Posts tagged No synthetic chemicals

Q and A Series: People, Products and the Health of Our Planet – Interview with Ellery West, CEO of Organic Essence: USDA Certified Organic Body Care Products

For the eleventh interview, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Ellery West CEO of Organic Essence: USDA Certified Organic Body Care Products.

My comment: I met Ellery at the Natural Product Expo in Anaheim, CA when the company was in its infancy and their were still packaging in plastic. The products were always certified organic and of the highest quality. Now they have “stepped it up” in their environmental stewardship and have created the zero waste packaging, made of home compostable packaging that is non-toxic and no plastic leaching from the plastic package into the products and then onto your skin.

Here is what Ellery told me about the new paper packaging: Gail West (VP Creative) and I invented the paper jar in 2008, the lip balm tube followed a few months later.

Here is some info from the home page of Organic Essence that gives you a summary of their mission and what they do: Organic Essence products are USDA certified organic with eco green, biodegradable, home compostable packaging. We use organic oils, botanicals and essential oils which are 3rd party certified to ensure that it’s not just an empty marketing claim. Many of our products are vegan with zero animal testing. Our standards are high and quality is supreme with home compostable packaging as the ultimate goal. We are industry leaders by combining a truly sustainable package with organic, sustainable ingredients.

We think organic body care is…

Better for you
Reduce chemical exposure.
Better for the planet
Reduce chemical exposure.
Better for farmers
Reduce chemical exposure.

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

I like cooking and making body care products, is a similar process. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the skin was thought to be completely inert and impermeable to chemicals that might otherwise enter the body, however we now know many chemicals can get through the skin.

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?

Water purifier, bar soap, knife, functioning satellite phone and a desert island food finding handbook since starving before rescue would bad for your health.

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?

Overpopulation; fewer feet make for a lighter footprint. Immediately we need to become more conscious of our heedless spread of synthetic chemicals, into, onto our bodies and throughout the environment.

Questions #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?

Old fashioned, natural bar soap that has been made without synthetic fragrances and colorants would make a good start because the amount of exposure we get from washing our hands with detergent ‘soaps’. Don’t use hair dyes, fingernail polish and nano-particle titanium and zinc oxide sun blocks.

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?

Using leave-on-the-skin products that contain synthetic chemicals isn’t acceptable for people who have taken responsibility of their own, and their family’s health. Our mission is to produce organically certified body care products that lack synthetic chemicals and to make them available in packages that don’t contaminate the product with synthetic chemicals that leach from their plastic packaging.

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

I hope that as a species we can properly account for the indirect, environmental costs for our way of life. We don’t want to steal from other people via the environment and through time. I also dream that we as a people become fully conscious of the potential harm we pass on to our progeny via our own synthetic chemical exposure.

Question #7: Who is your greatest hero and why?

Rachael Carson, since waking people up to the environment is hero-worthy.

To read more about this company and all their great products, go to:

To check out my video review of their products, go to:

Organic Essence - in plastic packaging - Lotion to Go (no longer available) and Lemongrass Mint Organic Shea Cream

Organic Essence – in plastic packaging – Lotion to Go (no longer available) and Lemongrass Mint Organic Shea Cream

Raspberry, Mint, Vanilla and Almond Organic Lip Balms in Eco Tube/Zero Waste Packaging

Raspberry, Mint, Vanilla and Almond Organic Lip Balms in Eco Tube/Zero Waste Packaging

Organic Shea Cream in Grapefruit Scent and Organic Essence Organic Confidence™ Relentless All-Day Deodorant in Coconut Scent with Zero Waste Packaging

Organic Shea Cream in Grapefruit Scent and Organic Essence Organic Confidence™ Relentless All-Day Deodorant in Coconut Scent with Zero Waste Packaging

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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 – Lily Organics: 100% Pure Organic Cruelty-Free Skincare Part II

Lily Organics Skincare in business since 1986

I want to again thank Christy for providing me with some other sample products to test out and review. If you want to read the first review, you can do so by going to September 2, 2012 post. Of course, I am already thrilled with the products from Lily Organics that I’ve been using as they are pure, natural and smell like a fresh bouquet of organic flowers. If you have not as yet tried their skincare, I highly recommend you get some of their trial size products. I don’t get any ‘kickbacks’ for promoting them nor do I expect any. I approached Lily Organics because they ‘fit’ my extremely high standards for products that I would use on my skin (which ultimately gets absorbed right into you bloodstream through your pores). The integrity and commitment of the owner has made a great impression on me and is commendable. Please read more about Lily on the company website – link on the right-hand side of this page under the column Blogroll.

I tried the Kukui Sensitive Facial Oil Treatment – it is unscented and certified organic. I used it as a facial moisterizer instead of the Seven Facial Rejuvenating Oil Treatment. It is very concentrated, so a little goes a long way. I used it on my face and neck both during the day and at night before bed. I always apply it while my face is still wet after using the Organic Rose Facial Toner as the oil absorbs better into the skin (again, please check back to the first post I did on this company to see my skin care regimen when using their products). If you have sensitive skin or simply prefer a product without a scent this would work well for you.

I wanted to know more about Kukui nut oil, so I did some ‘googling’ and found out as follows from Wikipedia: Candlenut oil or kukui nut oil is extracted from the nut of the Aleurites moluccana, the candlenut or kuku’i. The candlenut originates in Hawai’i. The word kukui means “enlightened” in Hawai’ian. The oil contains 19% oleic acid, 41% linoleic acid, and less than 27% linolenic acid. Candlenut oil is light yellow, with an amber tint, and has a shelf life of 6-8 months. Historically, it has been valued as an emollient, and is currently used primarily in skin care products. Kukui Nut oil absorbs into your skin quickly and easily without blocking skin pores. The company, Mountain Rose Herbs (I highly recommend their products as they are of the highest quality) also mentions that this oil is good for the following: Burns – including: sunburn, windburn, radiation burns, and heat induced burns, eczema, chapped skin, mature and prematurely aged skin, dry skin conditions, psoriasis, acne, scars, lesions, dry hair and scalp. There are many other sites that have more info on this oil, so please do some of your own research if you are interested. My personal feelings is that the oil worked well to nourish and moisturize my skin without feeling greasy. It was ok not having a scent either, although their other scented products are only made with pure essential oils, flowers and herbs.

The other product I tried was the Organic Moisture Mist. I spray it on after I apply the oil treatment and moisturizer to my face and neck. I love the refreshing feeling it leaves on my skin. The ylang ylang scent stands out for me the most. I also spray it on during the day to hydrate my skin and as a pick-me-up. When you breathe in the scents in a product that you spray on your face/body or smell on someone else, your lungs uptake it and if it is ‘chemically’ enhanced, I would start coughing because I can’t handle anything that isn’t pure. If someone walks by and has perfume/cologne on that is unnatural, I cover my mouth and nose and may also spit to get it out of my system. My body has gotten so clean that it has a sensitivity to most things that are toxic, especially when it comes to smell/scent – such as cigarette smoke, detergents, leaf blowers, etc. That is why I am so thrilled to have found Lily Organics and will continue using their products and recommending them to others.

Check out their website – Lily Organics – for information and to purchase their products – scroll down to the column on the right-hand side of this page titled Blogroll. The skincare products are handmade in small batches and may take longer to receive, so be patient, it is worth the wait!

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 – Lily Organics: 100% Pure Organic Cruelty-Free Skin Care

Lily Organics Skin Care – in business since 1986

I first met Lily at the Expo West in Anaheim a few years ago and I didn’t realize what an Exceptional woman she is and all the wonderful community work she does,(you can read more about her on the website, specifically the About Us tab and click on it twice)besides running the only organic skin care company in the world that is a USDA certified organic grower. That is an amazing accomplishment considering all it takes to be certified by the USDA. They also get audited to make sure everything they do is “truly” organic.

I took some literature about the company, but didn’t really persue getting any products. Boy was I sorry 😦 I didn’t at the time. Lily has been in business for 26 years producing some of the best products on the market. I am always looking/researching to share with the public the best and the purest out there. I do not make any compromises ever. I don’t use “crap,” so why would I want others to! If it doesn’t live up to my extremely high standards, I would even consider trying the product(s). I am a voracious reader of ingredients and have studied for many years what is truly pure. I can look at a bottle, package, can, etc and tell you in mere seconds if it is good for you or not. I am that efficient and that good! I am not trying to brag, I have simply done my homework.

During the most recent Expo West this past March, I took a card, knowing I wanted to test out the products myself and write a review about it. Thanks to Christy, the media and PR lady, I was able to get some to try. What is so awesome about this company, is that they make fresh batches of their products on a regular basis and don’t have them sitting on a shelf for months. So when you order, be patient because it may take a little longer to receive then you thought, but, honestly it is worth the wait.

I decided to try out a trial size kit, specifically the Dry/Mature Kit as I am not 21 anymore, but truly feel and look like a kid! I received it on August 28th and have been using it every day since. It comes in a nice pouch you can reuse or takes the products with you when you travel. There is also an instruction sheet on using the products, which is very helpful. There were five different products in the kit and I will go through each one and share my thoughts with you. First, in general, all the products smell so fresh and alive and if you would “accidentally” swallow some, no harm would come to you, as opposed to those from other companies that may even have a warning label – Harmful if swallowed – that you need to contact the Poison Control Center if you do so. If that is the case, why would you want to put it on your skin! The skin is your largest organ and gets absorbed directly into your bloodstream and can harm you internally.

I will now share my opinion on each product. First, the Rejuvenating Enzyme Mask. When I opened the container it smelled like honey and is the first ingredient in the product. I used it daily in the mornings and rubbed it over my entire face and neck, leaving it on for 30 minutes. Some of it seemed to drip into my mouth, but I didn’t mind tasting the yummy flavor! I loved how it felt on my skin and could feel the live enzymes in the pineapple and papaya, doing their “work” to exfoliate and stimulate my skin to create new cells. I can attest to seeing a difference in my skin from using it. One thing to note, is that you will use it up faster then some of the other samples. I also use a facial skin brush daily to exfoliate and the combination is very effective (you can find out about the skin brushes and other products from the website of Tonya Zavasta from the picture link I have on the right-hand side of the blog page). After I wash my face, I then use the Organic Rose Facial Toner. I put some on an organic cotton ball and rub it on my entire face and neck. I love the rose scent, as I am a Big Fan of the flower. It feels very hydrating to the skin and also keeps it moist and supple. The trial size toner also does not last as long as the other products in this kit.

After using the toner, I then apply the moisturizers. First I put on the Seven Facial Rejuvenating Oil Treatment all over my face and neck, which has seven different oils that are great for the skin and help to reduce wrinkles. Next, I apply the Organic Moisturizing Cream all over my face and neck. It has lots of wonderful oils and herbs that help to balance the skin and protect it from the elements. A little goes a long way, so you only need a small amount of both of these moisturizers. At night, I use the Nourishing Facial Cleanser rubbing it all over my face and neck. The rosemary essential oil stands out for me more so then any of the other ingredients. It works very well to clean the face without drying -there is no alcohol in this product, which is very drying to the skin. Next, I use the Organic Rose Facial Toner which I wrote about above. Finally I use the two moisturizers that I wrote about above before going to bed.

All the products have exceeded my expectations for purity and integrity. I highly recommend that you check out the products on the website and try them out. You will not be disappointed. I give you my seal of approval! You can click on a link to the site by scrolling down the right-hand side of this page under the title 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.

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