Alba Botanica Vs Johnson’s Natural Shampoo. Which is the ‘Greenest?’

Johnson's Naturals

As you know by now, I’m an ambassador for Johnson’s Baby which basically means I get access to their line of products to review as well as company info to pass along to y’all. As you also know by now I’m a bit of a hippie. A vegetarian, tree-hugging naturalist at heart who avoids chemicals and toxic crap whenever I can. But, my friends, I still love me some Botox. And my Chanel bag isn’t exactly made from tofu. So as you can see, it’s a balancing act as most things are.

The Johnson’s Baby products sent to me have slowly crept their way into our bathrooms as mainstays we love to use but I’m still careful when it comes to what I use on my now 2 1/2 year old and almost 1 year old girls. I’ve gone back and forth using Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo with the sweet smelling Alba Botanica one I pick up at Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. Even though I like the Johnson’s one better, the bright packaging, fruity fragrance, and assurance by its presence at natural store that it’s a ‘clean’ line encourages me to use it on Harper a few times a week trading off with the non-fragrant, less splashy packaged Johnson’s shampoo. It wasn’t until last week when I saw the backs of the bottles sitting side by side that I noticed the pretty long list of ingredients on the Alba bottle compared to the relatively short list on the Johnson’s one did I even give a thought to which was a greener choice for the girls. So I looked them up on the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database site to see what their safety scores were. I was surprised (and a little pissed) to see that Alba’s score was a 7 out of 10 meaning there are moderate to high concerns for toxicity in their ingredients. Not at all something I would use on my kids not to mention not something I’d expect to see shelved at a natural grocer when I thought they were weeding products like this out for me. Then I checked Johnson’s shampoo and found that their safety scoring was a 3 meaning it had very low concerns about its ingredients.

Here’s what I found below from the EWG site.

Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo $5

Ingredients 14 total:

Water, Decyl Glucoside, Cocoglycerides, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide

Get the full EWG report HERE

johnsons naturals

Alba Hawaiian Shampoo Body Builder in Mango $10

Ingredients 39 total:

Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract(1), Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract(1), Laminaria Digitata Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract(1), Yeast Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract(1), Ascorbic Acid, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Sweet Almond Seedcake, Linolenic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Panthenol, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Sodium Sulfate, Tocopherol, Alcohol(1), Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Fragrance (Parfum).

Get the full EWG report HERE

alba

One thing that throws me off every time is looking at the ingredients and seeing fruit names versus ‘chemical’ names so I always just assume that when I can pronounce the ingredients they’re safer, but you’ll never see a fruit name on a Johnson’s label because they use what’s called INCI labeling. It’s a type of uniformly recognized scientific names for ingredients, like the gold standard for labeling- and essentially the equivalent of calling someone James instead of Jimmy. Even if they’re using Vitamin E, it would be listed as its ‘formal name’ tocopherol so their ingredients will always look foreign and scary unless you know that Decyl Glucoside is just a harmless kind of soap used in a bunch of shampoos and body washes.

Lesson learned! I won’t assume something on the shelves of a Whole Foods is a cleaner product than something at Target and I’ll continue to research the products I bring into my home instead of being swayed by fancy packaging or a hefty price tag.

Other Household Uses For Baby Shampoos & Baby Powder

A big perk of being an Ambassador for Johnson’s Baby is that I’m fully stocked at all times with their products. Aside from the obvious uses, I’ve found they come in pretty handy for a few other things too. Check out what I’ve been doing with my stash and let me know if there are other uses I’m missing out on.

Head-To-Toe Wash: Brush Cleaner

I used this after I ran out of my usual brush cleanser and I was really impressed. It literally melts the makeup and dirt off of the brushes like magic. I’ve been using my other brush shampoo for so long I forgot how quickly they could be cleaned with minimal effort. I squirt a little in a cup then fill it with warm water to create some suds. Then I drop in all of the brushes and swirl them around to get all of the bristles saturated with soap. Then I swirl each one in the palm of my hand until they foam up just like you do with your hair, and I rinse them under running water until they feel clean. The lipstick and eyeliner brushes will need extra cleansing so just squirt a little of the wash into your palm and really work the soap in. It has saved me so much time and it’s way less expensive than specialty cleansers anyway.

head to toe wash

Baby Shampoo: Bubble solution

Harper is bubble obsessed. It’s part of our morning routine to go outside and blow bubbles after breakfast. The bottles are expensive though especially when we go through them so quickly, and it’s a hassle remembering to pick more up so I found this recipe on Pinterest that I use. It doesn’t have to be exact, I do roughly 4 parts shampoo to 1 part Karo syrup. You can see how much I used of each after just one refill of a bottle that was about 24oz (It’s a 7oz shampoo bottle and 16oz Karo BTW), which will last us about a month.

image

Baby Powder: Too many uses to list

A quick search of ‘baby powder uses’ on Pinterest (click HERE) will yield all sorts of amazing tricks from dry shampoo to creating longer lashes (I need to try this!), it even removes sand from your skin at the beach. It also works to get rid of ants as well as keep pests out of your garden. It’s really usefull stuff.

baby powder uses

Johnson’s Baby: What I’m Using These Days

Part of the fun of being an ambassador for Johnson’s Baby is all the great stuff I get to try. Having two girls under the age of two really has me running so I’m faithful to the products that work best and make life easier. A few I received recently I’m really loving and are worth telling you about.

Little Harper has always had a tough time falling asleep. She sits on our lap and we rock her until she’s sleeping which regularly takes an hour or more at night. Since this eats into Mike’s and my night together, you can imagine how much we really want to speed this process up. We’re slowly starting to get her to doze off in her crib, but until that whole process is up and running we’re happy to find other ways to get her relaxed enough to get to sleep quicker. Since it has been working pretty regularly, I know it isn’t just coincidence that the Soothing Vapor Bath really helps. It’s a liquid you pour into the bath that gives off an aroma that reminds me of that Vicks menthol scent but lighter, and it’s made to calm fussy babies, help stuffy noses, and encourage relaxation. When we use it she leaves the bath more relaxed and falls asleep much quicker than the nights when we don’t use it or if we bathe her in the morning. Nothing instant of course, but noticeable. I’ve used it in my baths too because I just love the scent and it’s so much less expensive than other bath salts I’ve bought that are basically the same thing. I’m already exhausted all the time, so the calming effects are essentially lost on me.

20140331-220616.jpg

The other thing we’ve been using all the time is their Shampoo & Conditioner combo made for thin or straight hair. At two years old little Harper is still rocking a short pixie which she pulls it off perfectly. While we wait for more hair to sprout, this shampoo/conditioner really softens and bulks up her hair. I was using a body wash before because I didn’t think it mattered, but this really seems to give her locks a little boost.

20140402-215025.jpg

Oh- and I’m still using their original baby shampoo to remove my eye makeup every night (just a dot of it on a damp cotton pad does the trick), as well using it to wash my makeup brushes. I also use it on Frisco and Meatball! It’s a total all-purpose cleanser around here.

Full Disclosure: All products were sent to me to try but no additional compensation was given. Opinions posted are my own and I select what to (or not to) write about.

Products for Your Baby That You Should Be Using Too

One of the perks of being a Johnson’s Baby ambassador is getting to try all sorts of products. And because babies are small and bottles are big I’ve found myself borrowing from the girl’s supply. Here are a few things that are made for babies but make my life easier too.

Intense Moisture Cream is an end table mainstay now that Everly is born. When I’m pregnant (is this everyone or just me?) I never use lotion or lip balm or much of anything in terms of moisturizers because my skin is mysteriously smooth at all times. This lasts up until basically the second the baby is born, then my skin is beyond parched – like it’s making up for lost time.

Typically I’d use a little coconut oil but my hands are so dry that the oil doesn’t absorb. So now I’ve been using this cream throughout the day which absorbs quick and softens without a greasy feel. I’ve even put some in a small plastic jar that I keep in the diaper bag (ahem- travel size please?!) so I’m never without it.

20131230-124004.jpg

When our family was staying with us over the holidays, my sister in law ran out of her facial cleansing wipes she uses at night so I gave her some of these washcloths to use. They’re bigger and thicker than a traditional face cloth and they foam up with tear-free suds that clean the face gently without stripping the skin. I use them to clean off Everly when blowouts strike- they’re the next best thing to an actual bath- but I found they’re the perfect makeup remover and face wash on those nights where I can barely peel myself off the couch to stumble into bed.

20131230-124113.jpg

I’ve been removing my eye makeup with baby shampoo for about 15 years now. Its gentle formula doesn’t burn your eyes and the cleanser removes even waterproof makeup. A small dot on a damp cotton pad is all you need so one bottle can last years. I also use it to clean makeup brushes after I first noticed that harsher soaps broke down the bristles leaving me to replace expensive brushes too quickly.

20131230-124346.jpg

I don’t use baby powder on my girls but had some looking right at me when I ran out of my Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo a few weeks ago. A quick check to the label showed fewer (and cleaner) ingredients in the Johnson’s powder which uses corn starch instead of Blandi’s rice starch to absorb moisture (aka greasy hair) which also happens to bulk up roots and give some serious volume. My hair is still falling out in clumps because of my crazy thyroid so I’ve been sprinkling some baby powder on my roots to give some much needed lift. I have to say that I love the baby powder and think it works better than the hair powder. It is pure white of course so if your hair is dark don’t sprinkle it directly on top of your head, hide it underneath the top layers of hair and get it close to the roots to keep it undetectable.

20131230-123409.jpg

20131230-123417.jpg

Post sponsored by Johnson’s Baby. All content and opinions are my own.

BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance Chair, the Only Baby Chair You’ll Need.

As you can imagine, we have a lot of swings, bouncey seats, and jumparoos around here. Harper has more places to sit in this house than I do. I wish we would’ve known ahead of time that the only chair we really needed was the Babysitter Balance from BabyBjorn.

A good friend with 3 kids sent it over as a gift when Harper was born. I’d never seen one before so I didn’t fully understand its magic, but when she told me it made taking a shower and doing things around the house possible, I knew it would get some good use. Because of it’s fuss-free design, it’s good for her to interact with us while fidgeting with a toy or nothing at all. It’s not a ‘bouncy’ chair per se, but the design does allow for movement when she moves kicks and wiggles but nothing too wild. I think most note worthy for us is how it helped us BIG TIME with her reflux which was terrible from birth up until very recently. When we sat her in the chair post-feedings we could tell a big difference in her spitting up, so we made it a regular habit to hold her up for a while after eating  then put her in the chair to let her meal settle a little bit more.

And speaking of spit up, the durable fabric that makes up the chair is so easy to clean. Its simple frame is a metal loop that you pull the fabric off of when you want to toss it in the washer. We’ve been able to get everything out of it too so it’s stain and spot-free.

Another huge (but unintended) plus is how Harper has retained her rounded head which we get remarks about all the time. I think it’s because she’s resting her head on the chair’s soft fabric and not a hard surface.

We put it in there so much that we joke about how she’ll never learn to crawl or walk and how we’d have to carry her to college. I’m so glad that it can grow with Harper and be used until she’s 30 pounds because she loves it so much. Click HERE to check it out on their site and to find which stores near you carry it. And click HERE to see Harper sitting in the chair in her ‘say mom’ video.