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

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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

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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 Spend Less Money on Expensive Shampoos

I’m a total Living Proof addict. What started as a curiosity with the company Jennifer Aniston co-owns has turned into a full-blown obsession to where I’ve slowly replaced most of my old cleansing and styling products to something from their line. But it’s expensive. Like $24 for shampoo and after just 6 months I’m on bottle #3. Which is crazy.

Typically I wash my hair every 3rd day and when I do I wash it 2 or 3 times just to make sure all of my product is out which could be  why I burn though so much shampoo. What I started doing is using my Johnson’s Baby Shampoo & Conditioner for Thick/Curly Hair for my first wash. Of all the shampoos they’ve sent me, this works best for my coarse hair by cleansing and softening at the same time. I can cut through dirt and product on that first wash and then use the Living Proof for the second wash along with whatever conditioner. Now I’m using way less of the Living Proof  shampoo which will definitely save me money.

If you love a pricey shampoo that you’d like to go through less often, try alternating it with a less expensive one. You’ll save money without even noticing a difference.

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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.

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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

Harper Turned 2!!

We have a toddler! A two year old! A sweet little soul who is so wise and kind and intuitive. She has taught us so much that I feel like my life completely reset when she was born. Here is a look at her birthday celebration and what we did to make it special.

The decor: Pinterest is a dangerous thing. It had me believing I was someone I’m not. I knew I bit off more than I could chew when Wednesday night I wasn’t even close to being halfway done with the decorating for the party that Saturday. We still got a good amount completed and I was really happy with how it turned out. We rented the linens and outside tables which we have done in the past for parties. Did you know that the tables on the bottom of the picture with the pink and orange linens were each under $10 to rent? It’s so worth it just to rent when we need them and not worry about making the commitment to buy and store things we don’t always use. The round tables are just plastic ones we use a lot for parties, and the higher square one we pulled in from another room as well as the one holding the watermelon lemonade and food- that was from another room too. Something else I learned by having so many parties over the years- use whatever you have around the house to make it work.

Decor

Us: We actually got a few pictures as a family this year! (We’re not all looking at the same camera, but whatever!) The dress and shoes I bought for Everly had to be replaced the week before because they didn’t fit. She’s in 12 (and sometimes 18!) month clothes by the time she was 6 months which apparently I’m in denial about so I still buy things was way too small thinking they’ll fit. It’s good though because the same company we got Harper’s dress from had a variation that fit Evie and it turned out to be much cuter than what I had prior.

The dress

The activities: Last year we had a bouncy house and face painter, this year I found such a neat lady who does music, balloons, and face painting and she was so awesome and patient with the kids! She started out making balloon animals, flowers, and swords for the boys, then once everyone was ballooned out she switched to airbrushing face and body tattoos. She offered to bring interments and do songs with the kids, but we thought this would be perfect for the varying ages and both girls and boys. We now know that keeping kids happy really makes the whole party especially if it’s a kids and adults party so the adults can hang out and talk while their kids are occupied and having fun. They were also kicking around balls in the yard and playing chase. The weather was perfect so we spend the whole time outside.

Fun

The guests: We edited our list way down this year which was really hard! We love our friends so much but last year we had 100 people (literally!) so we just cut it way down (to 50, but half were kids!!) and that was it. I still feel guilty about it but it felt really manageable and easy. A big chunk of that was family who helped us so much. They were there the day before and early the day of watching the kids and helping with whatever we needed. It was a group effort for sure. See below- the pic with the girls and me and my sister? We’ve already changed into comfy clothes by then, our party clothes were covered in cake and watermelon.

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But soon after that I had to change Harper’s clothes again. She kept filing a cup with watermelon juice and dumping it on herself over and over. She did it in her dress, then this shirt, then I moved the juice after this change of clothes because at this point I was missing too much of the party.

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The gift bags: This is my first time doing gift bags and I was so fortunate to have the Johnson’s Baby team from RF Binder send along what would become a ‘family gift bag’ which was a HUGE hit. I said it on Instagram when I received this generous package you see below, they are one of the nicest companies I’ve worked with in the 7 years I’ve blogged. They’re just really kind people who value relationships above the business. They sent everything you see in the photos with no request of a blog post, no expectation of anything, they just wanted to help make Harper’s birthday special which they did. Thank you RF Binder and Johnson’s Baby!!

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I bundled the items in these bags for each family.

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I included a Baby Oil (which I use right after the shower), Baby Oil Gel (my go-to for shaving), Intense Moisture Cream (my fave lotion of theirs), Neosporin’s Neo to Go! (which one kid used when she fell at the party), Monsters Band-Aids, and Baby Bedtime Washcloths. Even though Everly was the youngest baby there, the parents were thrilled to have this kit. They told me later that they keep the Neo To Go! and Band-Aids in their cars along with the bedtime washcloths for random clean ups and spills. I’ve also used them for quick makeup removal/ washing my face at night too when I’m too tired for anything else. I also heard loud and clear from parents that they were happy to have a goody bag that was useful and not filled with cheap junk toys that would clutter their house with stuff their kids didn’t need. It’s something It was a great lesson and something I’ll do for the girls’ parties going forward.

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Every single day for a whole week before the party it rained. But not this day. This was the sky while the last lingering souls threw a football in the yard after everyone else had gone home. Dark and crazy, but no rain.

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It’s so surreal watching your kids get older. I was really emotional for weeks leading up to Harper’s birthday knowing that we have to say goodbye to this little version of her that I just want to bottle up and keep forever. Mostly though, I think about what it takes to get her to this point and how hard Mike and I work every single day to do our very best for these girls and I’m proud of that. I’m proud of us.

Happy Birthday Harper! I hope you look back on this day and know that you were loved.

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.

Helping the Colorado Flood Victims With JOHNSON’S Baby Cares Council

As a member of JOHNSON’S Baby Cares Council, I got to do something so fun and rewarding last night for their Cares program. I gathered up a small group of my sweet neighbors for a Care Card party where they helped me decorate and assemble packages filled with JOHNSON’S baby products as well as our notes of encouragement to send to families right here in our own community.  Boulder was especially devastated by the recent flooding here in Colorado and the families who are left without homes and stories of entire neighborhoods destroyed have weighed heavy on all of our hearts. We talked about families who were still living in shelters and had lost everything, and the babies born amidst the chaos and we hoped that the boxes we decorated would cheer them up knowing we were thinking about them.

This week I will hand deliver the packages to the Red Cross in Boulder to make sure they’ll be delivered personally to the families with little ones who need the essentials they didn’t have time to grab on their way out when they had to evacuate their homes.I’m so happy we were able to come together and do something for these families.

Here are a few pics from the evening.

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Our packages! The containers are on the left, the boxes containing powder, body wash, shampoo, lotion, and Desitin are on the right, and the decorations we used tare in he boxes in the middle.

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Another look.

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What’s inside.

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The blank cards were decorated then we all added personal messages to the families.

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Here’s my husband and daughter. She loved scribbling on the cards with markers.

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Our neighbors did such a great job. It was nice seeing them and catching up.

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More decorating.

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Reading our messages to the families.

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Here I am with my husband and daughter. The packages are all filled and decorated and ready to be delivered!

If you’d like to send a Care Card with a message of encouragement to a mom you know, click HERE to use JOHNSON’S virtual app on their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: As a Johnson’s Baby Cares Council member, all of the care packages were sent to me to assemble. The photos, wording of the post, and charity choice were all my own. #ad