Friday, August 6, 2010

David Babaii: The Salon Feel Minus the Chemicals

I stumbled upon David Babaii for WildAid, and decided to try out the Babaii hydrating conditioner. For about $8 bucks, a little more than the cost of Pantene or Aussie and with less product, I figured a portion is obviously going toward preservation and it's all natural. And while the cost/size difference may catch your eye, note that you're getting a thick lustrous product versus sloppy greasy chemical-infused main market brands. So there's really no question on which one's the better buy.

The eco-friendly formula is free of Parabens, Sulfates, Petrochemicals and animal products. And with a campaign catering to animal welfare, you can be sure they don't test their products on animals either.

But while natural hair care is a priority, it's equally a priority to make sure I get products that work and don't leave me smelling like hemp. Fortunately, David Babaii for Wildaid hits the spot. Not only does it leave my hair soft (note thicker longer hair requires copious amounts of this product), but the smell was out of this world.

A perfect fusion of flower and fruit, it was hard to spot exactly what the amazing scent was. Having gone through nearly the whole bottle now, I still can't quite name the fragrance, but it's certainly caught the attention of anyone within a 5 foot radius. My sister, and co-beauty junkie, was on cloud nine when she walked alongside me, nose in the air trying to inhale every last little atom. She says it smelled like I just stepped out of a salon.

I smiled a little smile, knowing I spent a fraction of cost, helped a cause, and treated my hair to beautiful natural ingredients.

So what exactly is in David Babaii for Wildaid's Hydrating Conditioner? According to their site, it's a combination of volumizing volcanic ash, rich cupuacu butter, blue algae, wild orchid, kiwi, mango, jojoba seed and dead sea salt.

I'm now curious to see if the rest of their line is equally as amazing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beauty Maven Meets Eco Beauty

Whether it’s dipping into latest Sephora finds or scanning through celebrity looks, my heart has always fluttered just that much more when it comes to beauty. And with being an eco writer, I figured I pretty much knew all there was to about eco beauty.

That’s why when I heard about holistic nutritionist and eco expert, Rachel Avalon’s Lecture on Eco Beauty, I was curious to see what the green “it” girl would be discussing. Knowing there is at least one natural makeup product that meets my approval, and often putting pestle and mortar to use in my kitchen for new facial concoctions, I wondered what the eco industry’s freshest face would have to say about beauty that I didn’t already know.

I walked into the lecture room, paper and pen in hand and ready to soak up what I thought would be new beauty tips. I also got a chance to have a quick meet and greet with Rachel, who was absolutely charming and a natural host. With people pouring in, we quickly took our seats and the presentation set sail to what was going to be a revealing look at the beauty industry.

Moments in, I was capsized by own limited perceptions of beauty. Rachel began with where our beauty products are coming from, what’s in them, and how detrimental they are to our health. The virtually self-regulated cosmetic industry is saturated by politics and hazards, even though one could argue the two were never really mutually exclusive anyway. Though we all know about lobby groups, Rachel’s knowledge of what exactly comprises the beauty industry which policies so easily saunter past the red-tape (and why), and how they affect us, is absolutely horrifying. In short, I learned that just like the IRS, we should never really trust the so-called “safety” regulations.

But to learn what was actually in all those lovely pressed powders, tubes and jars left me thoroughly disgusted. So what’s in it exactly?

gemma in oil

Think Gemma Arterton’s scene in Quantum of Solace, where she’s covered head to toe in oil, and then you’ve got a very small picture of what you’re actually spackling on yourself everyday. The trauma of what Gemma’s character goes through varies disfiguringly with our own experience – after all, with that much toxic waste on her she inevitably died. On the other hand, we go about our day with ten fold more and think we’re glamorous. Put on, rinse, and repeat.

Considering we toss ourselves into a daily beauty gauntlet with questionable (and sometimes cancer-causing agents), you can only imagine how much damage we’re doing to ourselves in the long run.

If you factor in that our skin absorbs 60% of what we put on it, and with the average girl wearing makeup at 14, by the time you’re 85 you’ve been exposing your body to harsh chemicals and toxins for over 70 years! It’s no wonder that we have such a high rate of cancer in society, with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men now being diagnosed with it. The role of cancer in beauty was another interesting component of Rachel’s lecture, and got me questioning about how many chemicals I expose myself to daily without even thinking about it – all in the name of beauty.

beauty bathroomAnd beauty isn’t just for women. Conscious care is definitely something both men and women need to think about (because almost everyone uses shampoo, soap, deodorant, etc.). I brought my fiancé who was absolutely astounded by what he learned from Rachel’s lecture. According to Avalon, women use over 186 chemicals a day, but men use a competitive 85 chemicals per day – and that’s not including if they’re overly metro sexual with a bathroom stash able to beat that of any beauty maven’s.

If you consider the basics, (like shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc), it’s easy to see how the average American uses about 10 products a day – which exposes them to about 125 chemicals!

This beauty maven, however, went home and started tossing products away and recycling the containers – despite their cost or how much was still left in the bottle. Applying the tips I learned from Rachel’s lecture I read the labels of all my products – getting rid of anything I knew to be toxic, cancerous, and/or made from products I wouldn’t be within range of if I saw it in its unprocessed form, such as petroleum and placenta.

The result, I took Rachel’s many fantastic tips and alternatives, and am now putting them to use as I test the market for truly eco-friendly beauty products that are both earth-friendly and fabulous. Much like every other beauty whore who hawk-eyes every new beauty product or fad on the market, my new approach is to hone in on the ingredient labels to see if products are really what they appear to be. The result – gorgeous intelligence, as Rachel would say.

Many thanks to Rachel Avalon for such a great lecture! Luckily for us, she hosts repeat lectures and is able to serve you as a holistic expert even if you’re not based in Los Angeles. Her website is

Shireen Qudosi is a freelance writer specializing in the green industry. Visit her blog, The Logical Native, or check out her writing, link building, & social media marketing services atBabel Fish Communication. To contact her directly, email and keep up with her work by signing up for the newsletter.

Image source: Arizona Foothills Magazine, Image Shack

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eco-Fabulous: Celebrate in the New Decade

Répondez, s’il vous plaît when you receive an invitation, according to Emily Post. If you are the one hosting, then embrace the new etiquette of eco-friendly entertaining:

• Evites – With electronic invitations or evites, Emily's required RSVP comes much sooner and there is no expense to the sender or the invitee.

• Recycled invitations – If the event calls for sending a personal invitation, there are beautiful earth-conscious alternatives to choose from. A variety of classic and stylish invitation cards are available from Green Paper Studio, a true-green company that will also plant a tree for every order received.

• Host/Hostess gift – Traditional etiquette emphasizes presenting the host of the party with a gift. Previously, it was selected from a variety of small household items, decorations or a bottle of wine. In the spirit of earth-friendliness a small plant, a basket of organic fruit or a set of 100% recycled note cards would be more than appropriate. If the host happens to be missing a green thumb then select any of the great gifts offered at The Ultimate Green Store.

• Eco-friendly menu – Once the guests arrive, treat them with your best social etiquette and recipes that include organic, locally grown ingredients. Consider serving refreshing dishes that do not require cooking or hot dishes fresh off the grill.

• Less paper waste – Use the fancy glasses you've been wanting to show off, because after all, using your own glasses or even mismatched flea market treasures to serve your guests is the most eco-conscious thing to do. The less paper waste created, the better. If required, there are biodegradable paper goods to be found at Green Paper Products. With a selection of compostable plates, cups and utensils, this company sells their products to individual consumers in smaller quantities including bowls that can be used for those delicious left-overs and taken "to-go" at the end of your event.

• Use daylight – Most small gatherings are scheduled in the evening as a dinner party. To light up the room either make sure you have energy saving light bulbs or turn most lights off and create a festive mood with soy candles. To conserve the most energy, you may want to schedule your party for a lunch on a weekend. Using natural light in an outdoor setting is always a great idea and by the way, great for taking pictures.

True friends will not remember how they were invited, but rather that they were invited. They won't remember what kind of plate you served them with or whether candles were lit instead of lights. However, they will remember the great times they shared in great company.