Category Archives: nails

Additional Ingredients I’m Avoiding

In my first post on ingredients to avoid, I mentioned parabens and sulfates.  Here are two more ingredients I’m trying to avoid or use sparingly and some reasons why.

Silicone (and other “cones”)  Continue reading


Zoya Dannii with Sally Hansen Crackle in Antiqued Gold

Zoya Dannii alone

with Sally Hansen Crackle in Antiqued Gold (indoors)  Continue reading

July Birchbox

Birchbox had a really special treat for us in July.  This month’s picks are all personally selected by designer Cynthia Rowley and even the outside of the box is cute!

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June Birchbox & Pi Phi Convention in Orlando!

This month’s box is all about travel!  Here’s what the company has to say about it:

We’ve got a serious case of wanderlust — we’re dreaming of tropical isles with deserted white sand beaches and exotic cities filled with colorful bazaars. Is it any surprise that this month’s box is all about travel? We’re excited to share our favorite vacation-ready products and jetsetter tips.

This theme couldn’t have come at a better time because tomorrow I’m headed to Florida for 5 days!  I’ll tell you more about that later 🙂  So, without further ado, I bring you the June Birchbox

**warning – pic heavy & a video too**

group shot

Kate Spade Twirl perfume – this flirty scent feels carefree and joyful

Laura Geller Baked Blush N’ Brighten in Honey Dipped – dust your cheeks or use the lighter shades as a highlighter (FULL SIZE! a $29.50 value!!)

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April’s Very Green Birchbox

Better late than never, right?  Here are the contents of the Birchbox sent in April…

And now individually:

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Ingredients I’m Avoiding

Below are descriptions of two of the ingredients I am trying to avoid or use very minimally.  As you can see, there are various health concerns associated with each one and I believe that any small step I can take to limit my exposure to these chemicals is worth it to me.


Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.

Their efficacy as preservatives, in combination with their low cost, the long history of their use, and the inefficacy of natural alternatives like grapefruit seed extract,[1] probably explains why parabens are so commonplace. They are becoming increasingly controversial, however, because they have been found in high concentrations in breast cancer tumors. [2] Parabens have also displayed the ability to weakly mimic estrogen (a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancer).[2] No causal link between parabens and cancer has been established, however.[3]

-from Wikipedia


Both Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and its close relative Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to “foam up”. Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants.

In fact, SLES is commonly contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen.

A report published in the Journal of The American College of Toxicology in 1983 showed that concentrations as low as 0.5% could cause irritation and concentrations of 10-30% caused skin corrosion and severe irritation.

In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, sodium lauryl sulfate also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

Perhaps most worryingly, SLS is also absorbed into the body from skin application. Once it has been absorbed, one of the main effects of sodium lauryl sulfate is to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.

-from Natural Health Information Centre

More SLS information –

Are you aware of a lot of the ingredients in your beauty products?  Is there anything you try to avoid?

Safer Cosmetics

Have you seen the Story of Cosmetics video yet? If not, please take a few minutes to watch it below.

Surprised? So was I. Annie Leonard’s message in the video shocked me and made me really think twice about the products I expose myself to.  Personally, my family has been affected by cancer more than once.  Both of my parents have had “run in’s” with skin cancer and my mom later passed away from breast cancer.  Because of this (and other reasons mentioned in the video) I have chosen to reduce the amount of toxins, chemicals, and artificial fragrances I expose myself to.

This will obviously affect this blog as well.  I have already changed the name of the blog from “Makeup, Beauty, and Gossip” to “Beauty Lite”.  I think that more accurately captures the vibe of what it will be about.  I am going to be blogging about my transition from using beauty products and cosmetics full of toxins to more pure products.  I can’t guarantee there won’t be fumbles and missteps along the way, that’s just all part of the journey, and I really hope you’ll join me.  Thank you!

Want to know more?

Excellent LA Times article

Annie Leonard: Why We Made “The Story of Stuff”

What can you do to help?

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 – send an email to Congress, I did!