Posts filed under ‘health and beauty’

Greener Curls

green_shampooI actually did have green hair for a little while as a teenager. It was during my “let’s dye our hair every month” phase, back when I could tolerate the smell of peroxide and that lovely burning scalp feeling. I didn’t intend to have green hair – I was going for black, and somehow it came out a kind of patchy army green color. Very flattering.

But this post isn’t about hair colors, it’s about hair cleanliness, and it comes in the form of a recommendation from my homegirl Francesca (Cessi), who always looks great and I totally trust her advice. This is what she writes:

So a friend suggested I try eliminating shampoo and conditioner, most of which aren’t so green, including a lot of organic brands. Anyways, the regime is especially good for wavy or curly hair and purported to restore a natural balance to your scalp’s oils. I discovered a plethora of stuff online about this no-poo lifestyle and have been using baking soda for cleansing and apple cider vinegar for conditioning for a few months. So far so good…probably better than before actually. And with no dirty-hippy results. Here’s a website with info./instructions and some good links at the bottom:

Thanks for the advice, Cessi! I plan to give it a try once I run out of my pseudo-green Nature’s Gate shampoo and conditioner.


June 17, 2009 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

Clean, Green Bum

toiletpaperI’m always looking for ways to cut disposable products from my lifestyle. I don’t use paper towels or tissues, having replaced them with dish cloths and hankeys. I use cloth grocery bags and try my best to avoid buying foods and other products that come in lots of packaging that can’t be re-used or recycled. I’ve even swtiched from tampons to the keeper. The goal is to never throw anything out, unless it’s going into my compost or recycling bins.

But there is one thing I’m just too chicken to live without – namely, toilet paper.

I have heard of people who use water and wash cloths to clean up after using the toilet, but I don’t really feel like joining them at this point in my life. In college, when living abroad in West Africa, I learned how to wipe like the locals – with my left hand. It didn’t take long before I’d made a habit of carrying little packets of tissues with me at all times just in case I had to “go”. I simply can’t give up the satisfying feeling of a dry bottom.

So in lieu of giving up toilet paper all together, I’ve done the next best thing: buying Marcal toilet paper. I’m not big on brand loyalty, but Marcal toilet paper is my very favorite, because even though they just recently started packaging their TP in fancy “gree-looking” wrappers, they’ve only ever offered 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper. And it’s just as cheap as all the low-end paper products you’ll find in the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.

Brands like Scott and Kleenex usually don’t use recycled paper – and when they do, they charge extra and less than half of the paper comes from recycled sources. Recycled toilet paper may not be as soft as first-generation paper, but that’s a small price to pay for saving the planet, right? A much smaller price than, say, not wiping.

February 27, 2009 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

Tuna Test


 The New York Times published an article last week about some new research that showed really really high (scary high) levels of mercury in tuna found in sushi restaurants in New York. For those of us who love sushi, tuna, and fish in general, this is bad news. My personal recommendation is just to stop eating tuna, especially bluefin tuna, because aside from being mercury-laden, it’s also over-fished.

But, if you just can’t live without it, and want to find out the maximum amount of mercury tuna that your body can handle safely, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Tuna Calculator. As a woman of child-bearing age, I am basically told not to eat any tuna at all (boo). Apparently, mercury has this nasty habit of causing brain damage in fetuses. Pretty lame.

Also, if you want some more info about the mercury-in-fish situation, Consumer Reports provides a decent overview. It even answers the question “how the heck does mercury get into fish in the first place?” (here’s a basic answer for those of you who are too lazy to click on the link:

1. coal and other fossil fuels are burned up to make power for our TVs and cuisinarts and whatnot

2. the smoke from the power plants contains mercury, and blows all over the place – including into the ocean

3. here the mercury gets absorbed by plankton and other tiny organisms at the top of the water, then fish eat those little guys, then bigger fish eat those fish

4. the mercury gets caught up in the fish’s fatty tissue and never comes out until that guy with the funny hat and the super sharp knife slices it up and puts it on a plate in front of you).

The End. Watch out for the fishies.

January 31, 2008 at 9:01 pm 1 comment

Green Skincare

I just want to take a second and give a shout-out to Dessert Essence for making this super facewash. It’s made of tea tree oil and other natural, non-toxic ingredients. It keeps my skin looking smooth and clean and I totally recommend it.

On a similar note, I think it’s time we give up these plastic scratchy body wash thingies and instead switch to loofahs. Like tea tree oil, loofah is a natural, non-toxic, biodegradable and totally effective skin care option. Next time you’re shopping for skin scrubbing devices, go with loofah and forget the plastic. It’s better for you and its better for everybody else, too.


January 16, 2008 at 11:10 pm 1 comment

New Year, New Opportunities

Happy New Year!!

I must say, most New Years come and go with little significance for me – usually it just means I have to remember to write a new number on checks and whatnot. But 2008 is a year I’ve been waiting for for a long time – nearly 4 years, in fact. And I don’t want to get too political here, but I don’t think you have to be political to realize that it’s time for our current president to hit the road and make way for somebody that actually is up for the job of leading our country.

Aside from the upcoming regime change, 2008 also offers us each a chance to make change on a small, less national level. I’ve never had much success with the New Years Resolution. In fact, if I remember correctly, last year I promised myself to do 10 push-ups a day, and so far I’ve completed about 25 of them (total). But that doesn’t mean that I should give up. I’ve managed to integrate lots of positive changes in my life over the years, all it took was time and determination.

As a child, for instance, I had trouble giving up my finger-sucking habit (similar to thumb-sucking, only weirder), and ended up carrying around a ragged blanky at an embarrassingly old age and growing in some petty gnarly teeth. Some might have predicted at the time that I would never grow out of this 10-year phase, but with support (and nagging) from my family, I managed to overcome the habit and now I only occasionally dabble in chewing on my appendages.

This year, my resolution is simple, small, and inspired by a Christmas present that Boyfriend gave me:



Yes, I’m going to give up disposable tissues and use hankies instead. I actually started the new practice yesterday, and it went pretty well. Depending on how runny my nose is, I think I’ll probably go through about one every two days, and wash them with my laundry every weekend. I’ll let you know how it goes -the upcoming Jan/Feb cold season will certainly put the hankies to the test so I’ll be certain to share with you stories about inevitable and embarrassing subway snot fiascoes.

And if you’re looking for something green to add to your life this year, you might get some good ideas by reading what people on Wisebread are resolving to do. The little changes we make can really add up big, so picking something that’s easy to integrate into your daily routine is probably a better choice than making a bigger change that you’re less likely to carry out. Good luck and happy New President Year!!

January 1, 2008 at 11:09 pm 1 comment

Soft, Green Skin

I recently had to buy new facial moisturizer (it’s getting cold out now and it makes my skin dry), and I had a hell of a time trying to find something that wasn’t laden with carcinogens and other chemicals that are too hard to pronounce. In the end, I actually kind of failed and settled for a Body Shop moisturizer that has parabens in it (parabens are a nasty preservative and I’ve currently got them all over my face).

So you don’t fail like I did, I recommend using the Green Guide’s “Dirty Dozen” to learn about cosmetics ingredients you should avoid. The New York Times ran a good article about the green beauty industry today that you should check out, too. And here’s a list of brands that I like for their natural ingredients and high-quality products:

Dr. Bronner’s – best soaps ever – especially lavender and peppermint

Desert Essence – I like their shampoos, toothpaste (tea tree) and lotions

Burt’s Bees – good lip balms, lipsticks, body lotions

Tom’s of Maine – they’ve got great toothpaste and deodorant

Dr. Hauschka – pricey but really nice skin care (good for sensitive skin, too)

November 1, 2007 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment


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