Camille Rose Naturals Not so Natural?

In case you haven’t heard Camille Rose Naturals recently had a class action lawsuit filed against them. The premise of this suit  filed in November 2016, claims that the natural hair care brand has deceptively marketed their products as natural.  I have been a fan of this brand for a few years and in fact have used their products and talked about them on the blog.

 

The products of concern were Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse, Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard, Algae Renew Deep Conditioner Mask, and Coconut Water Penetrating Hair Treatment.  The complainant states that Camille Rose Naturals rinses, conditioners, and hair treatments contain several synthetic ingredients. Of the ingredients in question is stearic acid which is classified as synthetic by federal regulations. According to the (EWG) Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database the overall hazard of this ingredient is low but derived of animal origin. Stearic acid is often used in cosmetics as a cleaning agent or mild surfactant. The other ingredients named in the lawsuit are sorbic acid, a synthetic preservative, tocopherol acetate, a synthetic substance used in pesticide formulations. It is important to mention that all of these ingredients were ranked low concern of toxicity by EWG.

 

I tried doing a specific search for the Camille Rose Naturals brand in the EWG Skin Deep database but nothing has been added yet. I recently discussed how the cosmetics industry should provide non-toxic products for women of color. Even though the natural hair care industry has grown tremendously this does not mean that all of the products that are labeled “natural” actually are in fact non-toxic and or organic. I discussed this on the blog as well.  As consumers you have to be diligent and do your own research. You cannot rely on the FDA or brands to educate you, as the beauty product industry is still unregulated. This means that anyone can use the word natural to market a product. This lawsuit is an example of how something can be labeled as natural and not actually contain all “natural” ingredients. Secondly the term “natural” has never actually been defined. Maybe this will urge the FDA to start actually regulating the use of these terms.

The sad thing about these lawsuits is that they are potentially damaging to small and growing businesses like Camille Rose Naturals. This is not the only beauty brand that uses the term natural in their labeling and marketing. For this lawsuit to gain merit than the majority of the natural hair care industry should be in serious trouble as well. Many natural hair care brands use the term “natural” to refer to women wearing their hair in it’s natural state not referring to the ingredients in the products itself.

Granted these ingredients mentioned in the lawsuit are not 100% plant-based but the potential of causing serious harm or concern to a persons health is low. This is why I continue to use these products and discuss them on my platform. Although none of the Camille Rose products mentioned in the lawsuit are what I personally use. If you have concerns with these ingredients I suggest you do conduct your own research and make the best decision for your health concerns.

 

Weigh in on your thoughts. Do you feel this lawsuit has any merit? Have you used Camille Rose Naturals products before? If so is this a concern for you?

Best Natural Foundation for Women of Color

Finding the perfect shade match can be a challenge especially if you are a woman with a darker skin tone. The beauty industry as a whole doesn’t always oblige to darker hues. Most cosmetic companies barely have any shades to match darker complexions. After going green with my beauty routine I notice that it was even harder to find a natural cosmetic brand that actually carried a foundation shade that suited me. I recently received a request on Instagram for a list of cosmetic brands that are women of color friendly. So here’s a list of green beauty brands that are the best for women of color:

 

Plain Jane Beauty: Not to sound bias but this brand is hands down one of my favorites when it comes to foundations. Lake Louise founded this company on the premise of creating a natural cosmetics brands that can match any complexion from olive to deep mahogany.

 

Alima Pure: Specialize in all natural mineral makeup. The color range is like no other. Their website has a great color matching tool and sample kit that includes 10 samples of their satin matte foundation. Their foundations are vegan and gluten free.

 

Modern Minerals: Strives to formulate makeup with the most natural ingredients possible. The founder Diane wanted to create a line of cosmetics that inspire conscious beauty, positivity, and presence. All of their makeup is vegan and cruelty free. You can also purchase small travel size foundations for only $2.

 

BLAC Minerals: Cosmetics brand that produces all natural makeup for women of color. Founded by a black woman, Merced Saint Boyce wanted to create natural makeup that is powered by healthy-skin loving ingredients. Their shade options are amazingly in depth, from light to deep dark. You can also purchase sample sizes.

 

Law of Nature Cosmetics: Organic makeup that is all natural and gluten free formulated for women of color. They carry creme foundation and mineral powder. 91% organic with no parabens, talc, mineral oil, or animal by products.

 

Gabriel Cosmetics: Offers organic skincare and vegan & gluten free cosmetics. Created to bring out a woman’s natural existing beauty. The moisturizing liquid foundation shade offers a small variety of various deep skin tones. Their Zuzu Luxe oil-free foundation comes in shades that go from a honey complexion to deep dark.

Natural vs. Organic vs. Cruelty Free vs. Vegan

So if you’re new to this world of green living I’m sure you’ve heard of the terms organic, vegan, and cruelty free. But maybe you’re not sure what this all means and what you should be looking out for. It can get confusing when you’re trying to make healthy purchasing decisions. I’m here to help clear up any misconceptions and equip you with the knowledge and understanding that may make it a little easier.

Now that all these terms are trending you are seeing them everywhere. It’s hard to come by a product and not see it labeled as natural, organic, vegan, non-GMO, or something along those lines. Trying to decipher between all these labels and chose the one that best suits you can be a daunting task. So overwhelming that it’s tempting to give up and just go the most economical option that makes you feel safest. Hopefully I can clear up a lot of common misconceptions and give you some practical knowledge so that you feel confident the next time you’re strolling through the isles of your local grocer.

 

“Natural”- People often assume if a product is natural then that means it’s also organic however this is false. The term natural is often used by manufactures as a marketing ploy to make you think the product doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. There is no regulation from the FDA about labeling a product as “natural”. This means that anyone can use that term without any stipulation. This is also why it is important to read your ingredient list and labels carefully. Something labeled as “natural” can contain artificial ingredients, pesticides, hormones, and other additives. Some manufacturers cover this by including one ingredient that is natural and or plant based. Currently the only terms that are regulated are USDA Organic, Cruelty Free, and Non-GMO.

Source: usda.gov

Organic- The term organic basically means to be derived from living matter. Simply stated organic means to be grown or produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic ingredients, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms. The easiest way to tell if a product is organic is to look for the USDA seal. The USDA Organic Program is a government-approved certifier that takes the manufacturer through a rigorous process that examines the farming practices the ingredient or animal derived from. Unlike the term “natural” only organic offers government-backed assurance that products are grown and processed without the use of toxic chemicals, antibiotics, or synthetic growth hormones.

Source: peta.org

Cruelty Free & Vegan Cruelty free is means that no ingredients in the product were tested on animals. Vegan means that the product does not contain any animal ingredients. Just because something is cruelty free doesn’t automatically mean that it’s free of animal derived substances, even if they don’t appear in the final product. The most common cruelty free & vegan label is verified by PETA; People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. You’ll know by the bunny symbol in the logo. When a product has this label a company or manufacturer is agreeing not conduct or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and do not contain any animal by-products. PETA requires companies to sign a statement of assurance and they pay to license the cruelty free bunny logo on the label.

Source: nongmoproject.org

Non-GMO- This labeling is something fairly new seen on the market. The Non-GMO Project was founded in 2005 as a non profit organization aiming to provide labeling for products that did not contain any genetically modified organisms. In case you’re not familiar with the term GMO essential it’s an organism that has had it’s DNA altered or modified in some way. In common terms it’s when scientists get involved to create or duplicate something derived from nature, or in others words trying to recreate nature through genetic engineering. The mission of the Non-GMO project is to preserve and build sources of Non-GMO products and educate consumers. Currently in the US the most common items that are genetically modified are soy and corn. This is because of the mass production, feeding, and use for agriculture purposes. As a general rule of thumb if you are eating or using a product that derives from corn or soy make sure that it has the Non-GMO Product or USDA Organic label on it. For meats and dairy look for that label as well or animals that are 100% grass fed or pasture-fed.

 

Here are some final tips and food for thought. When shopping look for any of the afore mentioned labels. Another work around is to shop at your local farmers markets. You’re more likely to find non-GMO food from local farmers. Most large industrial farms use some form of GMO. I love farmers markets because not only are you supporting small businesses in your community but you can talk to the famers directly and ask them questions about their farming practices.

 

Do you have any tips? Please share them in the comments below.

Lack of Healthy Beauty options for Black Women

Recently the Environmental Working Group did a study on the market for black cosmetics. According to the studies less than 25% of products marketed to black women score low in potentially dangerous hazardous ingredients. This means that the majority of products currently on the market targeted at black women contain ingredients that can potentially cause serious harm to our health. They also updated their Skin Deep database to include over 1,000 products marketed to black women. This is awesome news because now you can check the hazardous levels of the products you probably use regularly.

I’ve been pushing the green lifestyle for a while now and it amazes me just how much women of color are still not aware. Even in my everyday life I meet women who have no idea that their personal care products are not safe. The looks on faces is one of shock and astonishment when I proceed to tell them that they cannot trust crafty marketing or even the government for that matter when it comes to beauty product shopping. Just a few days ago I was having a conversation with a black woman from my church about Secret deodorant. I stopped using traditional deodorant and actually go without most days. I wrote an article on the blog discussing the dangers of using traditional deodorant and natural alternatives. To sum it up I explained to this woman that she should stop using Secret deodorant because of the aluminum and other carcinogens that are linked to breast cancer and other diseases. Thankfully her response was one of gratitude as if I saved her life. In actuality I pretty much did in the long run.

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Even though I’m still able to educate people I come in contact with in person and online via this blog; what that conversation and EWG’s report tells me is that there is still more work to be done. Research has mostly focused on chemical hair straighteners for black women and girls. As a woman sporting her natural hair, I think it’s awesome how the natural hair movement has exploded. However it’s bigger than just our hair. While it’s great that we are embracing our curls and staying away from parabens and sulfates in our hair products, what about our lipsticks, lotions, etc.?? And truth be told not even all the natural hair products are actually “natural”. You still have to read your labels and be cautious when purchasing those items as well. It’s sad that it feels like you need a degree in chemistry in order to buy beauty products but unfortunately until better regulation is in place this is what we have to do. We have to continue to educate ourselves about the ingredients in everything that we use.

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image from ewg.org

As I look around at the various blogs, events, and social media platforms I don’t really see a wealth of information about being conscious when it comes to every other beauty product that is used in the black community aside from our hair. This gives off the message that all we are focused on is our hair. So as long as our hair is slayed then we’re good. Sorry (not sorry) ladies but this is not enough! With black women being the highest on the list of fibroids, infertility, and other health concerns we should be much more prevalent about the practices of our whole body not just hair.

source: ewg.org

source: ewg.org

“This report makes clear the lack of safer alternatives for black women. Demand for these products is increasing and the cosmetics industry needs to provide healthy beauty options for black women” –Women’s Voices for the Earth. This is one of the many reasons why I created my holiday gift guide featuring black owned green beauty brands. While there aren’t as many as others there are still options.

You may be reading this article and thinking; well what can I do about it. Continue to support green beauty bloggers like myself and other organizations such as Women’s Voices for the Earth and Black Women for Wellness. Stay up to date on what hazardous ingredients are by checking websites and databases like Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep and the ThinkDirty app. Think twice before just picking up an item at your local retailer and placing it in your shopping cart. Take the time to read the label, read the ingredients in the product. If you’re not sure what an ingredient is look it up through one of the databases I mentioned. If you see that a product has harmful ingredients start looking for safer alternatives. Start supporting organic natural beauty brands like the ones I mentioned in my holiday gift guide.

Major companies only see and understand money. People always tell me that buying organic or going green is expensive. I admit that yes at times it can be a bit pricier than traditional items. However I believe in the buying power we have. The beauty industry is a trillion dollar business with black women accounting for the majority of that. If more people made conscious decisions when it comes to buying beauty products a lot can change. If you can get companies to stop using sulfates I believe we can push them to create all beauty products without toxic ingredients. Trust me they will take notice of people opting not to buy toxic beauty products when they start losing money.

 

Have you read EWG report? What are your thoughts?

Resource: ewg.org Big Market for Black Cosmetics but less Hazardous Choices Limited 

Khamila is Green and Glam!

 

How long have you been going green with your health and or beauty routine?

I have been going green for about 1-2 years officially or so with my beauty routine. 

 

Why did you decide to go non-toxic & organic and how has it changed your life?

 I actually accidentally slipped into non toxic and organic skincare due to my skin reacting to products from my dermatologist as well as over the counter products. My eczema was flaring up and it was hard to use anything without my skin stinging. I found that coconut oil was soothing for my skin and actually healed my skin faster. I began to ponder if conventional products were irritating my skin and essentially doing nothing for me in terms of healing. I was pretty sold from then on and it’s allowed me to not deal with eczema, skin sensitivity or allergies being triggered . Using non toxic skincare and makeup allows my skin to glow more and seems to help it to heal faster and as a result I can use less makeup. It has also helped me to be more thoughtful about what I purchase as well. 

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What is your go to green beauty product?

Go to Hair: Olive Oil and Whipped Shea Butter 

Go to Body Care: Coconut Oil , Body Scrubs from 100% Pure 

Go to Skin Care: Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Cleanser, 100% Coffee Bean Eye Cream , Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil & makeup Remover, Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub

Go to Makeup: 100% pure Fruit Pigmented Healthy Skin Foundation and Powder, W3ll People Bio Brightener Stick in Moonstone, W3ll People Expressionist Mascara, Jane Iredale Brown eyeliner, I also love the Teri Miyahira Beauty Box Subscription

 

What does going green mean for you?

Going green represents self care to me because I get to choose ingredients that do not harm me. I get to use nontoxic products that heal my skin and doesn’t wreck my skin. I also get to be more mindful about what I use, and am able to choose products that leave a positive imprint on the world.

 

What advice do you have for someone who is new to the idea of going green?

  • Slowly transition into green beauty. Unless you have the budget for it, it will be costly going out and purchasing all new personal products. Instead as your products run out, take note and consider new nontoxic products that you can transition into. 
  • Start following green beauty lovers on social media to be aware of brands, products & their performance. If a product interests you then try reading reviews so that you can make a thoughtful and informed decision on whether to purchase.
  • Always try samples so you can get a feel for the products and shades prior to purchasing. I always advise to shop at businesses with great customer service and return policy because  no matter how well you may research a product it just may not work well for you! 
  • Always try to reach out to a company if you need with finding your shade of foundation and there are no samples. You can usually send them a photo of yourself (bare faced, in the light) which will help them to assess your skin tone and make suggestions.

 

How can we keep up with you?

I can be found on Instagram @greenmilamonster  

Pinterest at @greenmilamonstr 

I am also in the process of building my website which will be announced on my Instagram when complete! 
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