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    Reader Comments (64)

    What are the risk factors for fluoride? I keep hearing mixed reviews, and If I'm going to stop using something that's supposedly good for me, I would like to know why.

    Thu, June 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

    Continuing my post from above, I have heard something about cotton fibre deodorant, that adidas used to carry, again full of toxic chemicals, but I just wonder if the cotton fibre could really absorb wetness effectively.

    Wed, July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAma L.

    Hi Stephanie,
    I was wondering if you've done any research on a newer preservative: Populus tremuloides (aspen bark extract)? I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Wed, July 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Ann

    Hi Stephanie,
    Can you tell me your thoughts on Lippia Citriodora Extract? The product I saw it in, a liquid gel face wash, listed it as "Lippia Citriodora Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract" - it was the second ingredient (of way too many!).

    Skin Deep says "Lippia Citriodora Flower Extract is an extract of the flowering ends of the lemon verbena, Lippia citriodora." The database gives Lippia Citriodora Flower Extract a score of 7 - in large part for use restrictions (it's apparently "banned or found unsafe for use in cosmetics"). If that's the case, why am I seeing it in products like shampoos, face washes, and lotions? I mean, doesn't "banned" mean... banned?

    Is Lippia Citriodora extract the same as lemon verbena essential oil? And are both (either) really as worrisome as that score of 7 would have me think?

    Thanks for your help!

    Fri, November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy


    can you tell me anything about Squalane/Squalene?


    Fri, December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

    Hi Stephanie!

    I feel a little silly asking this question because I know I've read about it before--I just can"t remember where--yikes! But anyhow, here it goes...

    I'm a firm believer in using natural and organic products, including natural deodorant. My friends and I got into a discussion the other day as to why a natural deodorant is better for a person's body than the ones typically used and sold at drugstores. I knew some of the basic reasons when it came to particular preservatives, but I really didn't know what information to give them for the rest of the ingredients. Do you have any information I can pass on to them?

    Thank you for your help!

    Fri, January 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

    Hi Stephanie,

    I love having essential oils in my bath & body products. I think they are a great alternative to synthetic fragrances due to phthalates, etc. I know that some essential oils contain naturally occurring components such a limonene and linalool. EWG's Skin Deep database rates these components poorly. I'm guessing it's because some people can have skin sensitivities to them. I'm not one of those people so I don't mind essential oils that naturally contain them. My issue with it is that when companies choose to list these components they sometimes get a poorer rating on their products posted on the database. Is it because the components have synthetic versions too? I feel like essential oils are unnecessarily being given a bad name. Can you please shed some light on this subject and help people to understand whether these components are good or bad?



    Wed, February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

    Hi Stephanie,
    I appreciate all the information you regularly disseminate and I am a loyal customer. Here's my issue: My children (ages 12 and 7) use healthy shampoos. However, now we are entering swim team season and I need a healthy shampoo to get rid of the chlorine smell and most especially a shampoo they can transport and use by themselves in the locker room showers (ie/ something EASY). Most swim shampoos contain sodium thiosulfate. What can you tell me about that? Any recommendations?

    Wed, March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathieW

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am looking for a hair styling gel. I found one from a local company called Carina Organics.

    INGREDIENTS: Aqua, Acacia senegal (gum) extract, Pinus divaricata (pine) extract, Pinus banksiana (pine) extract, Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, Blechnum spicant (fern) leaf extract, Urtica dioca (nettle) leaf extract, Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) leaf extract, Trifolium pretense (clover) flower extract, Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea) flower extract, Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, Curcurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil.

    Would you recomend this product based on the ingredients?

    Thank you!

    Tue, May 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterSunny


    I was wondering how you felt about Potassium Sorbate? It seems to be used in a lot of things I own, and EWG's listed studies claim there is "strong evidence" that it is a "human skin toxicant". Yikes! I'm more or less unable to decipher the rest of their data though so I was wondering what your take on it was.

    Sat, May 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDean

    I think I can answer this for you. It depends, Bubble and Bee uses saponified coconut oil in her ingredients which is definitely safe and not related to SLS, but could technically be called a coconut derived cleaner. I think what you may be referring to is cocoamidopropyl betaine. Which has several different names and is a coconut derived surfectant. It is an alternative to SLS but has it's own set of issues, one being that it is somewhat unstable and can become carcinogenic as it sits. The best option for you is to actually email the companies and directly ask what the ingredient in question is and how it is processed.

    I have found in my experience that usually if the company in question isn't spelling out the ingredient specifically, then they may be hiding something. Usually I find that if something is highly pure or "clean" they are celebrating that fact all over the label. If in doubt go with something from Bubble and Bee, Dr. Bronner's, or for cleaning products 7th Generation or Ecos. I have found that all of these companies have great reputations for extraordinarily clean ingredients, with no synthetic additives. I also write a blog that you can check out as well, where I research and recommend the safest cosmetic items. It's Hope this helps!
    PS. I am still waiting to see if anyone has anything on my question regarding dihydroxyacetone used in self tanner? Anyone?? :o)

    Tue, June 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermelody c

    I've been thinking about using Biokleen products (laundry soap, dish soap, household cleaners), but I can't find much information about their safety. I know their blend is proprietary, but do you know anything about its safety? They make it sound like you could eat food off of a floor cleaned by Biokleen, or dump it into your dogs water, and everything would be fine. Of course, I'm not going to do those things, but it would be nice to know how safe it really is.

    Thu, June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJade

    Hi Stephanie,
    for about a year now I have been using the Max Green Alchemy 'Scalp Rescue Shampoo' plus Conditioner and I am very happy with both. They make my fine hair soft and shiny. However, I read so much about ingredients in body care products (ever since I started reading the Glamorganic Goddess' Blog who introduced me to your product line which I absolutely love) that I need an honest opinion on the ingredients in the shampoo:
    Herbal Infusion [Purified Water (Aqua), Glycyrrhiza Glabra* (licorice) Root, Tussilago Farfara+ (coltsfoot) Leaf, Achillea Millefolium* (yarrow), Salix Alba+ (willow), Tabebuia Impetiginosa+ (pau d’arco), Arctium Lappa* (burdock) Root, Berberis Aquifolium (mahonia), Calendula Officinalis* (calendula), Equisetum Arvense* (horsetail), Urtica Dioica* (nettles)], Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (coconut derived surfactant), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (coconut derived surfactant), Sucrose Cocoate (sugar/coconut emulsifier), Coco-Betaine (coconut derived surfactant), Leptospermum Petersonii (lemon tea tree), Melaleuca Alternifolia* (tea tree), Lavandula Angustifolia* (lavender), Pelargonium Capitatum* (geranium), Rosemarinus Officinalis* (rosemary), Oryzanol (rice extract), Hydrolysed Soy Protein (hair strengthener), Glycerine (vegetable source), Panthenol (pro vitamin B5), Macadamia* Ternifolia (macadamia) Seed Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Phytate (from rice bran), Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C ester), Aloe Barbadensis* (aloe vera) Leaf, Mixed Tocopherols (plant derived GMO-free vitamin E).
    * Organic + Wildcrafted
    Thank you so much for taking the time to look into this, I sure do appreciate it greatly.

    Thu, July 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterRuth Mann

    Hi Stephanie,

    Lately I have been seeing Hydrogen Peroxide being used for a multiple-purpose household cleaner with Tea Tree essential oil. (Ex. Nothing But Soap has it.)
    Is Hydrogen Peroxide really effective cleaner? Instead of using White Vinegar and Tea Tree. Which is better?

    Fri, July 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

    Hi Stephanie!

    Do you have any information you could share about saponified oils, like you use in your soaps? What is the difference between buying saponified oil base soap and buying the products and the sodium/potassium hydroxide and basically saponifying it yourself? Is one better than the other? From what I understand these are the two ways to make soap, is that right? Thanks so much!

    Tue, August 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterKathryn Abel

    Hi Stephanie,

    I started using some bath & body products for myself and my daughter because they said they were organic, but I just recently realized that they use japanese flower extract. I was directed to your website by a fellow blogger and read about japanese flower extract. I then contacted the company on their facebook page told them that as far as I know japanese flower extract is like a paraben. this was their response "Parabens are synthetic preservatives that some studies have suggested may be linked to endocrine disruption. Instead of using parabens in our organic collections, we choose to use natural Japanese flower extract (Japonica), which naturally inhibits microbial growth -- acting as a natural preservative. Skin care products need to be preserved to prevent mold growth and microbes. In order for the product to remain safe and effective for you, there has to be some sort of preservative -- the difference is that we're using a natural preservative as opposed to a synthetic one" Is this correct?

    Tue, August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda R.

    Hello Stephanie,

    Does the clay minerals used in the Terressentials deodorant contain some form of aluminium that can be absorbed through the skin?

    Tue, October 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCindy P

    Hi Stephanie, my question is similar to Whitney's about Fluoride. I have heard so many different things that fluoride is good and also that fluoride is bad. I really want to know what you think about the whole fluoride issue?

    Sat, October 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristin

    I actually have an opinion on this and have read quite a bit about it. I recently had a lengthy discussion at the dentist about it too, so I will share what I know.

    Fluoride started being put into public water systems in the 50's to reduce the occurrence of cavities primarily in children. The overall rate of cavities did dramatically decrease during the next 20 years and fluoride was mainly given the credit- though other factors may have been at work as well (like better education and better dental care). Fluoride itself can poison you in large quantities (like if an adult consumed a couple of tubes toothpaste), but there is a lot of clinical and anecdotal data to support the claim that it helps with overall tooth and enamel health. Also, "natural" toothpastes lacking fluoride don't really clean your teeth of tartar and plaque as well. Even with using a Sonicare and flossing daily- the 6 months I used "natural" SLS and fluoride-free toothpaste I had the worst plaque and tartar buildup I have ever had in my life (so much so that my regular hygienist asked me what I had changed as she subjected me to a long and really uncomfortable cleaning). I live in Seattle, and I would say people here are pretty health and chemical conscious (urban hippies, anyone?). Plus the area where I live has a highly reputable college for alternative medicine, so the dentists here have seen lots of people that try to avoid fluoride and all the nasty chemical components in toothpastes at disastrous consequences to their teeth.

    So here is the gist: enamel and gum tissue cannot be replaced, once it is gone it is lost forever. Also, the chemical compounds and resins used to make fillings is far worse for you than anything that is in a tube of toothpaste and they stay in your mouth forever, not mere minutes like toothpaste. Not to mention that the actual drilling and subsequent replacement of fillings can damage and crack your teeth, and gum disease can cause all sorts of issues, even heart problems. Since fluoride and tartar control toothpastes are effective for preventative maintenance for tartar control, enamel loss, cavities, and gum tissue loss due to gingivitis (aka plaque and tartar buildup) it makes sense to use them if you are heading off far worse consequences. I just rinse my mouth really well two or three times after I am done and always use a very small amount of toothpaste.

    Like you, I try to avoid chemicals wherever possible and I HATE that the toothpastes that are most effective have things like fluoride, artificial sweeteners and SLS, but at the expense of something far worse, it just isn't worth it. Save on chemicals in other areas of your life: shampoo, deodorant, soap, makeup, cleaning products etc. and buy a really "good" dentist approved toothpaste. I was told that statin fluoride found in Crest toothpastes has been shown to be the most "useable" type for enamel health. Hope this helps!

    Tue, October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermelody c

    Hi Stephanie,
    What do you think about cosmetic product of "Coastal Classic Creations" ?

    Wed, October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOya Kaptan

    Hello Stephanie,
    I'm a big fan of Bumble and Bee products as well as your blog. I appreciate the amount of research you do and I'm hoping you can help clear up my questions about comedogenic scores.
    I've had acne since I was a teen (though I'm almost thirty now). Its mostly under control now, but I still try to avoid products that contain acne containing ingredients. I've had several dermatologist give me a list of comedogenic ingredients to avoid, and unfortunately, many of them seem to be in natural care products.
    Here is a link to a similar list:
    I was excited when Bumble and Bee released a face wash, but was disappointed to see that Coconut oil was a main ingredient. Coconut oil is listed as highly pore clogging, yet it is in almost every natural face wash and moisturizer I seem to find! I don't want to have to chose between natural and non- acne causing, but it often seems like I have to. It seems like many makers of natural products disregard comedogenic ratings, but doctors put stock in them. Its hard to know who to trust without having a degree in chemistry myself! Do you have any experience with comedogenic ratings? I'm having a hard time finding research as to how comedogenic ratings are determined and how important they are for those who are prone to acne.
    Thanks for your help!

    Mon, November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison R.

    Hi Stephanie,

    I read one of your comments that aloe vera and hydrosols need perservatives.

    What do you think of the preservatives of Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid and Xanthan Gum in the aloe vera gel from Mountain Rose Herbs?

    Looks like they do not use any perservations in their hydrosols. They explain that "the chemical components in the hydrosol are primarily acids". Please see link below.

    Is this correct?

    Thank you so much for your time.

    Wed, November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

    I bought head & shoulders hair endurance for men today.
    I was wondering how bad it is for the skin and hair on a chemical point of view?
    Will it cause more hair loss since it has a lot of chemicals that are considered bad.
    Also, I was searching your website and I couldn't find Sodium Lauryl Sulfate's risk level or a page on it. Should I be worried since it has Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and some others.

    Tue, January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRay P

    I want to know the safety of Alvera Aloe & Almonds, All Natural Roll-on Deodorant. Most ingredients sound harmless to me. But a few, I'm not so sure. It contains the following:

    75% aloe vera gel
    herb water (containing arnica, calendula, gentian root, and coriander)
    Alcloxa (contains allantoin)
    Glyceryl Stearate,
    Gum Arabic
    Whole oat protein
    grapefruit seed extract

    Sat, January 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJana

    Sensodyne Toothpaste contains Cocamidopropyl betaine as the first of inactive ingredients in its toothpaste. Is not this a harmful ingredient to be put into contact with the saliva and inside the mouth?

    Tue, January 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

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