Why Experts Agree that “Hypoallergenic” is Meaningless

Why Experts Agree that Hypoallergenic Claims are Meaningless

Many people feel safer buying products labeled as hypoallergenic. It’s hard not to be influenced by products with hypoallergenic claims. With all the product safety regulations, most people assume that “hypoallergenic” means something. The term hypoallergenic conjures images of perfect, pristine ingredients and extensive testing, resulting in a safer product than products without the claim.

If only this were true!

In reality, there is no Federal standard by the FDA or the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) that governs the term hypoallergenic.

According to the FDA, the term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean. No regulatory body requires manufacturers to substantiate claims of being hypoallergenic. The FDA does not require third-party testing or even proof of any sort of testing.

History of FDAs Regulation Attempts

In the 1970’s, the FDA proposed regulation requiring cosmetic makers to conduct tests to substantiate hypoallergenic claims. Unfortunately, product manufacturers challenged the regulation in the courts and ultimately, the courts ruled against the FDA. Since then, the FDA has not succeeded in regulating the term.

The upshot being that hypoallergenic is simply a marketing term.

Hypoallergenic Claims

As a result, manufacturers can make hypoallergenic claims without any supporting evidence. And, as a consumer, you have no assurance that a “hypoallergenic” product will produce fewer allergic reactions than other products. You also have no assurance that these products will be more gentle to your skin.

How to Protect Yourself

You can take steps to protect yourself by reading the product ingredients and avoiding unhealthy, toxic substances. The FDA requires manufacturers to list most cosmetic ingredients on the label, with one exception. The exception is important. It allows manufacturers to list the generic term “fragrance” rather than the real substance.

The ability to obscure substances on labels poses problems because the term fragrance can represent over 3000 substances, some toxic and unhealthy. Clearly, not anything like you’d expect in a truly hypoallergenic product.

How do you protect yourself?

The best way to avoid unhealthy products is to use the Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep database. The database provides assessments and ratings for products. It will highlight any ingredients that may cause skin irritation, hormone disruption, asthma, cancer and more.

To summarize, as a consumer, you are not protected by product labeling regulations. You cannot trust the term hypoallergenic, but you can take steps to find the safest products.

Want to learn more about making the best choices for you and your family? Sign up for our 12-week e-course called The Zen of Pure Living. Each week, you’ll get a short email with important information and easy steps you can take.


Why Experts Agree that Hypoallergenic is Meaningless

Brilliant Gift Ideas Under $40 for a Healthy Life


Need some genius gift ideas for that healthy, eco-conscious person on your list? Try this list

Need some brilliant gift ideas for women? Especially the women you know who are healthy and eco-friendly? This list is sure to solve your problem. Many of these brilliant gift ideas would make great stocking stuffers or hostess gifts.

More Brilliant Gift Ideas…

All Natural Scents by Givescent

GIVESCENT All Natural Perfume

So many perfumes and colognes contain ingredients like phthalates and formaldehyde which are harmful to inhale or absorb. But, it’s hard to give up wearing a scent, isn’t it? What’s the solution?

We found GIVESCENT, a company that makes products that are free of alcohol, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and sulfates. And, they support wonderful organizations that aid women including Women for Women International and Every Mother Counts. Five percent of each purchase goes to these worthy organizations.

Givescent Signature Scent is a captivating blend of sun-ripened citrus and spicy vanilla inspired by the first sultry summer days in Italy.

Givescent Azure is a tranquil beach scent with subtle notes of amber and musk inspired by long summer days on the coast of Southern California.

Givescent Green is an invigorating blend of bergamot, lemon, and mint inspired by the citrus groves of the Mediterranean.

Givescent Orange is a sensuous blend of bergamot, grapefruit, and musk inspired by summer afternoons on the coast of Sardinia.

Regularly $49.00 – On Sale While Supplies Last $39.99 BUY NOW

Wool Dryer Balls with Lavender

Dryer Balls with LavenderThese wool dryer balls are handmade, felted, unscented, and 100% wool. Includes a 1 oz. vial of pure lavender essential oil. The balls will dry your clothes 15-20% faster, soften your clothing, and help reduce static. The lavender scent is calming.

Dryer Balls work by circulating the air in the dryer which allows the air to reach more of the laundry more quickly, causing the clothes to dry faster. Using more balls increases their effectiveness.

You’ll need a minimum of 3 balls (4 or 5 is really better for larger loads) to get the benefits.

Simply place several drops of lavender essential oil on the wool balls for a relaxing and fresh laundry scent.

$33.99 BUY NOW

Bee’s Wrap – Plastic Wrap Alternative

Looking for a way to reduce plastic and keep cheese, bread, and vegetables fresher? Try Bee’s Wrap, the plastic wrap alternative. Start with this Assorted Set of 3 in small, medium and large and then come back for more!

The perfect alternative to plastic wrap! Wrap bread, cheese, vegetables, or cover a bowl. Bee’s Wrap is the sustainable, natural alternative to plastic wrap for food storage.

Use the warmth of your hands to soften the wrap and create a seal. When cool, the wrap holds its shape.

Reusable: Wash in cool water with mild soap. Lasts up to 1 year.

Made in the USA of beeswax, organic cotton, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. Beeswax and jojoba oil have antibacterial properties.

Assorted Set of 3 includes:

  • 1 Small (7″ x 8″) wrap a lemon, avocado or small snack.
  • 1 Medium (10″ x 11″) wrap cheese, carrots, herbs or cover a bowl.
  • 1 Large (13″ x 14″) wrap half a melon, greens, baked goods or cover a bowl.

Watch the video to see how Bee’s Wrap works!

$18.00 BUY NOW

Organic Hydrating Mist

Hydrating Mist

Tones and hydrates with a refreshing blend of rosehip, ylang-ylang, resveratrol grapeseed oil and organic juices for a fresh, radiant complexion.

The perfect pick me up for dry winter months. Works for all skin types. Simply spritz Hydrating Mist on your face for a hydrating boost.


  • Tones & refreshes with resveratrol from organic grapeseed
  • Aromatherapeutic with pure essential oils of ylang-ylang & rosehips
  • Hydrates with organic aloe

Free of parabens, petroleum, propylene, sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, anything artificial and synthetic fragrances.

5 Star Rating.


Reusable Produce Bags

The perfect alternative to grocery store produce bags! Made of fine mesh with a drawstring. Machine washable and virtually weightless. Customers rave about these bags. Each bag can save over 1000 plastic bags.

These reusable bags are also great for bulk purchases like nuts. And, you can use them for making your own nut milk.

Reusable:  You can either wash by hand and hang to dry or use your washing machine and hang dry.

These reusable bags can easily save over 1000 plastic produce bags in its lifetime!


Assorted Set of 3 includes:


  • 2 Standard Size 11″ x 14″
  • 1 Large Size 14.5″ x 18.5″


$7.50 BUY NOW

Make Up Brush – Kabuki Brush

Honeybee Gardens Mini Kabuki Brush Bronzer:

Natural, sustainable bamboo handled luxury buffing brush has synthetic silky Taklon bristles, so it’s environmentally conscious and cruelty-free! 3.75 inches. Super soft and great for applying foundation, blush or blending eye color.

The extra bristle density holds minerals better than any other brush. The larger size and flat brush base make it MUCH easier to handle and work with than those little round brushes, and it’s at a price that can’t be matched.

A cosmetic necessity!

$12.99 BUY NOW

All Natural Bamboo Toothbrush & Holder

Brush with All Natural Bamboo. Set includes 4-pack of adult toothbrushes. 5 star rated by customers!

Every part of this product is plant-based: bristles, handle, wrapper, and box.

  • Soft bristles are made from a base of 62% castor bean oil (bio-based and recyclable, but not biodegradable). Bristles made in the USA.
  • The handle is made from 100% bamboo (organic and wild – no pesticides or fertilizers).
  • The wrapper around the toothbrush is plant-based and commercially compostable.
  • The box encasing the toothbrush is made from paper – no tape or glue is used.
  • Your bamboo toothbrushes can be used for just as long as plastic toothbrushes.
  • USDA Certified Biobased. Green American Certified. Vegan. BPA-Free. Natural and Non-toxic.



Set of 4 Toothbrushes $20.00 BUY NOW

Bamboo Travel Case $20.00 BUY NOW



Thinksport Stainless Steel Insulated Sport Bottle

This is the perfect Stainless Steel water bottle. It’s double-walled and vacuum-sealed stainless steel – keeps contents hot or cold for hours. Perfect for hot or cold beverages – does not sweat (for cold contents) or burn your hand (for hot contents).

Its contoured design makes the bottle easy to hold and visually distinctive from the many straight-walled bottles. And, it has a removable mesh filter that keeps ice from blocking the drinking spout and allows users to conveniently brew tea on the go.Unsurpassed testing for material safety! Thinksport products undergo rigorous chemical and biologic testing to insure they do not contain toxic chemicals. Comes in a variety of colors.

Unsurpassed testing for material safety! Thinksport products undergo rigorous chemical and biologic testing to insure they do not contain toxic chemicals. Comes in a variety of colors. Also available in 16 oz. size.

$16.99 BUY NOW

All Natural Hand Sanitizer

It’s impossible to find hand sanitizer that is all-natural and free of harmful chemicals which is why you’ll love this sanitizer by MamaSuds.

It’s free of parabens, phthalates, and triclosan. Perfect for cold and flu season.

Put one in every handbag, lunch box, and backpack. Take one to your office to help your co-workers.

Also, works as a room spray in a pinch.

This hand sanitizer is made with Aloe Vera Gel Juice that your skin will love and witch hazel to dry quickly. No more waving hands in the air. No Triclosan is needed since essential oils are used instead including lemon, tea tree, and cinnamon leaf which ward off unwanted germs.

$6.25 BUY NOW

HoneyBee Gardens Luscious Lip Gloss

Enriched with Vitamin E, cocoa butter, olive oil and shea butter, Honeybee Gardens new paraben-free lip gloss is super-moisturizing. It provides long-lasting shine without the stickiness of conventional lip glosses.

Available in 5 shades.

Honeybee Gardens is one of only 300 companies WORLDWIDE to have achieved CHAMPIONSHIP status with the Environmental Working Group for clean, healthy product formulas. This lip gloss makes wonderfully healthy lips!

The entire line is gluten-free, and a good portion of the line is vegan.


$11.99 BUY NOW

On the Go Water Bottle Filter

Water Bottle FilterThis water bottle filters water as you drink. Perfect for travel, gym, office or camping in the backcountry. Great way to reduce bottled water waste!

The activated coconut shell carbon reduces toxic chemicals, heavy metals, microscopic pathogens, chlorine, sediment, and dirt. So it’s safe to use everywhere from the backcountry to the office. Whether you’re using tap OR river water, you’ll be drinking the freshest water around.

Best of all, there’s no need to squeeze the bottle to force water up thru the filter to the straw. Also, throw it in the dishwasher to clean. The filter is good for 100 gallons of pure drinking water.
• Safely cleans tap or river water
• Micron 3 rated activated coconut shell carbon filter
• Made in the USA
• Free of BPA, phthalates, lead, leaching chemicals
• 9.5 inches tall – 25 oz capacity

$24.95 BUY NOW

Need gift ideas for men? Try our new line of all natural Men’s Products by Alluvian.


Are You Thriving or Merely Surviving?

Are you Surviving or Thriving?

By Dr. Ellen Albertson – Reprinted with permission from Dr. Ellen

Are you thriving or surviving? Be truthful. In the evening are you exhausted and just happy to have made it through another day? Are stress and worry; rather than joy, peace, and passion fueling your life? Then you’re probably surviving and not living in a state of optimal wellbeing.

There’s a huge difference between surviving and thriving. Survive means to “continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship.” Thrive means to “prosper, be fortunate or successful, to grow or develop vigorously; flourish.”

Survive mode is characterized by:

  • Choosing the path with the least resistance
  • Experiencing lack rather than abundance
  • Reacting rather than responding
  • Complaining and blaming others for your circumstances
  • Feeling inauthentic and stuck
  • Fearing failure and viewing it as a sign that things are going wrong instead of seeing it as a necessary part of success

Thrive mode is characterized by what psychologist Martin Seligman refers to in his book Flourish as experiencing PERMA:

  • Positive emotions
  • Engagement and flow
  • Positive Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishment

Many women, especially at midlife, want to thrive, and yet the majority of us are simply surviving. We want to feel vital, passionate, energized and excited about life, but the sense of flourishing we felt in our 20s and 30s has vanished.

Why are we surviving rather than thriving? The two main reasons I see with my clients are fear and habit. We’re scared of stepping into our brilliance and facing the unknown. Or we’re comfortably uncomfortable, stuck in a routine that’s kind of working but certainly isn’t making us happy. As I’ve discussed in previous posts there’s a nagging sense that you’re running out of time as if a Divine alarm clock has gone off signaling: “Get your shit together now and make something of this wonderful life before it’s too late.”

So how do you move from survive mode into thrive mode? Fortunately, there are scientifically proven strategies you can use to live a vibrant, happier life. The first step is to admit you’re merely surviving and want to thrive. Like Maya Angelou make thriving your mission in life!

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. –Maya Angelou

After you set an intention to THRIVE start using the 10 strategies below!

  1. Feel

Remember a period in your life when you were thriving. Spend time re-experiencing how thriving felt. Think about what you can do now to get that feeling back.

  1. The Gratitude Visit

This one’s simple, but effective. Think of someone who has had a major impact on your life and tell her how she’s helped you. You can send an e-mail, a letter, call or visit.

  1. Exercise

Engage in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. You’ll improve the health of your brain and body and feel more vital and energized.

  1. What Went Well

Every evening write down three things that when well in your life AND what you did to make them happen. (This is one of my favorite exercises in Seligman’s book.)

  1. Welcome change and challenges

Be optimistic. Rather than avoiding change and challenges welcome them as powerful tools to help you grow and learn. Believe that you have the resources and ability to thrive when faced with change and challenges. Not challenged? Do something that scares you. Click HERE for ideas.

  1. Discover your strengths

Make a list of your strengths. (Ask someone to help you or take Seligman’s FREE VIA Survey of character strengths test by clicking HERE.) Once you identify your strengths find new ways to use them.

  1. Increase positivity

According to psychologist Barbara Fredrickson experiencing more positive emotions when we interact with others is key for wellbeing. Be positive when you interact with others and encourage others to do the same for you. Surround yourself with people who are positive, thriving and supportive and limit your exposure to people who are negative

  1. Savor

Take the time to savor all life’s joys and pleasures. When something good happens to you take it all in. Be mindful. Slow down. Pause for a moment to take in the good around you. Congratulate yourself when you do well. Spend time with people you love. Fill your life with pleasure and give yourself permission to enjoy.

  1. Increase flow experiences

Flow, also known as being in the zone, is the mental state where you are fully engaged, focused and involved in an activity. Find at least one activity (such as dancing, painting, singing, bird watching, hiking, playing a game or instrument, writing….) that puts you in this state of enjoyment. Do it several times a week.

  1. Be kind

imgresOne of the most powerful ways to thrive is simply being kind. Being kind is easy. Yet doing a kind act creates a powerful, scientifically proven increase in wellbeing. Don’t take my word for it, experiment with kindness today. Find one completely unexpected kind thing to do and just do it. Notice how your mood shifts. For ideas click HERE. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself. It’s a fabulous way to practice self-compassion.

Set an intention TODAY to thrive rather than merely survive. Yes, choosing to thrive will push you out of your comfort zone and may feel harder than surviving especially initially. But is surviving really that comfortable?

Need help thriving? Click HERE to contact Dr. Ellen and schedule a complimentary coaching session.

About the Author

Dr. Ellen Bio

Dr. Ellen is a Psychologist, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Wellcoach® and Reiki Master. The Glow & Grow Coach, Dr. Ellen teaches women at mid-life how to harmonize the dance of their lives with the song in their hearts and flow with grace, beauty and ease. She’s passionate about helping others let go of who they think they’re supposed to be & embrace who they are.
Learn more about Dr. Ellen

Connect with Dr. Ellen on facebook and on twitter.

The Easy Way to Avoid Toxic Nail Polish

Toxic Nail Polish - How to Find Safer Alternatives

Who doesn’t love a manicure or pedicure especially at a nail salon? A salon manicure can be so relaxing. Unfortunately, nail products typically contain harmful substances that are unregulated.

If you’ve spent any time at all in a nail salon, you’ve smelled the fumes of polish removers, polish, and gel nail products. And, I’m sure you’ve wondered about what you are breathing. So, how do you avoid toxic nail polish?

You can enjoy a safe manicure using these tips.

How to Avoid Toxic Nail Polish

First, you must understand the limitations of FDA regulations.

You probably think that the FDA has programs for testing products.

Well, it doesn’t.

The FDA cannot and does not require companies to do product safety tests. And, the FDA does not review or approve the majority of personal care products.

In fact, the FDA has prohibited only a handful of substances in your personal care products. This explains why your products can contain toxins like formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, toluene, and flame retardants.

So, this places the burden on you to find safe products.

Is 3-Free the Answer?

Recently, companies started labeling their nail polishes as 3-Free meaning that their polish did not contain the formaldehyde, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate. This is welcome because you really don’t want these toxins in your nail polish. Here’s why:

Dibutyl Phthalate – Used to make polish last longer and make it more flexible; however, it is increasingly linked to brain, behavioral changes, cancer and reproductive system harm. Dibutyl Phthalate is banned in Europe and listed as a developmental toxin in California.

Formaldehyde – Used as a nail hardener even though it’s a known carcinogen, asthmagen, and neurotoxin

Toluene – Used to make polish smooth; however, it’s linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, irritation

Other nail polishes are labeled 5-Free meaning that the polish doesn’t contain any formaldehyde resin or camphor. Formaldehyde resin shares the same harmful qualities as formaldehyde.

But, is 3-Free or 5-Free good enough? Should you feel good about your manicure if you opt for these 3/5-Free brands?

Probably not. Here’s why.

Safety of Dibutyl Phthalate Substitute Questioned

A lot of these 3-Free and 5-Free polishes substituted Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) for Dibutyl Phthalate. TPHP makes polish flexible and durable, and it is also used as a chemical flame retardant.

Sometimes substitutes for harmful substances may not really be safe either.

Over the last decade, Dibutyl Phthalate has been replaced with TPHP. Many nail polishes now contain this new substance. A recent study by Duke University and the Environmental Working Group suggests that TPHP is absorbed through the skin and found evidence of exposure in all 26 participants.

Animal studies indicate it is an endocrine disruptor and another study linked exposure to fertility problems. As a further red flag, the EPA added TPHP to its list of chemicals requiring in-depth reviews because of its widespread use.

What’s the bottom line?

Since 3-Free and 5-Free polishes may contain TPHP, you can’t be certain that these polishes are safe.

What is a safe polish?

List of Safe, Water-Based Nail Polishes

Safer nail polish is available. Most nail polishes are solvent-based, but several personal care product companies have developed water-based polishes free of acetate.

These polishes are free from harsh chemical odors. Water-based polishes won’t harden as fast as solvent-based, so there is a drawback. However, most customer reviews were positive.

SOPHi Naturals

Suncoat Nail Polish

Piggy Paint (for children)

Honeybee Gardens Nail Polish

Keeki Pure & Simple

If you are a frequent user of nail polish, it’s probably a good idea to reduce your chronic exposure to these harmful chemicals and try these safer alternatives.

Learn more about how to avoid the worst things in personal care products because it’s important to your health. Making a simple change to a safer less toxic nail polish can make a difference in your toxic exposure.


“Triphenyl phosphate, found in ‘eco-friendly’ nail polish, spurs worries”, Chicago Tribune

“Nail polish as a source of exposure to triphenyl phosphate”, PubMed

Campaign for Safer Cosmetics

“Found Toxic Nail Polish in Women’s Bodies”, EWG.org

Killer Ice Cream, Genius Food Prep & More Goodness

Killer Ice cream, genius food prep, and more goodness

It’s summer. My favorite season. Life just seems simpler and less rushed. And, even though it’s really hot and the mosquitoes are biting, I still love summer’s freedom.

This probably comes from my childhood when we were free to spend the entire summer day out with friends–all we needed was a bike, swimsuit, and towel. And, even though I no longer get around on a bike and I have a job that requires at least 8 hours of my summer day, I always feel freer in the summer.

So, speaking of freedom, I’ve got five ways that will help you enjoy this summer, and feel freer.

#1 Killer Ice Cream

You’ve got to try this Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream by Whole Natural Life. It’s simple to make. Only takes 4 ingredients: coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Since it’s made without sugar and dairy, it’s a lot healthier than your typical ice cream. Get the recipe for Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream.

Cinnamon Coconut Ice Cream

You’ll want to make a larger batch than the recipe calls for or risk being disappointed when this disappears before you’ve had seconds! It’s perfect on its own or with baked apple or maybe even apple pie. Always pairs well with pumpkin pie, so you can have a little summer during winter.

#2 Genius Food Prep Trick – Chicken Still Frozen? Try this!

Oops! You forgot to thaw the chicken…again! Instead of running to the grocery store for the Plan B dinner or doing take-out, try this approach to roast a whole frozen chicken.

How to Roast a Frozen Chicken

A Modern Homestead outlines each step (it’s pretty simple) and provides a great recipe for roasted (frozen) chicken with potatoes, carrots, onions, and of course garlic!

And, remember, save some leftovers to enjoy cold on your summer picnic.

#3 Genius Food Prep Tip – How to Meal Prep Like a Boss

To be honest, I had never heard of Meal Prep until I discovered Pinterest a few years ago. I was always one of those people who started planning dinner pretty close to dinner time. Of course, this means a lot of trips to the grocery store at the last minute. It also means more night’s punting by going out to dinner or doing take-out.

6 Tips to Meal Prep like a Boss

But, I found this post with 6 tips about how to meal prep like a boss. It’s smart and will free up a lot of time, so you can enjoy more of your summer. You start by taking an hour or two to plan. Small Bites Wellness lays out the plan and gives you loads of ideas for every type of planner.

Very smart.

#4 How to Make Almond Milk

Since summer time is a bit slower, you’ve got time to make your own almond milk. I promise you that once you’ve made your own milk, you’ll have a hard time going back to your store-bought version. I switched to homemade because I wanted to avoid some of the thickeners like carrageenan that I’ve heard may cause gut inflammation.

At first, I thought it was too time-consuming, but now I can get it made in just five minutes and it’s perfectly spiced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and turmeric.

Try A Modern Homestead’s recipe for Almond Milk. You’ll be happy you did.

#5 More Goodness to  Share – How to Make Turmeric Capsules

How to Make Turmeric Capsules

You need to keep your healthy summer look as long as possible, right? You might want to try Turmeric. After all, The Not So Perfect Housewife describes it as the coconut oil of supplements.

Turmeric helps reduce pain and boosts the immune system. Learn how to make Turmeric capsules using organic Turmeric and a secret ingredient that releases Turmeric’s goodness.

Please share these tips with your friends to help them make the most of the summer!