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.

How to Get Rid of Those Bumps on the Backs of Your Arms

I’ve found the perfect combo for beating those weird dry bumps on the backs of arms that are especially annoying this time of year when all you want to do in this heat is go sleeveless. It’s all about dry brushing and Fat Girl Slim Arm Candy from bliss.

First things first; you need a dry brush. This is the one I bought on amazon.com which I’ve had for a few years and it’s still in perfect condition. While you start the water to the shower, use this brush to really buff away dry skin on the backs of your arms (I use it all over.) And not just one quick swipe, I’m talking about applying some pressure and going back and forth on your skin until it’s literally red. It is scratchy and a little uncomfortable at first- I won’t lie, but that’s how it has to work to stimulate your lymphatic system and encourage toxins to drain. It increases circulation and helps with things like cellulite, acne, and exfoliation. After the first time doing it, you’ll see that your skin glows and feels softer than it ever has. It’s one of those things that when you get in the habit of doing it, you’ll do it forever. Look into it, it’s a simple way to get your skin looking better.

body brush

After your shower don’t apply anything except for arm candy to the backs of your arms. It’s a super light lotion rich with lactic acid to soften and exfoliate rough skin, and caffeine to reduce redness and even your skintone. It’s not so much of a moisturizer as it is a treatment though, which is good because you don’t want anything super heavy and greasy anyway. The dry brushing removes dead, rough skin so this will penetrate easier and work quickly. You’ll notice a difference in days. It really is the best I’ve tried for this and something I’ll always have on hand.

bliss fat girl slim arm candy

It’s so easy! Give it a try and break out the tank tops, it’s time to show some skin.

Best Beauty Buys at Trader Joe’s

When Trader Joe’s opened three (!) stores here in Colorado everyone was buzzing- even those who had never stepped foot into one were excited to see what all the hype was about. I knew what I was in for having lived in Arizona and California where I enjoyed all that TJ’s has to offer, but the things I was most excited about weren’t food (or wine..) related at all. It’s the cheap face washes, soaps, lotions, and oils in their concise beauty aisle. Here’s a rundown of a few along with their can’t-beat prices.

Top to bottom, left to right:

Spa Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil: This light castile-like soap cleanses skin and leaves a tingly fresh feeling behind from the tea tree. It’s a great basic cleanser for day and night and all skin types.

Moisturizing Shave Cream: This is one of my favorite shave creams. It’s so rich that a tiny amount goes a long way, this tube will last me several months.

Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50: You can’t do much better than $6 for a big can of SPF 50. You can spray down the whole family all summer long.

100% Pure Jojoba Oil: I LOVE this oil so much that I used to buy several of and bring them back to Colorado whenever we’d visit CA. I don’t know what it is about this body oil but it’s a perfect balance of hydration and slip. You can even rub it on your eyes to pre-cleanse to remove eye makeup or use it on your face. It’s that good.

All-In-One Facial Cleanser: I haven’t used this cleanser but at $6, another great deal.

Coconut Body Butter: I bought this and I’m obsessed. The smell of coconut is intoxicating to me and this has a balanced scent that’s sweet and tropical.  It’s the best bargain I saw, $5 for a body butter that’s normally sold for $20 at other stores. A must-have for sure.

Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Moisturizer: A good, lightweight all-purpose moisturizer for those who are looking for something basic and effective.

20140418-082658.jpg

Dove: Crème Mousse Body Wash, Pistachio Cream, and the Best Macaroons Ever

I’ve been a fan of Dove’s positive messaging for women since they started their Campaign For Real Beauty 10 years ago showing women with everyday body types posing happily in their underwear. That became a launchpad for a bigger conversation about women and self-esteem which they still continue today. Although we always used their white bar soap growing up, I haven’t used much from the line outside of their deodorant (I just bought THIS scent and I love it) so it was basically like Christmas morning when I got a package from them last week which was essentially a spa in a box.

First I opened this amazingly fluffy Sferra robe which I want to wear every single day all day long which was inside a little foot soaking tub with a sweet smelling candle. Then I opened a completely amazing grooming kit filled with things I need and never replace, and then I saw the Ladurée pistachio macaroons!! At this point I was sitting on the floor in my new robe eating these iconic macaroons that I’ve always read about and never thought I’d try (I’m pretty serious about my sugar..) while my daughter was running around the house with a mint green mouth yelling ‘more macaroons!’ a word she didn’t know 5 minutes prior with her finger knuckle-deep in the candle.  Honestly they could’ve snuck a Black Mamba in the bottom of the box and I wouldn’t have cared.

But they didn’t.

Luckily they sent along their 3 new Créme Mousse Body Washes and a Purely Pampering Pistacio Cream Body Wash and Beauty Bars. The packaging, the scents, the creamy foamy amazingness that I knew was inside these bottles was so over the top intoxicating that as soon as the girls were down for the night I brought each bottle into the shower to try em’ out.

My shower routine has become pretty boring recently. I used to have candy colored bottles lined up all along my tub filled with soaps, scrubs, and treatments that I’d rub on depending on what I thought needed a boost. Now just my hair care and a bar of soap remains of my overly-simplified routine. I know I don’t have the time for a body mud spa treatment or whatever, but I’ve been ignoring my consistently dry skin and razor burn that returned after I had Everly since a strange side effect when I’m pregnant is really smooth, moisturized skin along with a lack of body hair so I only needed to shave my legs once every few weeks or so. These two things for me were the true miracles of pregnancy that I missed immediately after giving birth both times. Now that my skin is back to normal, I need something foamy to cushion the razor from tearing up my legs while also adding some much needed hydration. All of these washes have huge suds and clean scents that make showering just a little nicer. My two faves are the Pistachio Cream Body Wash because the sweet smell has me hooked- it’s something I’ll buy again when it’s out. I’ve also been using the Exfoliating wash with the loofa because I’m testing a few self tanning lotions every day. I know that this helps with an even application and an even fade, two important factors for the self tanner to look natural.

Even though you’ll find that these washes are sold without macaroons (something they really need to reconsider), you should give them a shot anyway and make a little spa out of your ho-hum shower.

20140403-214732.jpg
Here’s my robe, foot soaking tub, and new shower besties.

20140403-214813.jpg
There were more macaroons that came in this box. I didn’t have the will power to hold off on eating them long enough to snap a photo of a much prettier looking and fuller box. Notice also the divit in the candle made by a tiny finger.

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.