Author Archives: Debi Calabrese

  • Natural Perfumes: A Chemical-Free Fragrance Guide

    CheekyPerfumes often have such sweet, uplifting names...Happy, Heavenly, even Curious. That's why it may come as a surprise that most mass-marketed fragrances are formulated with toxic chemicals—ingredients that give these fragrances staying power or mimic a natural scent. But these ingredients are also linked to a host of health troubles, from asthma to hormone disruption. Here’s what you need to avoid and safe ways to add fragrance to your life.

    Avoid “fragrance” as a labeled ingredient

    This generic term is used by cosmetic and perfume companies and they are not required to disclose what ingredients actually make up their fragrances. Many mass-marketed perfumes include synthetic chemicals that are known allergens and sensitizers (chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, including asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis).

    Avoid phthalates and parabens

    These chemicals are often added to perfume products to increase their staying power on your skin and in the bottle. But they’ve been linked to hormone disruption, breast cancer and reproductive toxicity—especially in teens, since they’re some of the largest consumers of fragranced personal care products.

    Avoid synthetic musk (including Nitro-Musk, Galaxolide and Tonalide)

    Musk is a common scent found in perfumes. Fragrance companies may say it’s a sexy animal scent, but its side effects are decidedly not sexy. Synthetic musk is a toxin that accumulates in our body, especially in fatty tissue and breast milk, and acts as a hormone disrupter.

    Use natural essential oils

    Natural essential oils are pure oils distilled from plants—flowers, leaves or seeds. These oils have distinct aromas like woody, spicy, green, herbal or floral. Here’s what you’ll smell with some of the common scent families.

    Woody or spicy aroma: stimulating, clearing, grounding
    Look for: clove, frankincense, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver
    Try: Pacifica's Sandalwood Perfume Roll-On, a warm, velvety woodsy scent

    Green or herbal aroma: brisk, clean
    Look for: citrus, bergamot, eucalyptus, rosemary, chamomile, basil
    Try: Love & Toast's Gin Blossom Perfume, a fresh, crisp citrusy scent

    Floral aroma: sweet, serene, feminine
    Look for: lavender, rose, ylang ylang, neroli
    Try: Jurlique's Essence of Rose Roll-On Fragrance, a pure rose scent made from Gallic roses

    Make your own

    It’s also easy to make your own fragrance creations. For tips on scent combinations that work well, check out this guide to the aromatic blending of essential oils. Remember, some essential oils are skin irritants due to the high concentration of active compounds, so make sure to dilute them with a carrier oil or alcohol.


    15-20 drops of essential oil (in whatever combination of scents you like)
    2 tablespoons unflavored vodka (100 proof is best) or pure grain alcohol

    Pour alcohol in a glass bottle first, then add essential oil. Let it age for at least 2 days, and up to 1 month. Finally, dilute with 1 tablespoon distilled water.

    Body Oil/Lotion

    15 drops of essential oil
    2-3 tablespoons of jojoba oil, almond oil or unscented body lotion.

    Blend and store your fragrance in a dark glass bottle.

    Explore the essential oils and natural fragrances at a Pharmaca near you!

  • Easy Switches for Naturally Healthy Teeth & Gums

    Good dental healthYou know the drill (or how to avoid one!) for good dental care: Brush, floss, rinse. But ingredients like fluoride or alcohol in many dental care products are potentially harmful. Here are a few natural ways to take care of your teeth and gums—and keep you smiling!

    No to: Fluoride
    Yes to: Xylitol

    Fluoride is added to dental products (and many public water supplies) because the American Dental Association says it helps remove the plaque that causes gum disease and tooth decay, and it helps strengthen tooth enamel. But there is a downside: according to the Fluoride Action Network, it has been linked to several illnesses, allergies and compromised thyroid functioning. Alarmingly, the FDA requires a “poison” label on fluoride toothpastes, due to its toxicity if even small amounts are ingested.

    Xylitol is a natural sweetener (look for xylitol made from birch bark), that actually stops the production of tooth-decaying acids and helps recalcify tooth enamel. Try Xlear's Spry Fluoride-Free Toothpaste with Xylitol that combines xylitol with bacteria-fighting aloe vera. For flossing, single-use Xylitol Antibacterial Cranberry Floss Sachets from Radius amp up protection from cavities with both xylitol and cranberry compounds that help stop bacteria from attaching to teeth.

    No to: Alcohol
    Yes to: Oxygen & Coconut Oil

    Mass-marketed mouth rinses rely on alcohol to fight bacteria in our mouths, but long-term use of these alcohol-based products has been linked to oral cancer. A safer way to keep acid-forming bacteria at bay is with oxygen, in the form of hydrogen peroxide. Essential Oxygen's Organic Brushing Rinse is free of alcohol, fluoride and sodium lauryl sulfate to keep gums healthy, teeth white and breath fresh.

    Another way to rinse: “oil pulling," an ancient Ayurvedic technique that’s been in the news lately. Take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 10-20 minutes, then spit it out. Fans claim oil pulling draws harmful bacteria away from your teeth and gums and cleans much better than brushing alone.

    No to: Teeth Whitening Strips and Trays
    Yes to: Activated Charcoal

    Teeth whiteners often contain high concentrations of bleaching agents that can cause extreme tooth sensitivity—especially systems that use trays or strips to keep bleach on the teeth for 20 minutes or more. Instead, try brushing your teeth with activated charcoal. Take ½ teaspoon (or one capsule) and dissolve it in a small amount of water or coconut oil, then brush your teeth gently for 2 minutes. Your teeth will be black when brushing(!) but after spitting it out and rinsing you’ll see brighter teeth and tannin stains (coffee, wine, tea) gone.

    No to: Sugary & Starchy Snacks
    Yes to: Apples

    Granulated sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay, and starchy foods mix with saliva forming an “acid bath” in our mouths that erodes tooth enamel. Instead, reach for an apple (nature’s toothbrush!), as it increases saliva flow and its astringent qualities help reduce the build-up of cavity-causing bacteria.

  • 5 Healthy Reasons to Eat More Nuts

    Mixed NutsIsn’t it great when one of our favorite snacks turns out to be good for us? Here’s why eating a handful of nuts every day isn't such a bad idea.

    1.     Nuts are heart healthy.

    Studies have shown that eating a small portion of nuts each day helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. Almonds and walnuts are two of the best for heart benefits, since walnuts are high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that slow the growth of plaque in our arteries, and almonds are full of good monounsaturated fats that improve blood cholesterol levels and stabilize heart rhythms.

    2.     Nuts can help us breathe better.

    Nuts that are high in vitamin E, like almonds and hazelnuts, help improve lung function. The oil in nuts is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce mucus production, so they're a great thing to include during allergy and cold seasons.

    3.     Nuts (just a handful!) fill us up.

    Nuts make a great snack because they are high in protein and fiber. Choose nuts that are low in calories and saturated fats. Almonds, for example, are high in protein and low in fat: a ¼ cup serving has about 160 calories and 4 g of fiber. Cashews and pistachios are good low-cal choices, too. Just eat macadamia nuts and pecans in moderation, as these have the highest amount of saturated fats and calories.

    4.     Peanuts count.

    Although technically a legume, peanuts offer many of the same benefits as tree nuts. In addition to being a good source of protein and fiber, peanuts have high levels of vitamins E and B, as well as antioxidants such as resveratrol (which helps reduce diabetes risk and heart disease) and p-coumaric acid (a beneficial probiotic that helps digestion). Dry-roasted (or boiled!) without salt are the ones to choose, as these have fewer calories and lower sodium.

    5.     Nuts are easy to add to our diet.

    Here are a few easy ways to incorporate more nuts.

    • Pick up Pharmaca's healthy nut mixes for ready-made nutrition! Try our Antioxidant Trail Mix, a blend of almonds, walnuts, pecans, cherries, cranberries, apples, cashews and peanuts. Gorp with Chocolate is another favorite, featuring peanuts, raisins and chocolate gems. Or go for straight nuts with Raw Almonds or Organic Raw Cashews.
    • Add nuts to salads. A sprinkle of nuts offers an extra protein boost even to pre-made salads.
    • Try incorporating the best of a Mediterranean diet (fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts) and add nuts to whole grain pasta dishes or sautéed greens like spinach or broccoli.
    • Use nut flours in soups or stews, or to replace white flour in baking recipes.
    • Make a quick, tasty dessert.  A quick recipe? Chopped bananas, honey, a sprinkle of almonds and walnuts, and a dash of cinnamon.

    Tell us: What's your favorite way to eat nuts?

  • Why Sugar and Glycation May Be Keeping You From Youthful Skin

    WomanonBedWe’ve heard rumblings about the dangers of refined sugar for awhile now. It’s linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It’s addictive, has no nutritional value and might make us fat. Need one more reason to avoid the stuff? Glycation: The process by which sugar can cause wrinkles and sagging skin.

    Simply put, glycation is the process that happens in our bodies when sugar hooks up with proteins. Normally, sugar is converted to fuel for our bodies. But when we eat too many sugar-laden foods, excess sugar molecules find proteins and fats to latch onto, creating abnormalities called Advanced Glycation End products (AGE). These AGEs cause collagen and elastin proteins in our skin to lose flexibility and weaken. The result? Sagging, dull and wrinkly skin.

    We can slow down glycation and help repair the damage with diet changes and targeted skin care products. Here’s how to fight glycation from both the inside and the outside.

    Slow glycation with a healthy diet.

    • Eat less (or no) refined sugar.
    • Say no to high-fructose corn syrup (it speeds up glycation to 10 times the rate of simple glucose!).
    • Stick with good carbohydrates like brown rice and whole wheat products. They produce less glucose and they’re absorbed more slowly so your body isn’t bombarded with excess sugar.
    • Avoid highly processed food that’s full of refined sugars.
    • Get lots of fiber, especially from raw vegetables—it helps absorb AGEs.
    • Choose low-fat dairy products and eat more fish like salmon, tuna and sardines. (Studies show high fat red meats and cheeses produce more AGEs.)
    • Try carnosine supplements (like Jarrow Formulas' L-Carnosine), a potent anti-aging, antioxidant amino acid that helps protect against AGE buildup.

    Use glycation-targeted skin care products.
    After age 35 glycation really speeds up, making it a good time to switch to anti-aging products that hydrate, firm and detoxify.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner about other anti-aging skin care products that might help in your skin's fight against glycation.

  • Sun Safety 101

    AirplaneAsk any dermatologist and she’ll tell you the number one thing you can do to keep your skin healthy, prevent skin cancer and stop premature wrinkles is to block damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun. With a wide range of sun care options available, here’s what you need to know about SPF numbers, sunscreen ingredients and sun-savvy techniques.

    Derms Demand SPF 30 & Broad Spectrum
    Sunscreens are labeled with SPF numbers that let us know how long our sunscreen protects us from damaging, sunburn-producing UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using an SPF 30 that blocks 97 percent of UVB rays. (Higher SPF numbers offer slightly more protection, but still need to be reapplied every few hours). To get protection from both UVB rays and UVA rays (which cause premature aging and wrinkles), look for products labeled “broad spectrum.”

    Chemicals or Minerals?
    Sunscreens filter out sun rays with either chemicals or minerals. Minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide offer strong protection, don’t break down in the sun and are safer than chemical sunscreens, says the Environmental Working Group. In particular the EWG says to avoid chemical sunscreens with oxybenzone, as it has been shown to be a hormone disrupter and skin allergen.

    Rub it, Spray it, Use it!
    No matter how they’re dispensed, sunscreens only work when they cover all of your skin. Lotions can feel more moisturizing, and sprays are easier to use on hard-to-reach places (or squirming kids!). Supergoop's SPF 50 Antioxidant Infused Sunscreen Day Cream is a powerful mineral-based cream with olive oil, pomegranate and green-tea antioxidants that protect against skin-damaging free radicals. Hang 10's Mineral Sport Body Sunscreen SPF 30 is a good lightweight choice with maximum (80 minute) water resistance, along with soothing aloe and arnica extracts. For easy application, try Goddess Garden's Natural Sunscreen Spray SPF 30's lavender-scented spray with both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

    Slip Slop Slap & Wrap
    Another easy way to remember how to protect ourselves from sun damage is this catchy phrase from the American Cancer Society.

    Slip on a shirt. Clothing blocks ultraviolet rays to varying degrees and can be UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rated. A white cotton t-shirt has a UPF of about 7, while sun-protective clothing (made with sunblock-treated fabrics) comes with UPFs of 50+, providing up to 98 percent protection from UVA and UVB rays.

    Slop on sunscreen.

    • What: SPF 30 or more, broad spectrum.
    • When: Apply 30 minutes before going out on both sunny and cloudy days, and re-apply every 2 hours or after swimming.
    • How: Use enough, about 1 oz (a shot glass full).
    • Where: Everywhere. Ears, hands, feet and lips too (try jane iredale's LipDrink Balm SPF 15, with titanium dioxide).

    Slap on a hat. For the best protection, look for a hat with a UPF of 30 or 50, with a wide brim to protect your face, ears and neck.

    Wrap on sunglasses. Choose sunglasses labeled with 99-100 percent UVA/UVB protection and UV 400 (shields eyes from even the smallest rays). Be cool (and safe) and wear them whenever you’re outside, even on cloudy days.

  • Cleanse-Tone-Treat: Your Step-By-Step Skin Care Guide

    WashingFaceWe invest time and money into stocking our beauty cabinets with skin care products that have the potential to make our skin look and feel better. But do you know which order to apply them in for the best results? Should serums be under or over moisturizer? And where does sunscreen come in? Esthetician Jeanette Hickox in Novato walks us through the five easy steps of healthy, beautiful skin.

    Step 1: Cleanse

    Prepping your skin for treatment is the first step, says Jeanette. She recommends a thorough cleansing with either a Clarisonic device or a “double cleanse.” This means washing your face twice, first gently massaging cleanser into your skin to open pores, then washing it again to be sure the loosened debris and oil are removed.

    Step 2: Exfoliate

    It’s important to exfoliate on a regular basis to remove dead cells on the surface of the skin; this allows treatment products to penetrate better and makeup to go on smoother. Try DeVita’s Gentle Aloe Facial Scrub; it exfoliates with pure, round jojoba beads that are kind to skin. Note: If you use a Clarisonic you’ll need to exfoliate less often, since the device already supports everyday exfoliation.

    Step 3: Tone

    Often overlooked, this step is all about balancing the skin. A toner can restore skin’s natural pH, which cleansers sometimes disrupt, Jeanette tells us. Toners can treat skin, too. For oily skin, try a toner that balances the skin without stripping moisture. The Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner from Paula’s Choice helps calm skin and reduces redness, while evanhealy’s Lavender Facial Tonic Hydrosol is a good choice for sensitive skin, protecting it with natural plant antioxidants.

    Step 4: Treat

    Serums are an intensive treatment made to quickly penetrate the skin. Apply them directly to clean, toned skin, says Jeanette. Depending on its ingredients, these concentrated solutions deliver nutrients that can plump, firm, repair, brighten, treat blemishes and more. Some serums, such as Shea Terra Organics’ Argan and Green Coffee Around Eye Beauty Serum, target eye-specific problems like puffiness and dark circles.

    Step 5: Moisturize

    Moisturizers keep skin hydrated and seal in the treatment products you’ve applied. But they are not made to penetrate the skin like serums are. Instead, moisturizers stay on the surface of the skin, creating a barrier that locks in moisture.

    Daily moisturizers are lighter than night-time moisturizers, and many have SPF protection, combining two steps into one. MyChelle’s Daily Defense Cream SPF 17 hydrates with olive and wheat germ oils, and protects skin from sun damage with a clear zinc oxide. At night, Jeanette says, try a richer moisturizer that includes antioxidants or peptides that can repair skin while you sleep. Andalou Naturals’ Super Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream has both!

    (Important) Bonus Step: Protect

    If your daily moisturizer doesn’t have an SPF of 15 or higher, you’ll need to apply a sunscreen next (and liquid makeup or foundation after that). Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your neck and ears…and lips! Try Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient Lip Care Sunscreen SPF 25 for lip hydration and protection.

    A good rule of thumb: When applying skin care products on clean skin, layer them by weight, lightest to heaviest!

  • Why We’re Sweet on Honey

    HoneyOur love affair with honey started thousands of years ago. What time has taught us is that besides being one of the finest natural sweeteners, honey has amazing health benefits that can improve our skin, fight infections and reduce inflammation. Here’s the scoop on the sweet stuff.

    Honey's health benefits
    Honey’s natural components make it an effective antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent. Studies show it contains a high level of polyphenols and flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that are also found in cocoa, berries and tea. It neutralizes disease-causing bacteria with a protein called defensin-1, and small amounts of hydrogen peroxide (really!). Honey is effective against viruses too, especially the virus that cause shingles and chickenpox. Adding to its superhero status is honey’s apalbumin 1 protein, which helps reduce inflammation.

    All honeys are not the same
    While all honeys may be sweet, the type of plant or tree nectar collected makes a difference in the taste and healing properties of the honey. For example, dandelion honey is rich in vitamins A and K, and beechwood honey is a good prebiotic, full of minerals including zinc, copper and magnesium. (Try Wedderspoon's Gold Organic Raw Dandelion Honey or their Organic Raw Beechwood Honey.)

    Manuka. A super honey.
    There’s been a big buzz (sorry!) lately on honey that comes from bees who get their nectar from New Zealand's manuka trees. Manuka honey has all the same health benefits as other honeys, but with a bonus: It’s high in methylglyoxal (MG), a natural antibacterial compound, which makes it a powerful treatment for wounds, stomach troubles and a variety of infections. The higher the MG concentration the more powerful the antibiotic effect. Flora's Manuka Health New Zealand MGO 550+ Manuka Honey Blend and Wedderspoon's Premium Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+ are two of the most potent. Try a tablespoon mixed with warm water for a healthy boost.

    Honey's skin-saving properties
    Cleopatra had the right idea with her legendary milk and honey baths—the special healing properties of honey make it a great treatment for skin. Honey is a natural humectant, drawing moisture to the skin, keeping it soft and supple. And honey’s antibacterial nature purifies the skin surface, making it particularly useful in treating acne. A few honey-infused skin care products to try:

    For an easy do-it-yourself facial mask, try mixing equal parts raw honey with yogurt (or coconut oil) and avocado to ease dry skin. Wedderspoon's Manuka Honey On the Go packets are just the right size to whip up a quick mask!

    What's your favorite healthy way to use honey?

  • On Trend for Spring: Radiant Orchid

    OrchidPink, fuchsia and purple all come together in this year’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. Pantone, the color experts, choose a new "it" color each year that influences everything from fashion to makeup to home furnishings. According to the folks at Pantone, this year’s color inspires creativity, imagination and joy. What better way to welcome spring and perk up our makeup palette? Esthetician Nicole Mueller in Albuquerque shares some fun ways to try this cheerful color.

    Pretty pout

    Lip gloss or tint is one of the easiest ways to add radiant orchid to your makeup bag. These four work well with any skin tone. For the softest hint of color, Burt’s Bees' Tinted Lip Balm in Blush Orchid is a lightly tinted balm that nourishes with shea butter. Another soft wash of color can be found in Pacifica's Color Quench Lip Tint in Sugared Fig. This tint is packed with moisturizers like coconut and avocado oils for smooth, soft lips. For a little more intense color, Nicole recommends Love and Toast's Misbehavin’ Lip Glaze, which includes botanical oils that bring the shine factor up a notch. For staying power, try ZuZu Luxe's Lip Gloss in Mania, a long-lasting gloss that protects your lips with SPF 8.

    Fresh blush

    Orchid can be more of a cool tone, says Nicole. For those with a cool undertone to their skin (pink, red or bluish tone), orchids blend beautifully. Those with naturally warmer skin undertones (yellow, peachy or golden), can use orchid blush by first balancing the warmer tones with an overall bronzer on the face. Try applying jane iredale's Quad Bronzer in Rose Dawn, then lightly brushing orchid on your cheekbones. Or try ZuZu Luxe's Blush in Nymph, a subtle orchid that gives a fresh, natural look.

    Pop of color for your eyes

    If you’ve got green eyes, Nicole says, radiant orchid is made for you! It complements the green and makes your eyes really stand out. W3LL People's Elitist Mineral Shadow in Luminous Cassis is a plummy orchid that can be layered for more intensity. Blue, brown and hazel eyes can wear orchid, too—try jane iredale's Eye Steppes Go Cool, a four-shadow compact featuring the right shade for every eye color.

    Make a statement mani or pedi

    Radiant orchid nails are a fresh way to let the world know you’re ready for spring and summer.  Deborah Lippman's Nail Color in Makin’ Whoopee is a high-energy orchid that conditions your nails with biotin and green tea extract. SpaRitual's Nail Lacquer in Disco Inferno is a good choice for those who prefer colors with a shimmery finish. Bonus: These vegan lacquers are free of toxic chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde or DBP (dibutyl phthalate).

  • Vegan Beauty: Why We Love What’s Not There

    Bottle with basics oil isolated on whiteNo matter what your eating philosophy, vegan skin and beauty products can be a great way to take care of yourself and protect animals. Here are a few reasons to explore vegan skin care and makeup.

    They're rigorously certified.
    Vegan products that earn the “Certified Vegan” label adhere to strict guidelines. The Vegan Awareness Foundation requires that companies guarantee a vegan product does not contain and is not manufactured with animal ingredients or animal by-products. This means no meat, fish, fowl, egg or milk ingredients, honey or royal jelly, silk proteins or dyes derived from insects.

    They're cruelty-free.
    Besides ensuring that no animal products are used in manufacturing, certified vegan beauty products guarantee that no animal testing is done on the product or on any ingredient in the product.

    There are excellent plant-based alternatives.
    With the high demand for effective, non-animal based ingredients, the skin care industry has responded with botanical substitutes that offer the same or better results. Here are some common animal-based ingredients to avoid, and their plant-based alternative. For an extensive list of ingredients to avoid, check out PETA’s recommendations.

    Animal: Allantoin (uric acid from cows)
    Plant: Comfrey – a moisturizer and skin protectant, used for treating skin wounds.

    Animal: Carmine (pigment from crushed insects)
    Plant: Beet root - a red dye used in lipsticks and blush

    Animal: Collagen (protein from animal tissue)
    Plant: Soy Protein – used in hair care products for body and strength

    Animal: Lanolin (oil glands from sheep)
    Plant: Coconut oil – a skin moisturizer

    Animal: Stearic Acid (from animal fats)
    Plant: Stearic Acid - this thickener makes products creamy, and can be either animal or plant based. Look for stearic acid found in shea or cocoa butter, or coconut oil, instead of generically labeled “stearic acid”.

    Animal: Keratin (protein from animal parts)
    Plant: Rosemary and nettle - found in shampoos and conditioners for volume and body

    They offer amazing results.
    Plant-based beauty products harness the natural power of botanicals. We asked esthetician Shayna Plunkett in La Jolla and Los Gatos health and beauty expert Katie Turturici about some of their favorite vegan brands.

    • Vegan Skin Care

    Evanhealy's Blue Lavender Cleansing Milk gets raves for its deep cleaning properties and its gentleness on sensitive skin. Kaolin clay detoxifies while rose, lavender and aloe calm the skin. And evanhealy's Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf blends shea butter with nourishing olive and coconut oils to moisturize and revitalize skin. DeVita's Perfect Time Moisturizer with Argireline is a great moisturizer for aging skin. Its peptides boost collagen, reducing lines and wrinkles.

    • Vegan Hair Care

    Acure's Moisture Repairing Moroccan Argan Oil & Argan Stem Cell Shampoo gets high marks for moisturizing hair without weighing it down, leaving it extra silky and shiny. Giovanni's Nutrifix Hair Reconstructor saves chemically treated or damaged hair. Pure botanical oils like rosemary, thyme and chamomile combine with soy protein to repair the hair cuticle.

    • Vegan Cosmetics

    The ZuZu Luxe line is a favorite of estheticians and customers who love its vegan, gluten-free and paraben-free cosmetics. For a light, sheer foundation, try ZuZu Luxe's Foundation Dual Powder, a mineral-based powder with SPF protection and oil-absorbing power. ZuZu Luxe's Oil-Free Liquid Foundation provides medium coverage and its easily blendable formula comes in nine skin-matching shades.

    Vegan eye shadows, liners and mascaras come in a wide variety of colors to accent your peepers. Juice Beauty's Illuminating Eye Color in Champagne is the perfect pinky-beige for an easy everyday look. Pacifica's Smolder Eye Lining Gel in Midnight is a navy liner that makes the whites of your eyes appear brighter, neutralizing any redness. Or get full, dark and lush lashes with Pacifica's Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara that conditions lashes with coconut oil and vitamin B.

  • 6 Easy, Healthy Switches for Spring

    SpringladyTime to get back on board with those New Year's resolutions--just in time for spring! Here are a few ideas for healthy habits that are good for you and the planet.

    1.   Cook with Coconut

    There’s been a lot of buzz about coconut oil recently. Early studies show how using coconut oil (especially virgin or cold-pressed) can help increase resistance to viruses and bacteria and improve digestive system functioning. Coconut oil contains an unusual blend of short- and medium-chain fatty acids that offer a variety of health benefits. It also contains lauric acid, which increases good HDL cholesterol (read more about coconut's benefits). Remember though, coconut oil is a saturated fat and shouldn’t make up more than 10 percent of your daily calories. Barlean's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a fresh tasting oil that gives food just a hint of real coconut flavor.

    2.   Banish BPAs

    Using storage containers made from polycarbonate plastics can allow synthetic compounds like BPA (bisphenol) to leach into food and beverages. Still under review by the FDA, BPA is worrisome because of possible health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Instead, use containers made from BPA-free materials like glass or metal. Wean Green's Cubes are stylish, tempered glass storage containers that are perfect for snacks, baby food or fruit. Or check out Kids Konserve’s Rectangle Stainless Steel Container, a safe, reusable lunchbox container for eco-conscious kids and parents.

    3.   Clean without Chemicals

    Don't think you can clean your home effectively if you don't use serious chemicals? Think again. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Lavender Surface Scrub is a non-scratching powder made with naturally safe ash and oxygen bleach that gets the grime off tile, stainless steel and porcelain fixtures. And Biokleen's Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator uses natural enzyme cultures and lime peel extract to safely remove pet, food and beverage stains and odors on carpets, clothes and even diapers. Your home (and family) will thank you for it!

    4.   Get Your Nutrition from Real Food

    Try getting your nutrition from the source! Whole food-based multivitamins are made from real food, meaning they're easier on the stomach and easier for your body to absorb. MegaFood Women’s One Daily, for example, is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and immune-boosters from whole foods, yeast and herbs. It’s a veritable buffet of good stuff like cabbage, brown rice, broccoli, berries and mushrooms in one tablet.

    5.   Keep Chemicals off Your Skin

    Why risk using skin care made with synthetic chemicals? The Environmental Working Group tells us parabens, phthalates, fragrance, PEGs, tricholsan, oxybenzone and boric acid are all suspected toxins, and are commonly found in lotions, sunscreens, deodorants, soaps, diaper creams and cosmetics. Instead, turn to Pharmaca for a wide range of safe and effective alternatives. Customer favorites that rate highly with the EWG include Juice Beauty's Exfoliating Cleanser and evanhealy's Pomegranate Repair Serum. For overall body coverage, try Coola's Plant UV Body Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 30.

    6.  Think Reusable, Not Disposable

    Let’s make this the time to really commit to stop buying water in disposable plastic bottles. Mavea's stylish filter pitchers offer great tasting water that removes contaminants, toxins and micro-organisms. And when you want to take some with you, use the stainless steel Pharmaca Triple Insulated Hot and Cold Beverage Bottle or Lifefactory Glass Bottle.

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