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.

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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

6 Tips For Taking Family Photos With Toddlers & Babies

Fact: Most of those adorably posed, perfect looking family photos hide a secret most people will never know. The day was most likely a total mess. We’ll ours was anyway.

Our good friend and celeb photog extraordinaire Jensen Sutta came to our house the other day to photograph our family. They were our first formal pics as a foursome and I didn’t really know what to expect. As it turns out I over-planned on some things (poses!) and under planned on others (pretty much everything else.) I have some tips below so you can learn from my mistakes. Some of it is toddler-centric but most of it will help with kids of all ages.

Ditch the over planning:

Pinterest does have a lot of ideas but let them be just that- ideas. You can’t overplay a series of shots that your kids may not be agreeable to. It’s about capturing the moment, joyful play, and real smiles. Pick the clothes (casual or more dressed), and the setting (park, backyard, studio), and let your photographer lead the rest. The pic I like best was on marshy grass (with my heels sinking in) on a little tiny hill right by our fence. Not a sweeping, movie-worthy setting and certainly nothing I would think to choose but he make it look really cool.

Plan it around nap times and meals:

You want rested, fed, happy kids so stack the deck in your favor going in.

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Bring along snacks:

Harper is so enchanted with crackers right now. I think they would’ve gone a long way to bribe her into sitting still, smiling, not running, or whatever else we needed that she didn’t do.

Pack a little kit:

If you’ll be outside walking around it pays to grab a little bag and throw in zippy cups, sunscreen, snacks, safety pins for clothing fixes, and even toys. Anything to keep them happy since you’re basically asking them to be in a play environment (like outside or a park) but not necessarily play.

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Practice:

We didn’t prep our toddler enough. A little role play taking photos (because we usually take candids) would’ve gone a long way so she understood what was expected and what was happening. Make it a game and reward for standing still, kissing daddy on the cheek, or good smiles. We only have a few photos of Harper looking at the camera and giving a real smile. I wish there were more.

Make sure the clothes fit:

When we first tried Harper’s skirt on just days before the shoot it was a little big but nothing major, but once she was running and moving around it was literally on the ground. A quick try on doesn’t tell you how the clothes will function in real life. I should’ve let her wear it around for a while so I wasn’t running home for pins mid-shoot.

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Ultimately though we got some beautiful pictures that we’re thrilled about. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.

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.

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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.

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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.

Everly is 5 Months

Our little Everly. So sweet and perfect.

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Here are my two little leprechauns. We’re celebrating with an all-green meal that Mike’s preparing right now (just an excuse to have green chile I think.) So although we aren’t drinking green beer (something I was never into anyway), we’re having fun with our little ones just cooking and laughing and doing our thing. Hope your day was just as fun.

St Patty's Day