Following up: A review of Ingredients in the latest Version of Burt’s Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream

Using the Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care book by Aubrey Hampton, and the EWG skin care web site, we will detail the meaning of each ingredient to see if the product’s integrity has declined since the acquisition by Estee Lauder of Burt’s Bees:

Prunus Amagdalus Dulcis- Sweet almond oil

Oil, water, beeswax, aloe berbadensis  leaf juice, kaolin, fragrance ( with an asterisk that follows up as “natural fragrance”),

citrus grandis-grapefruit seed extract

tocopherol- vitamin e

non fat dry milk

carageenan-  Red seaweed. Irish moss. Approved by FDA but causes inflammation when ingested. Using it on the skin: in this case it can be a problematic result from separated a chemical constituent from the entire plant.  People have been found to have eczema outbreaks with ingestion of this ingredient.

glycerin- Can be of an animal or a plant derivation. In this case it is not specified.  Used to be specifically a bi-product of soap making using animal fats but there is mow a plant based source.

glycine soja (soybean) oil

stearic acid- A fatty wax. Gives the product a waxy feel.  “Commercial stearic acid is often a mixture of stearic and palmitic acids, although purified stearic acid is available.” Wikipedia. Whether this has to be labeled can make the difference in the products safety. Palmitic acids-

glucose- sugar

sodium borate- Borax. This ingredient is listed as a moderate overall hazard.  It has low to moderate developmental and reproductive toxicity, as listed by EWG Skin Deep website, with a note that the product is banned in Canada as a cosmetic.  The reference for the potential harm to developmental and reproductive toxicity is found y European Union Classification and Labeling. The Canadian Environment Domestic List categorizes it as hazardous and banned as cosmetic. The FDA in The United States seems to find no problem with it which makes a consumer wonder if they have a high enough safety standard to use their approved products without reticence.

sodium chloride- table salt

citric acid- Acid from citrus fruits used as a skin peeling agent.

sucrose- sugar, monosaccharide

lactoperoxidase- enzyme found naturally in milk

glicose oxidase- catalyzes the oxidation of glucose to hydrogen. Sounds like a free radical causing substance. Used as a stabalizer in hair conditioner and skin cream. questionable toxicity level.

sodium benzoate- Preservative that is banned in Japan in cosmetics by Japan’s Standards of Cosmetics.

potassium sorbate- Potassium salt used as a preservative. Is an allergen.

potassium iodide- Inorganic antimicrobial salt.

potassium thiocyanate- inorganic salt

linalool – “Linalool refers to two enantiomers of a naturally occurring terpene alcohol found in many flowers and spice plants. These have multiple commercial applications, the majority of which are based on its pleasant scent.” Wikipedia

I have been using this product on my eyes thinking that the richness would be healthy for around the eyes and nourishing. Needless to say after this research I will not be using this product on my face or even my hands anymore!

Burt’s Bees Carrot cream is up to $85.00 a jar because it has been discontinued! Here is the ingredients list:

Water, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, beeswax, glycerin, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, stearic acid, palmetic acid, daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil, fragrance, tocopheryl acetatetritium vulgare (wheat) germ oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, glucose, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel wax, sucrose stearate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, beta-carotene, vegetable oil, aloe barbadensis leaf …

A really interesting recipe for Carrot Cream you can make at home:

And does Burt’s Bees now test on animals? Let’s call Estee Lauder and see!



Summer is here! Let’s talk Aloe and Dandelion

Two Pitta pacifying herbs in Ayurvedic medicine are Aloe Vera and Dandelion. Both are bitter and astringent, two ways Pitta is pacified. And both are anti-inflammatory.

These are Vata increasing herbs and should be taken in moderation by everyone, especially aloe vera which after some time of daily intake, will have an eventual drying effect on the digestive track.  This is a result of Aloe Vera’s intense scraping mechanism when taken internally. This can be a means to cleansing and regulation.

The aloe leaves have a gel that is soothing to sunburn and if you are lucky enough to live where aloe grows naturally, it can literally be taken straight from the plant, opened and applied to sunburns or regular burns to immediately cool skin and start the healing process.

In Aloe Vera, Nature’s Soothing Healer, Diane Gage explains that the exact way in which Aloe Vera works to heal skin is still unknown: “Exactly how aloe gel works externally in healing wounds or maintaining healthy skin has not yet been proven. But Burdick says there are two main theories. “One is that when applied to the skin the chemical properties of aloe vera increase cell regeneration at a very rapid rate. The other theory is that the extract contains enzymes that effect chemical changes, which in turn intensify healing.”‘ (25)

Further research is being done with aloe and effects on A.I.D.S, colitis, and bed sores. Aloe juice or gel is highly effective in treating ulcers due to the gel’s coating effects in supplying a protective lining where the stomach’s natural lining has been destroyed.

Dandelion, another astringent Pitta pacifier is a readily available power house of natural iron. Although the leaves can increase Vata, or the dry, airy, ether quality which can cause anxiousness, the roots are considered a sedative and are used at times in coffee substitutes, having a rich, smokey taste similar to the taste of chicory or coffee.

Medicinal properties: “The leaves, with their mineral-rich properties, can be used for nourishing our bones (warding off osteoporosis) and our teeth. Drinking dandelion leaf tea over time helps to increase joint mobility and reduce stiffness; decrease serum cholesterol and uric acid; and promote digestive regularity.” (Dandelion Medicine, Brigette Mars, 32) the leaf is used for eye health as well and is rich in chlorophyll and antioxidants like betacarotene and flavonoids. (Mars, 32)

Its also a well known liver tonic, which in Ayurveda and aWestern medicine the health of the liver is directly related to the health of skin. Detoxing the liver can detox the skin, which will bring about a healing to the skin that is deeper and more long lasting than anything applied to the surface. Topically though as a cosmetic dandelion is rich in emollients which will liven the skin through moisturizing actions. Also, Brigette Mars in Dandelion Medicine wrote that it can be used to lighten age spots. This is the fresh dandelion sap , “collected when the plant is in bloom in the spring or summer, can be applied directly to age spots to lighten them.” (73)

Cooling flower mists for a 90 degree day

Boiling flower petals and herbs down and adding them to water in a spray bottle can create a cooling mist for hot summer days and a refreshing boost for skin. Herbs that are readily available in the summer are flowers like geranium and rose as well as lavender and eucalyptus. Herbs from the garden like basil can add a spicy kick and may be a little more heating but in the mist form still make for a treat for the skin. If you have essential oils like citronella or neem, though not as pretty of a scent, these added to the mist will deter bugs. Some of Ayurveda’s favorite cooling essential oils are peppermint,  jasmine, lavender, rose, and orange blossom. Happy spritzing!

hopeful post concerning Burt’s Bees and Clorox


A hopeful article concerning Burt’s Bees and the buyout by Clorox

Ayurveda’s roots and modern day cosmetics

   It seems in today’s beauty industry there is a lot of buzz concerning natural ingredients and holistic approaches to cosmetics. The company Aveda has used Ayurvedic ingredients and seemingly adopted much of the belief system as well as a portion of the 5,000 year old medical practice of India’s name itself, only to now be bought by Estee Lauder, a non-holistic, non-ayurvedic company. In this buy out, the company’s animal testing practice policies have come under scrutiny, which it is even more so becoming an undefined gray area with the much rehearsed retort in the companies defense “Aveda only tests on animals when legally required to do so.” 

   It is apparent that China requires animal testing on products because in a place with air quality in weekly ratings of 500, and a required particulate respirator mask to be worn in some areas, this country cares about the health of its citizens. So requiring the testing of products that have previously been tested and making testing on people who will wear the products, out of the question, China insures the health of its populace, whom in southern Beijing walk outside and breath air which has the toxic equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes.

   The ingredients of Aveda products were by no means 100% ayurvedic previously, but the formulas made use of aloe in an eye wrinkle cream, turmeric in a hair loss formula and amla in other products. This was a nice way to incorporate some Ayurveda into modern living and to see the beauty industry aspect of its future unfold, as more people became aware of it through this company.

   But for now the questions still remain: How much animal testing, if any is occurring at Aveda? Could Aveda’s previous policy affect the overall policy of Estee Lauder, which does test on animals, or will it most likely be swallowed up and turned into your average mainstream cosmetic company with no real policy on environmental issues, greener packaging or animal welfare to speak of? And how will the products change? Will the previous hints of naturalness and light dustings of high quality “ayurvedic” ingredients all but disappear to be replaced by eau de lauryl sulfate? Time will tell. 

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