Sunday, 1 April 2012

Priti NYC Haul (again)

True to my word, i've done another rather large Ikigai haul before they close their website forever. As a final farewell sale, their Priti NYC polishes were 75% off (sadly it's ended now). All up this entire order was under $60 including postage - bargain! Since i'm on a non-essentials spending ban, these count as an early birthday present to myself :P

Here's what I bought:
RRP Prices are: 9ml (mini) for $15.95, 12.6ml (full size) for $17.95, and Priti Princess 8ml for $14.95

Top row (left to right):
Cornflower 9ml (Metallic cobalt blue w/pearly finish)
Glow-Bait (8ml) (Opaque blue sparkles - glows in the dark)
Nighttime Sky (8ml) (Metallic royal blue)

Bottom row are all full size (left to right):
Love Lies Bleeding (Deep hot magenta)
Glossy (Clear)
BlueStar (Creamy minty blue with pearly finish)
FireCandle (Neon pink with shimmery opalescent finish)
Constant Nymph (Deep midnight blue w/pearly finish)
Peekaboo Rose (Peach mauve with yellow beige undertone)
Ruffled Velvet Iris (A truly metallic purple w/ shimmer)
Green Goddess (Pale mint green with pearly finish)
Cape Sundew (Silver glitter)

And for those who want a closer look at the colours...
L-R: Love Lies Bleeding, FireCandle, Peekaboo Rose, BlueStar, Green Goddess and Glow-Bait.

(Apologies for the blurriness)
L-R: Glossy, Ruffled Velvet Iris, Cape Sundew, Constant Nymph, Cornflower and Nighttime Sky.

Originally I had ordered a full size bottle of Cornflower and a full size bottle of the Almond Oil but as both had sold out, Ikigai generously threw in a mini bottle of Cornflower and let me pick another 2 bottles. So in the end it worked out well - that and Cornflower looks identical to Nighttime Sky so I definitely won't run out anytime soon. 

A couple of these colours might sound familiar to you because Ruffled Velvet Iris and Green Goddess were in my last Priti haul from Ikigai. At that price, I HAD to buy them again, besides, they might make for a nice little future giveaway prize :P

Want to know why I love Priti NYC polishes so much? You can read my review and see swatches of some colours here.

I'll be swatching and reviewing these colours soon but at the moment am recovering from a bad bout of food poisoning. Last time I ever eat KFC!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Earth Hour

Don't forget about Earth Hour this Saturday at 8:30pm!

For the uninitiated, Earth Hour is an initiative by the World Wildlife Foundation which started right here in Sydney way back in 2007. The concept is to turn off all non-essential lights for one hour (from 8:30pm to 9:30pm) on the last Saturday of March (this Saturday). It was such a success that it went global the year after and is now a huge global event. Last year, it took place in a record 5,251 cities and towns in 135 countries and territories in all seven continents. That's an estimated 1.8 billion people who switched off!

But why do we do it? To save electricity of course! But the whole idea behind Earth Hour is not just to switch off for an hour, but to think about our energy usage every day and help save the planet. This year, Earth Hour launched a new campaign to go beyond the hour, it's all about making a commitment to lasting action on climate change. This year they also launched the "I Will If You Will" campaign which has enlisted many celebrities to make pledges of things that they will do if we all take action against climate change - you can see some of the pledges on the Earth Hour facebook page.

Haven't got plans for Earth Hour? No problem, all you need to do is be energy conscious. How about reading a book by candlelight? One of my first Earth Hour experiences was when I was living in Adelaide and a group of my friends and I had dinner at another friend's house. We all helped to cook dinner (using a gas stove) and then ate by candlelight with no distractions like TV or music, we just enjoyed good food and good company. Simple, yet memorable, even 5 years on.

Do you want to plan a party or find out other ways that you can help, no problem! The Earth Hour website can help you out. It's packed full of information and handy how-to guides on how you can contribute this Earth Hour.

Then there's the opposition to Earth Hour, the "Hour of Power". I seriously thought that this was a joke when I first heard about it through this incredibly ignorant and judgemental opinion piece on The Daily Telegraph. But no, it's very real, and there are people out there obviously have more money than brains (especially with electricity prices these days). I try not to let people like that bother me because I get enough fulfilment and enjoyment out of my own life and think that doing anything out of spite is a sign of discontent in your own life. 

Now, back on the topic of Earth Hour - how cute is this little design in my Smiggle diary?

Do you have any Earth Hour traditions or any plans?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Beauty Boxes Going Au Naturale

In the past i've mentioned whenever a beauty box company does a "natural" themed month but to my surprise, one beauty box company seems to be shifting it's focus to natural and organic products for good. So a big thumbs up to BellaBox! This month their theme was "get naked" by letting your bare faced beauty shine through. I was lucky enough to receive the following products which I am absolutely loving! I'm thrilled that all of them are natural or organic because one of my main issues with these sample beauty boxes is getting products filled with chemicals that I don't end up using. In fact, I recently received a petroleum based lip balm in my Lust Have It box which left my lips dry, swollen and sore - I even developed an ulcer behind my lip! So to get only natural or organic products in my Bellabox made me very happy, here's what I received:
ULittle Beauty Natural Shine Hair Serum, 100mL, RRP $19.95 (Full Size)
I'm really looking forward to using this tonight after I henna my hair! Everything that i've tried by ULittle Beauty has been fantastic so far (many reviews of their products will be coming soon). This contains Argan Oil which is a wonderful ingredient so I have high hopes for this serum.
Yes To Carrots "C Me Blush" Lip Tint in "Cotton Candy" (Light Pink), 2.6g, RRP $9.95 (Full Size)
I'm very thankful that I received this colour and not "Ready Red" like some other subscribers as I already have it (and reviewed it here). These aren't really tinted lip balms as they don't deposit much colour, but they are very nice lip balms and I love the tingly feeling that the peppermint oil provides, it's very invigorating.
Planet Eve Anti-Aging Face Moisturiser, 50mL, RRP $59 (Sample Size - 10mL)
Up until the other week i'd never even heard of this brand! I actually picked up their "Super 5 Eye Firming Gel" from BeautyHeaven's Beautorium store the other week and am liking it so far. Despite Planet Eve having a focus on "anti-ageing" their products are also really great for sensitive skin. I'm looking forward to trying this out and seeing how my oily skin copes with it as it's a reasonably priced organic facial moisturiser.

Pure Fiji Hydrating Body Lotion in Coconut Infusion, 354mL, RRP $29.95 (Sample Size - i'm guessing around 30 mL)
I'm so glad that I saved the matching body wash from my Lust Have It box a while ago because now I can layer these! I don't know what Pure Fiji's ingredients are like as they have no ingredients list on the sample bottles, but I believe that they are natural (i'll do some more investigating and please correct me if I am wrong). I really love Coconut so these are a lovely little treat.
Bellamer Eye Balm, 15g, RRP $40 (Sample Size - around 2g)
I've never heard of Bellamer before but they seem to be a small Australian based skincare company. Again, they don't have an ingredient list but from what I can find online, it seems to be Shea Butter based with Peppermint oil and Chamomile oil.  I currently use ULittle Beauty's Eye Balm so it will be interesting to see how this compares.

Carman's Muesli Round in Fruit & Nut, 200g/5pack, RRP $5.50 (Sample of 1 Muesli Round)
This was a bonus treat this month. I guess it's not something that you'd usually expect to find in a monthly beauty box but it definitely fit in with the theme of letting your natural beauty shine through! After all, no amount of skincare products can compensate for a bad diet. These Carman's muesli rounds are delicious snacks that are perfect to have with a cup of tea. I've actually bought these in the past and quite enjoy them.

Do you subscribe to any monthly beauty boxes like BellaBox? Did you receive anything different to me?

Friday, 9 March 2012

Burt's Bees' Response to Lead In Lipstick

If you haven't already read my first post on the FDA finding lead in many lip products including Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers, you can find it here.

So I emailed Burt's Bees on February 22nd with the following:
"I was recently alerted to the results of an FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) test on lipsticks that contain lead. The results of that test can be found at:

The last brand that I expected to see on there was Burt's Bees! I'm really shocked that your lip shimmers contain up to 2.81 ppm of lead (the acceptable level in candy is 0.1 ppm) and feel a bit deceived as these are marketed as 100% natural so I assumed that they were safe. Just knowing that there is any lead in your lip shimmers has permanently stopped me from using them. As I assumed that your products were safe and now that is in question I would like a refund of the lip shimmer that I own. I also worry what other lip products of yours might contain lead but understand that you may not have that kind of data available.



This email went unanswered until I posted it to Burt's Bees Australia's facebook wall for all to see on Tuesday when I finally received a response. Their response is below:

"Hi Angela,

Thank you for getting in touch with us. We have had some recent enquiries from our fans on a study conducted by the FDA. Firstly we think it is fantastic that customers of Burt’s Bees are being so proactive about the products th
ey use, it is always good to be well informed on those products you put on your skin. Rest assured that all of our products are safe for use & are deemed safe by FDA.

Please see our response to the findings this report below.

A recent report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found trace elements of lead in Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer(Merlot shade only). The levels found were deemed SAFE by the FDA. The Merlot shade has been discontinued in Australia however if you have this shade currently it is still SAFE to use.

Because the minerals we use to impart colour in our formulas come from the earth, these natural elements may contain small traces of lead (a natural substance). At Burt’s Bees, our consumers’ well-being and safety is of the utmost importance to us. If we felt that our consumers' health was at risk, we would not be using these minerals in our products.

Traces of lead can be found elsewhere and broadly in the environment including tap and well water. In fact, John Bailey, previously of the FDA and now with the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, quantifies the environmental levels of lead in a statement: ‘The average amount of lead a woman would be exposed to when using cosmetics is 1,000 times less than the amount she would get from eating, breathing and drinking water that meets the Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards.’

Hope that clarifies the situation, Angela. If you have further questions, you can send us send us a private message (via the Message button on the left hand side of this page) and we'll be more than happy to assist you.

Thanks! :)

Now I understand this, and this would be sufficient for most people, but the big flaw in their logic is that you can actually source natural minerals to colour makeup products which do not contain lead at all. In fact, many natural or organic makeup brands do just that. And no, it does not mean that you have to resort to using synthetic colours and dyes (that's a whole different blog post). From their resistance to admit deceiving customers, and talk of safety, it seems very unlikely that i'll be getting a refund from them. The ironic thing is that it's not about the money, it's about the principle. I would actually probably still use Burt's Bees products if they did offer me a refund because then they would be admiting that they shouldn't be selling these toxic lipsticks. But they seem to be standing firmly behind their products (as you would expect any company to do) and refusing to admit that there is anything wrong about lead being in their lip products!

So I sent one final reply, just to inform them, and anyone else reading the post, that in fact they are not being completely transparent and bending the truth to make their products appear safer than they really are.

"I hate to be a pain but I can't see the message button :S Anyway, i'm aware that small traces of lead are in a number of things that we consume every day but that's what's most worrying - it all builds up over time. A lot of people realise this and take actions to avoid some of these toxins as much as they can, like drinking pure spring water/filtered water, eating only organic food, or even growing their own fruits & vegies. I don't mean to sound like an annoying hippie but from what i've learned about the chemicals in our food, water, skincare, makeup, etc it's hard to ignore and that's why I try and use the safest products possible. I had just assumed that as Burt's Bees is natural, there wouldn't be anything harmful like this in your products. As there are other brands who use lead-free minerals to colour their makeup products, it just seems unnecessary to me to continue using these "tainted" colours. I'll be using only lead-free lip products in the future, so ultimately it comes down to whether the company chooses to use lead-free minerals or continues to use these lead containing minerals. I know that I won't be the only one to stop using Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers until they no longer contain lead."

The other thing which I didn't mention is that cosmetic regulatory bodies are a bit corrupt. It's common knowledge that many big brands sit on these boards and decide what is deemed "safe" and "unsafe". Personally, I see that as a conflict of interest but it is allowed. So when someone who may well have stakes in big cosmetic companies, like Estee Lauder for example, tells me that the ingredients that they use are safe, you can understand why i'm a bit sceptical. In the end it all comes down to money.

So what will I use instead? The following brands all have fabulous lip products that are free of toxins like lead. Ere Perez, Inika, Adorn, Youngblood, Alexami, Emani, RMS Beauty, Miessence, Dr Hauschka, NVEY ECO, Lavera, and Ilia (just to name a few). Kiss My Face also do a lip shimmer that is very similar to Burt's Bees but without the lead, although i'm not sure how easy it is to find here in Australia.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

And the winner is....


Congratulations to Elunia who has won my very first blog giveaway.

For all of my other followers who didn't win, don't despair! I have plenty of other goodies to giveaway in the future.

In other natural beauty news, i'm very sad to say that Ikigai, one of my favourite online stockists for natural beauty products in Austraia, is closing down forever! :(

The good news is that because they have to get rid of everything, everything on their online store is 35% off! They stock many of my favourite brands including Priti NYC, Be Genki, Alba, bod, Botani, Indah, John Masters, Kosmea, Lavera, Pangea, Sukin, Trilogy and Wotnot (just to name a few) so it's well worth stocking up. I'll be doing one last Ikigai haul before they close down for good.

Friday, 2 March 2012

My First Blog Giveaway is now CLOSED!

Just reminding everyone that my first blog giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who entered. I will draw the winner in the next couple of days and announce it here so keep your eyes peeled.

Hope that you're all staying safe in this crazy weather that we're having.

Monday, 27 February 2012

When you can't trust 100% natural products

Don't forget that my first blog giveaway closes in just 2 and a bit days. So if you haven't entered yet, read the details on this post and get entering.

If you read the Beauty Heaven Forums you probably noticed how I kicked up a big fuss last week about how much lead is in many popular brands of lipstick. I meant to write this post back then but have had this horrible nausea/dizzyness/migraine/flu thing that leaves me with no energy. By far the worst part though is that everything tastes like flour and cardboard except for my daily cups of tea. I'm a bit unsure about going to a doctor because i'm petrified of needles and the possibility of a blood test and I am slowly getting better so am thinking that maybe I just need to trust in my body a bit more to heal itself.

But anyway, onto the main topic. Lead in Lipsticks.

I had briefly heard that the FDA (American Food & Drug Administration) did some tests on lipsticks and found traces of lead in them but hadn't thought much of it until I heard that Burt's Bees, a well known natural cosmetics and skincare brand, was one of the culprits who allow traces of lead into their lip products.

One of the main reasons why I use natural products is because I believe them to be safer. Sure mother nature has her nasties but as consumers, we assume that natural cosmetics companies wouldn't put nasties into our lip products, right? That's what I thought until I scrolled down the list, past the likes of Maybelline, Covergirl, Rimmel, etc. and saw right there, on the FDA website that a 100% Natural Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer contained up to 2.81ppm of lead. Compare that to the 0.1 ppm that's allowed in candy and you can imagine why a lot of people are concerned. Another interesting development which I only just noticed now is that the one colour which had a reading of 2.81 ppm of lead, "Toffee", has been discontinued worldwide. Coincidence?
The other highest reading for Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers was the shade "Guava", a pretty sparkly pink (shown above), which is still for sale, even though it contains 2.24 ppm of lead.

What really concerns me is that I have heard of mothers giving Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers to their little girls because they believed them to be safe in case their daughters ate some. And yes, kids do eat lipstick. I once ate a whole Bonne Bell Lip Smacker when I was 6 (oh, and Play Doh - if I ever get stomach cancer I'll be blaming Play Doh and Lip Smackers). So do you still feel that these lip products are safe? I certainly don't. I fired off an email to Burt's Bees asking for a refund sometime last week and am yet to receive a reply - so i'm escalating it to facebook and putting it up on their wall for all of the internet to see.
So why is there so much lead in our lipsticks? One answer is that there are small amounts in our food, water, and air. But while this accounts for some of the lead, why then do some lip products vary greatly in their lead content based on colour? Let's look again at the Burt's Bees lip shimmers. Thankfully the FDA tested several colours. "Toffee" got a reading of 2.81 ppm while another only read 0.33 ppm so can we really blame it on our water? Absolutely not, it is the colour additives used. Burt's Bees even admitted this. Below is their response to my post on Beauty Heaven:

"Burt’s Bees are a long-term supporter of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, whose work along with ours is always in line with consumers’ best interest. Because the minerals we use to impart colour in our formulas come from the earth, these natural elements may contain small traces of lead. At Burt’s Bees, our consumers’ well-being and safety is of the utmost importance to us. If we felt that our consumers’ health was at risk, we would not be using these minerals in our products. Traces of lead can be found elsewhere and broadly in the environment including tap and well water. However, our R&D team is working with suppliers to find ways to identify, minimise and even eliminate trace elements of lead from our natural mineral sources."

Another post worth mentioning was from fellow Beauty Heaven member RebeccaLife who posted the following which is food for thought:

"While lead is dangerous, it is really only dangerous in high percentages.
 If you were to cut your lipstick up into a million particles, you would barely be able to even see them, then just one or two of those particles would be lead. Scientifically, this isn’t enough to be a health concern.
 Lead will be more commonly found in red and brown tones of lipsticks because it’s used in red/brown dyes. This goes for food dyes also. Lead is also found in glitter so it will commonly be in shimmery/frosty lipsticks also.
 Lead is a mineral that you will encounter every day, it’s virtually impossible to avoid and it isn’t harmful in these small amounts. Obviously, if you choose to avoid products containing lead that is completely up to you :)
 Because it is a naturally occurring substance, it would be incredibly hard to remove lead from products, even natural/organic products."

It's also worth linking to the original FDA Test Results and another article on toxins in our cosmetics.

So what do you think? Do you feel safe using lip products that contain lead in them? Do you feel that i'm entitled to a refund becaue my Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Raisin contains 0.44 ppm of lead?

And for a list of brands which are safe and care about their customers, it's worth reading Be Naturallyou's Brand Directory.