Erase Sun Spots, Naturally

October 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco, Modern

By: Rachel Sarnoff

Got spots? A true friend won’t let you get away with calling them “freckles,” and we’re totally the real deal. Those dark patches are in fact hyperpigmentation, a sign of sun damage caused by an increase in melanin production, which happens when the skin is trying to protect itself from overexposure to UV rays.

So now that summer’s over, how do you get rid of the resulting spots?

Dermatologists and estheticians might prescribe hydroquinone, a lightening agent that’s super-effective because it suppresses melanin production. But hydroquinone is also a major Big List offender: It’s been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity; it’s toxic to the immune system, a known skin irritant and allergen, an endocrine disruptor, and classified as an air pollutant and pesticide by the EPA.

Oh, and if you stop using it for a minute the spots come back in triplicate.

So what’s a bespeckled gal to do?

Exfoliate. Removing surface layers of damaged skin will lighten dark spots over time, as new skin replaces damaged skin. Try an AHA product like REN’s Resurfacing AHA Concentrate. The potent, yet non-irritating blend of glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids promotes skin-cell turnover, leaving skin looking brighter and smoother while working to lighten those dark spots.

Lighten up. Use a safe, natural lightening formula like Tatcha’s Deep Brightening Complex. Made without hydroquinone or a number of other nasties, it’s formulated with time-tested, Asian botanicals plus their patented HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex brightens areas of darker pigmentation for more radiant skin.

Cover up. Wear a physical (not chemical)  SPF every day, even on cloudy, cold, winter days. Yes, every minute counts: You can soak up necessary vitamin D by exposing the rest of your body to the sun, but not your face! COOLA makes fantastic, no-nano, titanium dioxide based sunscreens, with matte formulations available for oily girls, and hydrating for those with dry or sensitive skin. Both are available in a tinted version that we’re obsessed with: Just add a little mineral powder and you’re good to go.

Moral of the story? As tempting as a quick fix for sun spots it may be, do yourself a big favor and skip the hydroquinone in favor of safe-and-effective natural options.

Swag alert! Swag alert! Week of 12.10.12 FOUR EcoStiletto subscribers will each win a $36 COOLA mineral sunscreen of their choice. Tell a friend! Subscribing is free and that’s $100 in swag. Not a subscriber? Click through to sign up, already! 


Alysia Reiner Exclusive Interview

October 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco, Modern

By: Rachel Sarnoff/ Eco Stilleto

Alysia Reiner stole scenes in “Sideways” and “Kissing Jessica Stein” but our biggest props go to her eco-commitment. Alysia, an award-winning actress and producer who green renovated a Harlem brownstone with her husband David Alan Basche in 2007, currently appears in “Backwards.” In this exclusive interview with EcoStiletto, our source for sustainable fashion, beauty & lifestyle, Alysia talks the walk.

EcoStiletto: So what are you up to these days?

Alysia Reiner: It’s been a crazy few days with the premieres of Backwards, which comes out September 21st. They just sent me the most beautiful dresses to wear. I need to find an eco-designer but meanwhile I love borrowing—it’s so much more green than buy-and-wear-once!

You just wrapped “Primrose Lane.” Is it true that you asked the makeup artist to use eco-friendly makeup on set?

Actually, it was the first film I ever worked on where I requested green makeup and they not only listened, they had it planned already! It’s nice to have a green rep.

Usually, I do what I can to green a set:  bring my own coffee mug (love this corn plastic one), bring my own cutlery set (got this super-cute one on etsy), make sure there are recycling bags and bring a pen so people can label their water bottles and coffee cups.

But makeup is a hard one. Most makeup artists are not that into eco friendly choices. YET. Every makeup artist in the world now uses Joa instead of Purell, but that’s as green as they get. (P.S. I am MAD for their GOE body oil. OMG amazing!)

Who was the makeup artist? Was she a green beauty girl?

It was Nikki  Williams. She was great because she wasn’t married to any brands and open to trying anything.

What brands did you use?

We used mostly Bare Essentials  and Jane Iredale. I hadn’t used either a lot before and thought both were good. I’m now a Bare girl—love the powder. My director felt both were ideal for shooting HD.

I also brought a few secret weapons. I am a huge TARTE fan. No, they’re not organic but a lot of it is free of petrochemical crap, and they have an awesome Lip Tint/Stain that I love in Rose. It’s very wine colored—love love—and STAYS ON, which is so key for film.

I also love RMS Uncover—it’s so great for undereye and covering red—from Spirit Beauty Lounge. I love a ton of stuff from Spirit Beauty, but that’s another article!

Thanks Alysia! Hopefully we can talk again soon!


Alysia Reiner in Theia at the “Backwards” premiere. Photo: Radar Online

Natalie Portman’s Secret Weapon Against Stretch Marks

October 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Beauty, Eco, Modern

By: Rachel Sarnoff/Ecostilleto

Are expensive eco lotions and potions really worth it? When EcoStiletto, our source for sustainable fashion, beauty & lifestyle, heard about Natalie Portman’s secret — albeit expensive — weapon against stretch marks, they had to check it out.

According to Pai, their vegan Stretch Mark System—a cream to be used in the morning, and an oil at night—was Natalie’s go-to throughout her pregnancy.

No expense was spared in the formulation: Pai utilizes an omega-rich blend of seven oils, and eschews essential oils to make the duo suitable for all stages of pregnancy—including the stage where the scent of anyfragrance makes you want to throw up.

And no petrochemical crap’s in the mix either: Pai eschews synthetics, artificial fragrances, alcohol, parabens, phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, formaldehyde and sodium lauryl sulfate, among other things.

But is the cost worth it? Natalie Portman is one gorgeous mama. You be the judge.

For more beauty bits check out Ecostilleto 

Swag alert! Week of 11.12.12 FOUR EcoStiletto Subscribers will each win a $25 jar of Farmaesthetics Deep Lavender Rub. Subscribing is free and that’s $100 in swag. Not a subscriber? Click through to sign up, already! 


Do You Know There’s Lead In Lipstick?

October 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco, Modern


Whether you’re going natural or rocking red lips this season, make sure to color your pout with a lead-free, lip-loving formula.

Lead in lipstick? Indeed. EcoStiletto, our source for sustainable fashion, beauty & lifestyle, uncovered a 2007 FDA study, the neurotoxin—in varying levels—showed up in more than 400 lipsticks tested.

And while the FDA claims the level of exposure is low enough to be deemed safe, given the fact that lead accumulates in our bodies over time, we’ll follow guidelines established by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Steer clear when you can.

Lead isn’t the only lipstick ingredient to eschew. Also commonly found in many conventional formulas are artificial fragrances, parabens, and retinyl palmitate, all of which have high risk—five to eight—ratings on EWG’s Cosmetics Database.

So what’s a girl looking for a little color to do? Opt for natural options with clean ingredients, such as Alicia Silverstone for Juice Beauty’s new Purely Kissable Lip Color. In a universally flattering pale pinky-mauve, it goes on smooth with great shine. And of course, as all things Alicia, it’s vegan.

Two other amazing (non-vegan) faves with nearly cult-like followings are Primitive MakeUp and Ilia, both with hues and wearability to rival any top-tier tube. We’re especially loving Primitive’s Juneau Lip Treatment, a sheer pearl that adds a beautiful shimmer over matte lip pencil or stick.

Pucker up.


Alicia Silverstone for Juice Beauty Purely Kissable Lip Color ($16)

Swag alert! Week of 12.18.12 SIX EcoStiletto Subscribers will each win a $16 tube of Alicia Silverstone for Juice Beauty’s new Purely Kissable Lip Color. But wait, there’s more: During the week of 12.24.12 THREE EcoStiletto Subscribers will each win a $100 gift set of Primitive Makeup Lip Treatment and Pencils in six different shades, including Juneau. Subscribing is free and that’s $400+ in swag. Not a subscriber? Click through to sign up, already! 


Safe Chemicals Headed To The Hill- 36 Years Late

August 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco, Entertainment, Modern, News

By: Rachel Sarnoff

Senator Lautenberg celebrates on Capitol Hill. Photo: Chicago Tribune

Ready for some big news? The Senate voted to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This may sound like just more political posturing to some, but for those of us involved in children’s environmental health, it’s a ridiculously big deal.

What’s the big deal about TSCA? It was passed in 1976 and hasn’t been touched since. It’s the reason we have flame retardants in our kids’ mattresses andBPA in their baby bottles (until recently).

Senator Frank Lautenberg has sponsored the Safe Chemicals Act each year since 2005. If the bill becomes law, it will be the first time that manufacturers would have to submit health and safety data for the chemicals that they produce.

And the EPA would have the power to restrict chemicals that cannot be proven safe — under TSCA, the EPA can only require safety testing after a chemical has demonstrated hazardous toxicity. According to the Chicago Tribune, “the EPA acknowledges that it knows little, if anything, about the safety of most of the 84,000 industrial compounds in commercial use in the U.S.”

The Senate, which voted on party lines — all Democrats in favor of reform; all Republicans opposed — is still under pressure from lobbying groups like the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates and will need bipartisan support to proceed.

I think those that voted for reform should be supported and those who are against it should know better, don’t you? That’s why I spent yesterday tweeting their names. Care to join me?


Senator Lautenberg celebrates on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

@FrankLautenberg, @EPWChairBoxer, @MaxBaucus, @SenatorCarper, @SenatorCardin, @SenSanders, @SenJeffMerkley, @SenGilligrand, @SenWhitehouse & @SenatorTomUdall all voted 4 the #SafeChemicalsAct.

Shame on @jiminhofe, @DavidVitter, @SenJohnBarrasso, @SenatorSessions, @MikeCrapo,  @SenAlexander, @Mike_Johanns & @JohnBoozman, who all voted against. (Twitter handles courtesy of @SaferChemicals.)

Feel like getting involved? Tweet this!

You can find more on Rachel at Mommygreenest.  She also founded, and appeared on Today and CNN to talk about a judgment-free, eco-conscious lifestyle. She is the former Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World and was editor-in-chief of Children magazine before she had kids. Rachel lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children, who range in age from preschooler to teen. You can follow her on twitter @rachellsarnoff


FDA Bans BPA, But Alternatives May Be Worse

July 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco, Modern, News

By: Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff


Could this be the source of serious hormone-disruptors?

Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, has been a rallying point for parents everywhere. Once we found out about problems associated with the industrial chemical, which is used to harden plastics used in food storage containers, water bottles, toys, and other consumer goods, we raised such a ruckus that the substance was banned for use in bottles and sippy cups in 11 states.

On Tuesday, the FDA announced a nation-wide ban on the substance in bottles and sippy cups. Huzzah!

But BPA is still a bad word for many parents who “vote with their dollars” by refusing to buy these products, so the chemical industry is looking for options.

study published this week found bisphenol S, a BPA alternative, on all cash register paper in the United States, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, as well as on 87% of paper currency and 52% of recycled paper in these countries.

The study’s authors reported that BPS has some of the same estrogen-mimicking effects of BPA, and that people may now be absorbing 19 times more BPS through their skin than when BPA was used to coat paper.

As parents, why should we be worried about these chemicals? Well, first off, as this new study proves, they’re everywhere —even on receipts and money, ubiquitous to daily life. Our kids are exposed to them through multiple sources practically 24/7.

But more specifically, they mimic estrogen in the body, thus tricking it into starting the process of puberty earlier than necessary.

As I wrote in a post about my moody pre-pubescent daughter last year, a study published in Pediatrics found that one in 10 girls has already begun developing breasts—the first sign of puberty—by the age of eight and that the cause might be exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals like BPA.

And recent studies have shown even more serious problems, like one recently published in the International Journal of Clinical Oncology, which showed a link between a common brain tumor called meningloma and BPA.

What can you do? In addition to limiting your use of plastic, which I shared some tips on last week, and washing your hands, which can not only limit BPA/BPS exposure but protect your family from flame retardants too, consider employing the “no, thanks” method of protection.

Try to use credit cards instead of cash, and in the same way you might politely decline a plastic bag, just ask the cashier to throw away your register receipt. You already have the transaction recorded online and on your statement —should you require a paper trail— do you really need it in your wallet, too?

You can find more on Rachel at Mommygreenest.  She also founded, and appeared on Today and CNN to talk about a judgment-free, eco-conscious lifestyle. She is the former Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World and was editor-in-chief of Children magazine before she had kids. Rachel lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children, who range in age from preschooler to teen. You can follow her on twitter @rachellsarnoff



Enviro-Mentally Exhausted

April 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco

By: Caren Gillespie

If you met me in person, you might think I’m pretty eco friendly. Compared to many people in this country, I am! I’m a former Dead-head, long haired, yuppie hippie who started caring about what was happening to the earth from early on. I was very into Earth Day in the 90s. I planted trees, rode my bike everywhere, hiked the mountains and basically did what I could with what education I had and what resources were offered at the time. Flash forward to the new millennium and here in Seattle, you would think Earth day is every day. Here, “eco” has come a long way. Armed with my grocery totes, I fall right in with other Seattleites who gravitate to the “organic products” available to us everywhere. But I think we still have a long way to go.

we have access to so many things in this country that “help” save the earth but, in its abundance, it begs the question “does it really help?”

Consumer Reports recently did a study and found that a large percentage of Americans stopped buying eco-friendly products because they were too expensive and they didn’t feel they worked well. It’s amazing in a world with iPads and robotic surgeries, we cannot make a product that works better on cleaning my dishes than me spit washing them. In a nutshell (organic of course) here are my gripes about our uber-green movement:

Warning: Going green means actually turning green!

Light bulbs: I walk into my living room in the evening and notice a green glow….”Honey, why does it look different in here?” He replies sheepishly “Oh, I didn’t think you’d notice. I put in those CFL light bulbs.” Yes, I noticed! How do you not notice when your house has a hue of green? He put them in the bathroom too; this is where I get ready to face the world every morning! Yes, I know there are CFLs with different light ratings, but we’ve tried them all it seems and none come close to the warmth of the incandescent. Again, can’t we invent an energy efficient light bulb that reflects light the same as a standard? It’s a light bulb!
Laundry detergent: in our house the “whites” load is now anything but white. Look at an eco-friendly person in white closely enough, and you’ll see they aren’t wearing white but a shade of greenish-grey that all the “eco” detergents seem to leave.
Liquid Hand Soap: Great, they are sulfate free, but did you know that if you pour a whole bottle of oil down your drain, it will clog? If you read the ingredients of the Eco-liquid hand soaps you will see they are made up of mostly oil! It’s my theory but I have some clogged drains to prove it. Did you know that being green is chic now? Tell me you haven’t bought a hand soap or household cleaner simply because you liked its label. I have.
Organic produce:
If you are an organic produce buyer like me, you are also damned.

It’s not enough to buy organic, because if you do buy those organic grapes from Chile, your carbon footprint has increased because of the fossil fuels used to transport them to the U.S.!

So now some people think it is better to buy local conventional (non-organic) produce than to buy imported organic produce. I get it, we don’t want to use the Earth’s resources but we also don’t want to poison our children, so we deny them grapes and bananas and most other things because here, in Seattle, we have apples….apples people!

Grocery shopping on the whole gets a bit out of hand here in Seattle. It’s a brave soul who forgets their reusable bags at a grocery store—we actually came real close to passing a law banning anything else!

You feel the tension mount as the bagger utters those dreaded words almost spitefully and unforgivingly loud “PAPER OR PLASTIC MA’AM?”

Well at that point, you might as well have set a forest fire in the mountains. It is unrelenting scorn you will feel in this city, not an ounce of forgiveness. Let’s be honest. We’ve all been on both sides of this. With all this pressure, it’s no wonder that Amazon Fresh is so popular these days. No one watches you buy non-organic Cheetos and high fructose corn syrup-y soda. It’s all private; like that “Playboy” magazine that comes cleverly wrapped in brown paper so your mailman and neighbors won’t know your significant other likes a good “article” now and then.

Are you rolling your eyes now, thinking I am “that” mom who just doesn’t get it? Yes I get it, but succumb to it all? No way. I used to walk into a grocery store and have this unexplainable anxiety as I would shop. I had to let that go. I want my kids to enjoy food, not worry about it so much. I don’t want them to feel that anxiety in the school lunchroom as their friends envy the lunch they brought. “Hey! How come you got chips? The tuna came from a can, not fresh caught.” Honestly, I do teach my children what healthy food to put into their bodies and respect how it makes their bodies feel. They are happy with one small scoop of ice cream and consider that a treat instead of the gargantuan sizes restaurants serve these days. They know the difference, but they also know they have the freedom to make choices. I feel I also have that right. So yes, I will bring my reusable bags a ‘plenty to my local grocery store, farmers’ market and even Target and occasionally I will forget them. I have a compost bin on my kitchen counter with rotting food (which just seems like an oxymoron for a healthy environment, but it helps our Seattle parks), but an eggshell might find its way down my drain. I buy healthy food for my family and make most of our meals at home. I even bought part of a cow from a sustainable and organic local farm last year. Yes, I have my limits and am very conscious of my “footprint”, but to keep up with the eco trends that riddle our city, well, I don’t have that kind of time or money. It comes down to what works for your family and not necessarily the easiest route but one that doesn’t deter from more important things in life. Choose your battles, be mindful of your actions and consequences and don’t worry so much, it’s a good example for everyone.


It Ain’t Easy Being Green

April 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco

By: Annette Cottrell

There is so much buzz in the media these days about being green:  green products, eco houses, hybrid cars.  Every time you turn around there is a new chance to “do the right thing” by spending money.  I think many of us are unsure about what the right thing to do is, so we plunk our money down and substitute the new green thing for the old not-as-green thing and carry on with our lives.

It’s been said that eco buying is elitist because only those of us with expendable income can afford to buy organic food and special biodegradable garbage bags.  But it’s precisely those of us with expendable income who are doing the most damage to the planet.  We are buying more stuff made from finite natural resources that will end up in landfills mere months later.  We all need to realize and admit that We. Are. The. Problem.

Why should we care that the world’s natural forests are nearly all gone?  Or that animals in the Amazon Rain Forest and indigenous peoples are becoming extinct when it’s not happening in our own backyards?  Because our consumption and disposal habits are doing this.  We are the problem.

And because we are the problem we need to be the solution.

Why Green Products are Not the Answer

At some point we need to take a hard look at our behaviors.  Maybe merely swapping labels isn’t the answer.  Green products are one of the fastest growing trends today.  But do they really help?  They may use fewer chemicals and toxins, although there is no requirement for “green” manufacturers to do so.

Much like the high fructose corn syrup industry, which launched an ad campaign last year claiming to be healthier than sugar because you use less of it, the “greenness” of these items may be more in the marketing message than the actual product.

Certainly green products use the same packaging, distribution channels, and disposal processes that conventional products do.  So are they really that much better than?

The Lost “R”

Anyone who came of age in the eighties or later has had the credo “Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle” drilled into their heads.

What you may not remember is that in the late seventies, when this campaign began, it was originally “Refuse, Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle.”  Somehow the Refuse part conveniently disappeared from the slogan.

It’s precisely the Refuse part that we need to practice and that will do the greenest good.

You’ll find several days’ worth of reading on how to reduce, re-use and recycle all over the internet so I won’t re-hash those fine and worthy tips here. Instead I’ll share my story with you and hope that it inspires you to refuse some level of consumption in your life.

I Refuse

A year and a half ago I read “Animal Vegetable Miracle” followed by “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and they shook my world.

I vowed not to give a single dollar to a food company or feed lot operation again.

I drew a line in the sand and have crossed it with only a few exceptions since then.

I bought a counter top grain grinder for about the same chunk of change that I had previously spent on my espresso maker.  I found a local grain farmer and bought 50 pounds of wheat berries from him.  I learned how to use those wheat (or spelt or emmer or rye or oat) berries and a few other ingredients that everybody has in their cupboard to make almost any non-refrigerated processed food product you could buy at the grocery store.

It’s the greenest thing I’ve ever done.

What’s in Your Garbage?

Look at your recycling and your garbage can the next time you take out your trash.  If you’ve already contacted and you aren’t using disposable diapers on little ones it should be mostly filled with food packaging.  Imagine if there were no cans, tetra packs, boxes, or plastic wrappers to throw away.  What would you have left?

A Shrinking Problem

Once we had eaten down our cupboards of existing food stuff and stopped buying unnecessary household cleaners, our garbage virtually disappeared.

Suddenly I was not creating demand for the manufacturing of boxes that felled trees, cans that mined the earth, waxy tetra pack linings that required the manufacture of BPA and other toxic chemicals or plastics.  I was not creating demand for food companies to create synthetic ingredients, preservatives or additives for processed foods.  I was not supporting a distribution system that flew or trucked non-local -or worse -out of season foods grown in heated greenhouses half way around the world.

I was not supporting feed lot operations that were not only inhumane but destroyed watersheds and ozone layers.  I was not supporting a commodities market that destroyed small and diverse farmland.  And I was not supporting seed companies that threatened the survival of open pollinated, heirloom seeds with GE varieties which then required more pesticides to bring to market than heirloom, organic crops did.

I was becoming less of the problem but I knew I could do more.

I took out my lawn and planted an organic fruit and vegetable garden.  I grow all of our produce and can some things, but have learned to eat seasonally since it requires no canning and less effort on my part.

Any plant parts we don’t eat go to our backyard chickens.  I grow forage for the hens who eat my cover crops, scratch it up while hunting for any bugs that might destroy my crops, and till it in.  They poop while tilling and thereby fertilize the garden for me.  In addition to that gardening help, they give me beautiful organic, free-range eggs the likes of which you will never find at a grocery store.

Any food we don’t eat the hens eat or we compost to fertilize the garden.  The garden feeds us and the hens, who feed us and the garden.

I have completely re-thought food.

Re-thinking Food Leads to Re-thinking Consumption

I’ve done lots of other things like only using cloth diapers, rechargeable batteries, and LED lightbulbs.  I turn down my thermostat, turn off unnecessary appliances, carpool, wash my car less often, do not use chemicals on my lawn.  These things are important too.

But something happens to you when you rethink food.  It makes you rethink your whole life because food is the most fundamental thing there is.  It’s the fastest way to change behavior, or build community, or create happiness.

Somehow we’ve lost the connection with food and it’s filtered through to every aspect of our lives.  We are disconnected with what we eat and what we are doing to the planet.

Once you stop going to the grocery store for food you will look at every item in your cupboards.  You might learn to make toothpaste from salt and baking soda, or lotion from olive oil and beeswax.  You might start cleaning your house with baking soda and vinegar and feel confident doing so because those two, non-toxic items, when used in tandem, kill more germs than bleach.  You just might refuse to buy all those other unnecessary products, rather than trying to swap a white-labeled product for a green labeled one.  You might just refuse.

My message to you is this:  rethink food and refuse.  It will be the most powerful, greenest thing you will ever do.  And if everyone did it we could change the world.

Annette Cottrell blogs about living sustainably in the city at

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. [green image: flickr member Dylan 66]

The Overdrive Mobile Hotspot was well received. Please order another one and lets put it on a DAC called “Talent Search 1″. Also, can you put the first one, 323.490.3548 on a DAC called “Talent Search 2″?
Also, the wireless management website has been down for almost 2 weeks.
Annette Cottrell blogs about living sustainably in the city at www.sustainableeats.comAnnette Cottrell blogs about living sustainably in the city at www.sustainableeats.comThe Overdrive Mobile Hotspot was well received. Please order another one and lets put it on a DAC called “Talent Search 1″. Also, can you put the first one, 323.490.3548 on a DAC called “Talent Search 2″?
Also, the wireless management website has been down for almost 2 weeks.