take stones that can be struck to create fire. I would take coconut oil for hydration, lubrication and cooking. I would take a Toockies Scrub cloths that is multifunctional to be used as a grip for pulling, pushing or scrubbing anything as well as to hold hot items because they last for such a long time, will protect hands and feet and have so many uses. Disinfectant liquids like Iodine and bandages. Water purification unit for drinking water.

Question #3: What one message do you want to share with the people of this world that is crucial for their ultimate well-being and longevity?

Happiness that comes from simple Joy is a state of mind you can always choose. Find something to laugh about everyday and when you can’t, remember to smile because that is how you choose.

lQuestions #4: If someone could afford to purchase only one product at this moment to start their journey towards better health (food or health-related), what would you recommend and why?

The Magic Bullet blender that creates smoothies out of fresh fruit and vegetables. I’m recommending this type of product because having a spinach and fruit smoothie in the morning has been great for me.

Question #5: Tell me more about your business/company and/or products you offer to the public to help them achieve optimal health and well-being?

Our products are all vintage design hand made housewares, created from 100% organic Cotton or Jute. The benefit of having chemical and synthetic free products in your home that you use on a daily basis to shower, clean, cook and serve food with go well beyond the fact that they are practical, afforable, convenient, reusable, and reliable. Toockies products were made to last and to protect you and our planet from the alternatives while providing a Fair Trade living wage to women who would otherwise have none.

Question #6: What are your hopes/aspirations/dreams for the future health of the people and the planet?

My greatest hope for our health and the health of this planet is that we all find a way to consume less or at least produce less waste.

Question #7: Who is your greatest hero and why?
Mother Teresa is my greatest hero because she listened and acted on her hearts desire.

Question #8: Is there anything else you would like to share with the public?

We are a woman owned company and I would like to add a link to the artisan page on our web site. I want to provide a voice for the women we work with.

Be sure to check out the website.
I will be doing a company review of the products that I will be posting soon.
There will be a special discount offer to my readers coming up for the end of year
holidays so be sure to check back for it.

Enter promo code for a 15% discount if ordering off

Promo Code: RawLife
Active Dates: 10/01/13 – 12/31/13

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