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I know a lot of members here at NaturallyCurly are interested in “greening” up their lives. You probably use natural cleaners and soaps around the house, recognizing that they might be better for your children and/or pets as well as the environment. A growing number of companies are developing products that will allow you to go green for your personal care and beauty regimens, too.

One of the first things you have to do is figure out which products actually are what they claim to be, and whether they are right for you. For example, years ago I had a facial with products that were presented as “all natural." What I didn’t know was that some of the ingredients used in the products put on my face were tree bark extracts. And I am violently allergic to trees.

I think you can guess what happened next!

The first rule of “natural” skin care is that it doesn’t mean it’s automatically good for you."

The second rule is that just because the company markets it to you as “natural," that doesn’t mean it really is. This is because there are no standards set by the FDA in the United States regulating what can and cannot be sold using natural as a descriptor. Their only requirement is that a product be safe for its intended use.

Fortunately, the Natural Products Association (founded in 1934) is working to develop product standards in order to assure customers that the products they are buying truly are natural. By natural, they mean that they contain ingredients that come from a renewable resource found in nature and that there are no petroleum compounds, residues of heavy metals or other contaminants “in excess of tolerances set by the FDA or EPA”. (For more information, visit www.naturalproductsassoc.org)

A “natural seal” will appear on products that meet the standards of the NPA; which currently only apply to a select few products of Burt’s Bees.

Founded in 1984, Burt’s Bees is one of the largest natural personal care companies in the world. Currently a division of Clorox, it is also one of the “greenest” companies in the world in terms of carbon footprint. Not only is almost all packaging made of recycled materials, they are also recyclable themselves; and even biodegradable, as with their soap wrappers made of limestone. Printing is done with water-based soy ink. The production facility itself is chemical-free, using steam to clean and recycling water. In an interview with Toronto Life Fashion in May 2008, CEO John Replogle said that the company aims to get to zero waste by 2010.

Some other companies that make products attempting to live up to the standards set by Burt’s Bees are:

Origins (there is now Origins Organics)

Nature Girl/Rich Hippie

Ren

Pangea Organics - h

Kiss My Face

Physicians Formula Organics (with enviro-friendly packaging) — at drugstores everwhere

Green Beaver (yes, it IS Canadian!)

While some “green” products are more expensive than everything else out there, the benefits to you, your family and Mother Earth can be well worth the cost!

Canadians, Americans and New Zealanders—don’t forget to vote in your upcoming federal elections. You might want to ask your local candidates about green issues.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month—while current research indicates that self-examination often finds benign lumps that cause anxiety more often than they find cancer, breast cancer organizations around the world are now encouraging women to be “breast aware”. Learn the topography of your breasts visually and manually, and don’t be afraid to bring changes to your doctor’s attention.

Think Pink—and donate what you can to cancer research—the life you save could be your own!



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