- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
Parabens-- such as propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben--are synthetic preservatives commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products like shampoos, skin creams and deodorants. They are suspected to be endocrine disruptors, and they have been found to mimic estrogen in laboratory experiments. Many people have allergic reactions to these preservatives causing skin rashes and irritation. Needless to say, there is a great ongoing debate as to the safety of products containing parabens. There appears to be a demand for paraben free products, and when conducting our research, we had a tough time locating any. We decided to seek out paraben free products and recommend some we found to be the best.
Starting with body products, we found some excellent shower and bath products. Tanline Shower Gel with Aloe and Chamomile left our skin softer than most other products but was not very sudsy. vonNatur Shower Gel Bitter Almond was sudsier and left skin soft as well. We enjoyed all the bath products we tried, but our clear favorites were AuraCacia Tranquility Aromatherapy Mineral Bath, Aromafloria Pomegranate Bath Fizz, vonNatur Lemongrass Bath Salts, and Soothe Your Senses Lagniappe Calming Bath Tea. We also discovered some excellent body scrubs. Three of our favorites were Artemis Woman Gem Therapy Body Polish- Amethyst, Aromafloria Honey Papaya Nut Meal Exfoliant, and Soothe Your Senses Sensual Cane Sugar Scrub.
After a nice bath you want to pamper your skin with a great moisturizer. For those who prefer body oil, AuraCacia Grapeseed Natural Skin Care Oil was very silky and not greasy. We discovered some great butters-- most of which had plenty of shea, which is so good for your skin. Some of our favorites were Tanline Body Butter with Shea and Coco, vonNatur deep tissue whipped butter and Brown Bag Botanicals Lavender Orange Shea Butter. The vonNatur deep tissue whipped butter really soothed achy muscles. Both the Tanline Body Butter and the Brown Bag Botanicals were emollient without being greasy, and they both smelled great. Artemis Woman Gem Therapy Hand & Body Cream Energy- Clear Quartz was a great product that doubles as a hand cream. One of our more interesting finds was Tinsel Delights Tinsel Skin solid lotion bars. They were easy to apply and came in some great scents such as Bed of Roses, Coconut Dream and Caribbean Coffee. The tins they come in are very pretty and can be reused.
There have been many sunless tanning products developed in the last few years, but we found two of the only paraben free ones that were pretty easy to use-- Tanline Visible Results Self-Tanning Spray and Coppertone Endless Summer Gradual Tan Moisturizing Lotion. As you put the Tanline Self-Tanning Spray on, you were able to see how the color was being applied. It is a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it the tan is very realistic looking and pretty dark-- no orange-- and it lasts for several days. The Coppertone Gradual Tan Moisturizing Lotion was my personal favorite because it is idiot proof. I am pretty fair, and it gave me a slow tan. I needed to apply it everyday for a few days before I noticed my skin look darker. Because it is so natural looking, this is a perfect product for fair skinned people who rarely tan. The fact that it doubles as a moisturizer is an added bonus.
One doesn't want to see any of that dreaded 'C' word- cellulite when showing off that great tan. We found an excellent product from Ziaja cosmetics called Ziaja lipocell bloker firming massage oil. It works very well at firming the skin and is also a great moisturizer. The only downside is that, similar to other cellulite products, you need to use them continuously or you lose the positive effects.
Our feet and hands are always being abused and can always use some pampering. We discovered three great paraben free foot treatments. Max Green Alchemy (MGA) sole rescue Foot Balm, Artemis Woman Healing Gems Topaz Foot Butter, and Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream. The MGA Foot Balm is light and very softening for every day use. The Artemis Woman Foot Butter is a little thicker, for when your feet need some extra help. If your feet need a lot of help Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream is an overnight cream that you put on under socks and it works like magic!
We also discovered two great hand creams both by Ziaja, a Polish company that is making its way to the States. Ziaja Goat's Milk Hand & Nail Cream and Ziaja Aretinol Q Nourishing Hand & Nail Cream are both excellent products. Both creams are very nourishing and they do not leave a greasy feel. The Aretinol Q Nourishing Cream has an added bonus of helping to reduces wrinkles and lighten pigmentation spots.
Now that we've covered body products, let's move on to the face. Burt's Bees makes a great Wild Lettuce Complexion Soap which is great for sensitive skin. It leaves your skin very clean without over drying it. We discovered two great facial scrubs--Replenix Fortified Exfoliation Scrub and Lamas Cosmeceuticals Pumpkin Spice polish. Both left our faces very smooth without being overly abrasive. We came across a great mask for oily or acne prone skin-- D'Arcy Laboratories Clarifying Clay Mask. vonNatur Cucumber Toner and the Environ Mild Toner were both excellent for sensitive skin. You can definitely smell the cucumber in the vonNatur Toner. Neither product was irritating to some of our staff members who have very sensitive skin and rosacea. Burt's Bees Wild Lettuce Toner is an excellent toner for normal to dry skin.
Wrinkles, the awful 'W' word. We found many products to help combat those horrible lines we all get on our faces sooner or later. Ziaja's Aretinol Q Smoothing Face Mask was a crowd favorite, as well as their Aretinol Q anti-wrinkling cream Revitalizing Night Cream. Kinerase C6 Peptide Intensive Treatment has had amazing extremely visible results after a 30 day treatment course. It needs to be used in combination with a moisturizer. My personal favorites were Frownies Pads. When doing our research, we realized they have almost a cult following. They are being used by many celebrities and have been substituted for more painful treatments like Botox injections. You activate the pad with Frownies Hydrator Spray and stick them on. They make Frownies for the forehead and in between the eyes and for the corners of the eyes and mouth.
We found quite a few good facial moisturizers for different types of skin. Ziaja Goat's Milk Face Cream and Aretinol Q Smoothing and Moisturizing Day Cream were excellent for really dry and mature skin. If your skin tends to be combination or oily, we wouldn't recommend it because it is very emollient. Frownies Immune Perfect (IP) Continuous Active Hydration is a gel cream that goes on very smoothly and contains biologically interactive antioxidants that are quickly absorbed into the skin. Environ Debut Moisturizer is a great moisturizer for sensitive skin that contains more beneficial vitamin A than most other products. Ziaja Aretinol Q Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream is great for more mature skin. Environ Eye Gel is a fine product for sensitive skin. It goes on light and is non-greasy.
We tested some terrific hair products as well, but we had some clear favorites. The Max Green Alchemy (MGA) scalp rescue Shampoo and Conditioner were the best in the shampoo and conditioner categories. These two products deep clean your hair and provide relief for an itchy dry scalp. They also leave hair fuller and soft. Keune So Pure Natural Balance Revitalizing Elixir Stimulating Lotion is an excellent product for those with thin hair. It contains biotin, ginger and lemon oils which promote hair growth, adds volume and strengthen hair.
We fell in love with two makeup lines-- Jane Iredale and Bare Escentuals. They are both mineral based makeup that are excellent for your skin. Jane Iredale's Amazing Base, PurePressed base, Liquid Minerals A Foundation, PureMoist LipColor, PureGloss for Lips and PurePressed Blush contain no parabens. Most of Bare Escentuals facial makeup, with the exception of its Mineral Veil does not contain parabens. Both lines provide excellent coverage and actually are good for your skin.
Some other paraben free products are worth mentioning as well. We came across some excellent all natural aromatherapy products such as AuraCacia's Soothing Lavender Stick and Occasiotherapy's Sexy Girl Romance Mist- Lavender & Ylang Ylang and Yogi Girl Bliss Mist- Lavender & Peppermint. They all had wonderful scents. The Occasiotherapy products are great, not only to spray on your body, but to spray in the air or on bed linens.
The most interesting product award went to the Clenzology Advanced Hygiene System. This company takes hygiene to a whole new level. It is a complete system for cleaning and sanitizing your face, ears, hands, mouth and the mucous membranes of your nose and eyes. This set of products will help boost your immune system. The hand soap actually gets under your nails where most germs live. The Clenzology System includes everything you need including a wonderful natural sponge.
I do need to list some negatives we discovered in the paraben free world. Many of these products are much pricier than their paraben counterparts because parabens are relatively inexpensive to use. Some of the products listed can only be purchased through a salon, doctor's office or spa-- making them not as readily available or accessible. As time progresses, we hope that paraben free products will become more mainstream, so people who are sensitive to them or who want to avoid any potential health risks can more easily purchase them.