Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How NOT to get DUPED by your personal care products!

I've been receiving a TON of emails and comments regarding some of the companies that have made headlines recently for the discovery of toxic chemicals in their personal care products. With everyone jumping on the "green" "non-toxic" "natural" bandwagon, as a consumer, it is pretty difficult to decipher what companies are truly transparent, honest and free of toxic chemicals!  And let's be honest.  Purchasing personal care products without toxic chemicals is not cheap!  How do you go on when you have been lied to by a company you trusted and led to believe that a company was serious in keeping toxic chemicals out of their products?  How do you go on when you've pumped a lot of your hard-earned dollars into said company? You want to be able to ask the hard, serious, legitimate questions that will lead you to making the right choice for yourself and for your family.  You are tired of being duped!  

How do you look beyond the marketing and beyond the labels? Here are some suggestions that you can use when choosing a company.  These suggestions are not exhaustive by any means, but they are a step in the right direction.

1. Choose a company that has a SOLID foundation in integrity and honesty.  You want a company that has been around for a while and has built a significant following.  Their customers seem happy and their level of customer service speaks for itself.  When issues arise, the company approaches them honestly and takes responsibility for them.  The company takes pride in publishing not only positive reviews, but will leave negative reviews up as well.  There will always be customers who are not happy with a company's service.  In the world of statistics, these are called outliers. You can look beyond them because the majority of customers are indeed satisfied.

2.  Look for a company that is aligned with your views.  I'm not talking politics or religion here, but what you feel is necessary in a product. Do you need it to be handmade?  Made in the USA?  "Certified Organic"?  Do you prefer a small company or a larger one? Are the products easily accessible? What is important to YOU?

3.  Take a look at the company's history.  Are the company's products constantly being reformulated?  Has the company "left out" ingredients on their labels?  Do they place blame on others when things go wrong?  Does the company dismiss legitimate concerns about their products' formulations? Have your questions been addressed or ignored? Does the company "walk the walk" or just "talk the talk"?

4. Does the company's leader know what he/she is doing?  It is important that if a product is not being made on the premises (which most products are not), the owner of the company understands how products are made or at least has someone working for them that does.  Can they spot when ingredients do not add up in a product?  Are they knowledgeable about the processes necessary to create the products they are having manufactured? If the answer is "no", then how could they possibly ensure quality control of those products? Which leads me to my next suggestion.

5.  Is there quality control? Who is overseeing quality control?  Who is making sure you as the customer is getting what you are supposed to get?  What happens when a product doesn't seem right?  Are you offered a refund or exchange?  

6.  Compare the labels to other products of similarity.  You read the labels, but that does not always work out because companies are notorious for leaving ingredients out.  So, what do you do?   Take a simple body wash and compare those ingredients to another body wash.  Take a lotion and compare those ingredients to another lotion.  Every body wash needs to be saponified, otherwise, it will not be soapy.  Every lotion needs an emulsifier to mix the oils/butters and water together, otherwise all you have is oil and water and we all know oil and water do not mix!  If the ingredients appear to be too good to be true, they usually are! Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes. There is no need to explain or make sense of it. Just trust what you feel.

7.  When in doubt, go with a company who is USDA Certified Organic under the NOP program. Chances are, not ALL their products will be certified; however, by choosing a company with this status, you can trust that a 3rd party certifier is keeping track of their every move.  This means NO ingredients can be left out!  If you do not know what is takes to become certified, you should read my blog link below. It is VERY informative.  Even though at Poofy Organics, we do have products that are not certified, most people don't know that our certifier Baystate Organic Certifiers, keeps tabs on THOSE products as well.  They know absolutely everything that happens and every single ingredient that comes in our manufacturing facility whether it pertains to a certified organic product or not!  

http://poofyorganics.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-rules-of-being-usda-certified.html  

As a customer of Poofy Organics, you can always feel safe buying from us.  We do NOT hide anything, and would never endanger our customers by using harmful toxic chemicals. We know you have a choice to make and we, as a small business, truly appreciate that you have chosen us!  Read all about us!


POOFY ORGANICS was founded in 2006 after a family member was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our family was determined to stop using products laden with toxic chemicals. With no suitable alternatives to turn to, we made it our mission to find the safest and most effective ingredients for our products.

Commercial products are often filled with harmful chemicals, additives and fragrances despite producing irreversible harmful effects on the body and the environment. Our products are safe for our world, children, pets and expectant mothers.
We are a small family-run business and proud of our accomplishments. Products are made fresh, by hand, on our premises in small batches and fragranced only with essential oils and extracts that have long been used for therapeutic properties. When we say ORGANIC, we mean it! With USDA organic certification, you can trust that you're getting the purest products possible!  
At POOFY ORGANICS, our goal is to have a minimal impact on the environment. We practice being "GREEN" by only using two kinds of packing peanuts. Either we recycle ones that we have received in packages when ordering supplies or we use ones made from cornstarch. The ones made from cornstarch decompose in water leaving no toxic waste. The peanuts are static-free and made from organic starch. In addition, using organic ingredients is "green" within itself. That means we're keeping pesticides, herbicides and GMOs out of our environment. We do not carry samples. Offering only larger product sizes reduces plastic consumption.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Safe & Comprehensive List of Essential Oils for "Back to School"

The phrase "back to school" can either evoke a sense of calm, appreciation and well-being or a sense of dread and despair.  Regardless of how you feel about it, the kids are going back to school so what does that mean for you as a parent?  I know for me, some of the first things that come to mind are schedules, making lunches ("aaah, what am I going to make today that is healthy AND the kid will actually eat!?"), picking out clothes, homework and last but not least, what can I do so that my child doesn't come home sick?  Now of course, we all know that children get sick and it is a part of growing up and strengthening the immune system to fight the REALLY nasty guys.  BUT, other than the extra snuggles and down-time from almost being "sworded to death", we'd prefer it didn't happen.  

So, what can we do to boost the immune system and/or help the kiddos feel better quicker?  I like to use essential oils, some homeopathic/herbal remedies and energy healing.  Now, before I get into which ones I recommend, I want to talk about your best choices for essential oils, some buzz words in the industry and I also need to issue a word (or a few words) of caution.  I would not be responsible if I didn't first cover some important information, but I promise, after you read all of this, you will get to the "meat & potatoes"!   

Just because something is "natural" does not make it "safe".  Lately, I have been reading a lot of dangerous recommendations and some of them seriously make me cringe. Some of this erroneous information TOTALLY contradicts the respected advice and scope of practice recommended by Aromatherapy and Herbal associations and health care providers. Essential oils are not only potent, but extremely concentrated.  For example, ONE drop of an essential oil is the equivalent of 25-75 cups of the herbal tea of the same plant.  Because of this potency, there have been cases of poisonings and/or fatalities from accidental overdose, burns, photo toxicity and other damages. Ingesting essential oils is NOT something I take lightly and if you are going to pursue that avenue, I suggest you do so under the consultation and supervision of a certified aromatherapist who you highly regard.  Some of the information out there is conflicting, but for the most part, if you use some cautionary principles, you and your family will be safe using essential oils.  

5 Steps to Choosing Essential Oils:  
First, they should be USDA Certified Organic.  Why? Because you know you are getting the purest product possible.  There are NO pesticides used, no GMOs, sewage sludge fertilizer or ionizing radiation. In addition, any product certified organic goes through a 3rd party certifier who makes sure the company is indeed "organic".  This is ESPECIALLY important when you are using a product that is SO potent and concentrated!  If you need further clarification as to why using USDA certified organic ingredients are important, please read my blog about it here:
http://www.poofyorganics.blogspot.com/2l013/08/the-rules-of-being-usda-certified.html

Second, does the company package its own oils?  This kind of goes with #1.  If a company is not packaging the oils themselves, HOW DOES THE COMPANY KNOW WHAT IT IS GETTING?  It has to trust the manufacturing/packaging facility which puts yet ANOTHER person in the middle of YOU and your essential oils!  Who needs that!?  At Poofy Organics, we package everything in our facility so we are our OWN quality control. Oh yea, and Baystate Organic Certifiers makes sure we are doing our jobs as "organic" suppliers!

Third, look to make sure the company is owned by a certified aromatherapist or essential oil specialist. You want to know that the company understands what to look for and is making safe blends for you and your family based on the science of essential oils. 

Fourth, does the supplier list a Certificate of Origin and Method of Extraction for their essential oils? At Poofy Organics, we are constantly updating our website to provide up-to-the-minute information with each batch of essential oils we receive. We receive our own GC/MS for each batch from our certified organic suppliers.  

Fifth, does the supplier have a strong ethical reputation in the field?  If the company does not have high standards, what makes you think they are telling the truth about their oils?  Like Dr. Robert Pappas states, "if the leader of a company has a history of misinformation, arrest records for practicing medicine without a license, getting sued for injuring people by improper use of essential oils, using the name of credible people inappropriately for personal gain and questionable ethics in general, then it's probably not a company that should be taken seriously by an educated EO consumer"

Let's take a look at those Buzz Words:  
Companies have been using trademark marketing terms in an attempt to set their essential oils apart and allude to them being superior or held to a higher standard than other companies such as "Therapeutic grade", "Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade" and "Certified Pure Pharma Grade".  Let us be clear.  There is NO such thing as a "therapeutic grade essential oil" and there is no independent body or quality standards for the authentication or performance of essential oils that designates this name.  Unadulterated essential oils are, by nature, therapeutic.  

Those questioning "therapeutic grade" are now beginning to use the mythical A,B & C grading of essential oils.  Again, any company that claims grading is also not backed by any reputable source on essential oil. 

Vibrational frequencies: According to Dr. Pappas, it makes no scientific sense at all and it would be impossible to characterize an essential oil or even a single essential oil molecule as having a single vibrational energy frequency.

"first" "second" and "complete" distillations  When it comes to essential oils, the "first" "second" or "complete" does not describe how MANY distillations an oil goes through, but rather HOW LONG is the distillation process. There is no such thing as re-distiling when it comes to EOs. Using a "first" distillation means that the oil was distilled for the most potent part of the oil and is extracted during the first 1-4 hours. After that, the components in the oil change based on what is being extracted from the plant. In the the final stage of distillation "complete" at the longest point, anywhere from 9-22 hours the oil will actually smell more fragrant (less harsh), plus the distillery will get far more out of that plant than if they only used the first 1-4 hours. We want thing to "smell nice" so most companies will use the "complete". It smells better and it lasts, and is less expensive because you are getting more of it during the process. Problem is that even though it may smell better, like I said before the most POTENT part of that distillation occurs in the 1-4 hour period, so it's great if you are looking for a nice smell such as in soaps, etc, but NOT good if you are looking for the "medicinal" action of the essential oil. As you can probably deduce, using the "first" distillation of an essential oil is more expensive, however, you need LESS in your formula than you would a "complete". So, in some ways, when WORKING with essential oils such as we do, it sort of evens out.  You use the "first" distillation and less of it OR, you use the "complete" and end up putting in more. It really depends on what a company is going for. THIS is where it really counts if you are purchasing 100% undiluted essential oils. If a company is selling 100% undiluted essential oils on their own and they are using "complete" distillation, they can sell them cheaper and get more out of their plants. THIS is why some 100% undiluted essential oils WILL smell sweeter/better than others. THIS is how companies can get away with CHEAP essential oils. Of course, not to mention the pesticides,etc involved, but this is not about that.  If a company is selling 100% pure undiluted essential oil OR making products that are supposed to have "medicinal" qualities, then they should technically be using the "first" distillation.  "FIRST" distillation is what POOFY ORGANICS uses and sells to its customers. If a company is simply "scenting" their products for smell, their best bet would probably be to use the "complete" because it is cheaper, still considered pure & undiluted and their products will smell a bit better.  So, the choice is yours! Which do YOU prefer?



 "SAFE" Practices for Essential Oils:
1. Essential oils should NOT be applied "neat" (undiluted).  There are only two that can be put directly on the skin and that is Tea Tree & Lavender.  Sensitization can occur over time and is irreversible! If your child has sensitive skin, it is important to test a small area before using a new oil blend.
2.  Keep EOs away from the eyes.
3. When your child is taking medications, reduce the amount of essential oil by half the amount recommended for their age group.
4. Always dilute according to the age AND sensitivity of a person. 
5. Do not ingest essential oils.  The International Federation of Aromatherapists Code of Ethics states –      No aromatherapist shall use essential oils for internal ingestion or internal application nor shall any aromatherapist advocate or promote such use of essential oils unless the practicing aromatherapist has medical, naturopathic, herbalist, or similar qualifications and holds an insurance policy which specifically covers the internal application of essential oils. (IFA code of ethics. Simply Essential, No. 11 December 1993).    
6. Find a reputable source for your oils.
7. Report any bad reactions of essential oils based on the information provided by a sales rep. Robert Tisserand, a leader in Aromatherapy, often called the Father of Modern Aromatherapy and author of Essential Oil Safety for Aromatherapy Professionals collects information about these cases. Please email him directly with as much detail as possible at robert@roberttisserand.com. Another place to report it is the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy. 

Safe Dilution Rates:  The recommended correct dilution for topical use is .5% for babies (avoid in newborns) 1% for children over 6, the elderly & pregnant, individuals with sensitive skin or compromised immune systems, 2% for adults and 3%-5% for medicinal use.  Use dilutions of 10%-25% only under acute circumstances and for short-term.  To make it easier, you can go by this:  children and the elderly is 1 drop of EO per 1 teaspoon carrier oil.  I like to use organic coconut or sunflower because they are both readily available and inexpensive.  The average adult can use 2 drops EO per 1 teaspoon carrier oil. For children under two, a .5% usage rate is suggested which would convert to 1 drop of child-safe EO per 2 teaspoons carrier oil. You can always use hydrosols for infants which are much less concentrated and safer to use.




Aaaaaaand, FINALLY, without further ado, here are my recommendations!
1.  "Thieves" blend.  You'll want to arm your child with the most researched-based and peer-reviewed essential oil blend out there.  It is a combination of Lemon or Orange, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus & Rosemary.  If you are uncomfortable using Eucalytpus because of the age of the child, you can substitute fir for eucalyptus OR use eucalyptus radiata.  This blend is GREAT for diffusing in the home or you can make a blend and apply to the bottom of your child's feet to boost the immune system!

2.  "Wake Up & Focus blend".  This is a great blend to help your kids wake-up or focus on tasks.  You can put it into an essential oil diffuser in the morning or even send them off to school with a roll-on bottle and roll it on their wrists.  You'll want to use a Citrus/Mint combo such as Peppermint, Spearmint & Orange.  For children under 5, you can substitute the Peppermint with Fir or something else minty!

3. Mood Boost & Smart oil. Combine Lemon & Rosemary essential oil (in children over 6). These oils are known to improve brain performance and mood.  You can diffuse the blend, use a shampoo with the oils infused (Poofy has one!), or make a roller and apply to the back of the neck or the wrists. It will help with focus and aids in concentration.

4. "Calming" Blend.  Our Poofy "Peace Muse" blends oils of Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Orange, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Marjoram, Neroli & Bergamot.  Don't have all of those oils on hand?  Pick a few and go with them! I like to diffuse or use the blend to spread lightly on my children's pillows before bed.  You know what this blend also helps with?  Mommies with anxiety...hint, hint.

5.  "Mommy, My Tummy Hurts! blend:  Oils that ease intestinal bloating and invigorate sluggish digestion are Basil, Fennel, Marjoram, Thyme, Chamomile, Peppermint & Ginger.  They can be rubbed on the belly (diluted) in a clockwise direction or diffused.  Sometimes just smelling Ginger EO will calm nausea!

6. "Congestion/Allergy" Relief blend:  Blend for children over 5: Fir, Chamomile, Eucalyptus & Peppermint.  Under 5, Orange, Cypress, Fir & Cinnamon.  OR, you can purchase the Vapor Rub at Poofy.


BONUS recommendations that have nothing to do with EOs:
1. Elderberry extract.  This is the BEST thing I have found to boost the immune system naturally.  You can purchase an organic kind or make your own with this recipe: 
2. Chestal is a Homeopathic "Cold & Cough" Remedy to relieve symptoms
3. Umka is an herbal remedy to help with cold symptoms
4. Organic Raw Honey is a natural antibacterial, antiviral and antibiotic.
5. Flu "shot"

6. REIKI- this ancient form of energy healing helps my little man feel good when he has a fever and he often asks for it!
7. Sore Throat:  



Books to Begin or Expand your EO Education:
Essential Oil Safety, A Guide for Health Care Professionals by Tisserand and Balacs
Aromatherapy Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate and Heal by Valerie Cooksley, RN
The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
Essential Oils for Beginners: The Guide to Getting Started with Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Althea Press
The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood



To conclude, essential oils are powerful and can help our bodies perform optimally; however, they need to be taken seriously and with care. Take the time to get to know essential oils and purchase them from a source you trust and you will learn to love them as much as I do and develop a lifelong friendship with them!



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Let's Talk Shampoo

Let’s talk shampoo.  Not everyone can flawlessly make the transition. Switching to a more natural/organic shampoo can be one of the most difficult transitions to make. Here is some help in making the "switch"

Evaluate the Situation:  You want to go chemical-free, but you wash your hair daily, use many different styling products and dye it every other week? It WILL take dedication! Why can't you use commercial shampoos?  They are DRENCHED in toxic chemicals such as sulfates, parabens & petroleum!

Naturally-based shampoos work best for those who already have a ‘less is more’ approach to hair care. People with the most success:  people who are dedicated to wanting natural shampoo, people who have a low maintenance hair routine to begin with (wash every few days, no styling products, etc.), and those with very short or fine hair. If you don’t fall into one of these groups, you can STILL do this!!! Just take your time!

Reduce Product Usage:
Slowly reduce the number of products you use and how often you use them.  
If you wash your hair daily, start skipping days. This may make your hair feel oily at first, but eventually the oil production in your scalp will stabilize and your hair will feel less ‘greasy.’ Washing your hair every 3 days is ideal. 

Eliminating chemically-laden conditioner: Conditioner is really full of chemicals that attempt to repair your hair after you’ve stripped it of ALL of its natural oils with chemically-laden shampooing. Once you strip it less, you'll automatically need less.  The truth is, most people do not need conditioner. In addition, POOFY shampoos contain apple cider vinegar which is a built-in rinse/softener!

However, if you have curly, unruly, or very tangled hair and feel that you absolutely need conditioner, you can try one of ours.  We have quite a few to choose from.  You can also try a diluted vinegar rinse instead. Vinegar naturally softens hair. Take 1 part vinegar or lemon juice, add to 3 parts water, and pour over your hair as a rinse. And then rinse again with water. 

Cut down on sprays/foams/gels/waxes etc. As you wash your hair less often, it will naturally hold your style with greater ease.  If you have naturally curly hair, you will likely find your curls to be softer, curlier and easier to care for with less washing/no conditioner and less product. Plus, using less product will make washing your hair easier, as you’ll have less gunk to remove. Again, if you absolutely need to use product, make sure it is ORGANIC and does not contain chemicals, like POOFY!



Choose a CLEAN Replacement Shampoo Product - Remember, there are PLENTY of companies out there that CLAIM to be "natural" and "organic".  Research the ingredients.  Switching to a shampoo that STILL has hazardous chemicals defeats the whole purpose!  @ POOFY ORGANICS – we’ve got you covered!  We have SO many different shampoos to choose from and sometimes it takes trial and error, but you WILL find one that works for you!

SWITCH!
SO now that you have a product, and you have minimized your washing/rinsing and styling, you are ready to take the plunge. Wash your hair as you normally would but use a bit less shampoo. You should not expect the same level of foaming as you got with a detergent-based shampoo. It foamed better because it was filled with synthetic ingredients.  Your chemical-free shampoo will not foam but it will still lather. If you find that your hair is a complete WRECK, then minimize the amount of POOFY shampoo by using ½ of YOUR current shampoo and ½ of the POOFY shampoo. Then, slowly mix in more POOFY shampoo and less of yours until you’ve completely switched.

Repeat as needed, which COULD be more frequently than you were washing before. You have switched products, so there will likely be an adjustment period.  Some people switch right away without any issues. For others, the transition is slow. Be patient.  Your health is worth it!

Special Notes: * If you go back to a chemical-based shampoo, you may have another detox period. 

* The hardness or softness of your water can affect the outcome. If your water is hard, you may want to do a vinegar rinse.


* If you find your hair too greasy/oily, you might need to give it more time.  

* If you find your hair or head is too dry, you can try adding some oils to the shampoo such as olive, argan, or avocado.

* If you continue to have trouble, and need to use SOME commercial products, remember, you’re reducing your exposure to shampoo ingredients by 66% – THAT is something to be proud of. Every little bit helps keep it off your body, out of your drain and our shared waterways and helps reduce plastic and fossil fuel!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The RULES of Being USDA Certified Organic and WHY It's Important for Your Family

Let me ask you some questions.  Are you confused as to what TRULY makes a product organic?  Do you question the integrity of some brands when they claim their products are organic?  How important is it to you that products are organic and WHAT is the difference?  Does it REALLY matter?  We all know safer personal care products cost more.  Why not put that extra money towards products that you can be SURE are indeed safe?
I'd like to answer all those questions so that you and your family can feel comfortable when purchasing your personal care products.  When it comes to organic, we know our stuff!  We've been through the process of becoming certified USDA organic and trust us when we say, "that process NEVER ends".  Just because a company "claims" it is using organic ingredients does not mean it is.  I want to be honest- some companies know they are NOT using organic ingredients, but the majority just don't know what the difference really is.  The difference between a true certified USDA organic product and one that is not is that the companies that ARE certified KNOW THE RULES.  The rules are pretty complex- matter of fact, there is a HUGE book of those rules that all USDA organic companies receive every year. Think of it like our bible.  We need to know it from cover to cover and make sure we are following each and every one. There is no question about the label and ingredients matching, nor is there a need to hire 3rd-party labs to conduct testing on those products that maintain their seal!  
So, why did POOFY decide to become certified?  We wanted to show our customers what we already knew!  Anyone can claim organic status.  We wanted YOU to have peace of mind.  I know when I look at a product, I feel better when it has a seal on it- otherwise, it’s just hearsay. There are a lot of bath & body companies who have recently launched in response to the realization that the government allows such horrendous ingredients into our products.  We wanted to stand out from our competitors and be the best we could possibly be.
What does it take for us to become certified?  I will try to make this as simple and EXCITING as possible lol.  First, we needed to fill out what seemed like an eternity of surveys/questionnaires.  The questions were extremely detailed down to the most minute piece of information.  We were asked about our water supply, how we clean & sanitize work stations, how we clean & sanitize our equipment.  Meticulous records needed to be maintained from start to finish of ANY product being manufactured. (If a facility has pests, only certain pesticides may be used.  Luckily, we have not had that issue.)  Back to keeping records, for instance, a record of each ingredient we use is kept.  When we order an ingredient, it goes in our record.  We need to list who the supplier is (and of course they must already be certified as acceptable to use by the USDA certifying company.  In our case, it is Baystate Organic Certifiers).  We need to track what date the product was ordered and when it was received, who received it, the lot # and where the ingredient was stored.  Another record we keep is our manufacturing record.  On it, we list what product we are making, the date it is being made, who is making it, ALL the ingredients AND units of measurements for those ingredients, all lot numbers associated with the ingredients and how many products were yielded.  Then our products are assigned lot numbers.  It is quite a process for every time a product is made, especially because Poofy Organics has over 100 organic products.  it can become quite hectic!  Another record that is kept is the cleaning/sanitizing record.  Every time a product is manufactured, we must document how we cleaned & prepared the equipment and how it was purged. Lastly, we have a cleaning/sanitizing record for our facility.  This includes when and how we clean our floors, etc.
Anytime a new product is created, we have to send an OPP- Organic Product Profile to our certifying company.  On it, we need to list all the ingredients, the supplier and the concentration of those ingredients.  Any non-organic ingredient that is allowed in the organic product (and those are very few and minute percentages), needs to go through another process which maintains that the ingredient has not been manufactured using sewage sludge or ionizing radiation and has not been created using GMOs (genetically modified organisms). An example of such an ingredient would be baking soda.  Because baking soda cannot be found organically, a company like Bob’s Red Mill is a staple for organic companies.  It upholds the highest standards in the industry.
A new product considered for certification also needs to go through a rigorous “label” certification.  Even the labels have standards and rules.  Each label is sent to the certificating agency to make sure it is in compliance with those rules.
We are inspected annually.  Each year a new application for certification needs to be completed- some of the information is stored so it makes things a bit easier.  During inspections, records are sifted through to make sure all ingredients, products, manufacturing, labels and cleaning/sanitizing is in compliance.  Batches are randomly picked to make sure the ingredients and numbers add up to the number of units sold.  It is quite a heavy-duty process.   It is often misunderstood that once a company is certified, the job is over.  It is a CONSTANT process- always keeping records, always turning in new documents.
Are there ingredients that are hard to find in organic and therefore keep the finished product from being certified organic? There have been times.  Such as certain essential oils or butters.  However, when we find this to be the case, we usually change the recipe- or at least try to.  Otherwise, it can be certified as MADE WITH ORGANIC.  It is still an organic product, but it cannot carry the "seal".
What about the products that are NOT certified organic in the POOFY line?  Aren't those just the same like all the other companies?  How do we separate ourselves from the others?  There are NO differences in the standards for FOOD to be certified USDA organic and personal care products.  That means that if an ingredient is not allowed in a food, it is not allowed in a certified organic product.  Because some products REQUIRE specific ingredients to be made, and we need to use those ingredients, we have some products that are not certified.   So, how does that separate us from the others?  Here's the difference.  Besides the ingredients in our nail polishes, We ONLY use FOUR types of ingredients that are not allowable in food, and thus not allowed in a certified product.  
     1) Zinc Oxide- zinc oxide is a mineral used to make our sunscreen and most mineral-based sunscreens.  It is the ingredient that actually turns a regular lotion INTO a Sunscreen.  If you don't know why you should be using a mineral-based sunscreen, be sure to read our SUNSCREEN post. NO SUNSCREEN can be certified organic because of the necessity to use an ingredient like zinc oxide.  You can use ingredients that are organic, like we do, but the product itself is not considered "organic".  
     2) Decyl Polyglucose- An effective & gentle cleaner with no reported adverse affects and TOTALLY biodegradable.  NSF allows it in their organic products because unlike the USDA, their standards are for personal care products.  Unlike other surfactants, Decyl Polyglucose is manufactured from renewable vegetation and is earth friendly.  It is derived from corn, glucose & starch.  Corn supplies the carbohydrates which are converted with fatty alcohols from naive oils such as coconut or palm.  We make sure ours comes from gmo-free corn.  You don't want inexpensive synthetic agents that make up the base of most liquid soaps and shampoos.  They are harsh on the hair & skin.  They delete natural fats and phospholipids from the epidermis that weakens the skin allowing toxins and bacteria to invade.  Many of them have been invented, creating a huge and very profitable industry. Only after the industry flourished, flooding the market with many varieties of creating a vast environmental problem, did the government of many countries in the 1960's ban the most harmful ones.  No long-term effects of these surfactants were studied on the human skin.  The first surfactants were so cruel to skin that people using them everyday developed eczema and dermatitis.  The medical profession finally spoke up and the most damaging ones were taken off the market.  That was possibly the larges unauthorized test on an innocent public that has ever occurred.  When most people claim they have "sensitive" skin, they truly do not.  They are reacting to chemicals which were never meant to be on the skin in the first place.  Your body is trying to tell you something! Listen!  
     3) Waxes that cannot be certified:  Emulsifying Wax- this ingredient can be complicated.   It is used to make lotion products.  it takes the water and the oils/butters and emulsifies them together.  Think about how oil does not blend well with water.  Well, this changes that characteristic.  There are SO many different varieties out there and with no regulation, you never know what you're going to get in your products. It usually consists of 2-5 ingredients- some of them scary.  Thankfully, we use the purest and simplest one out there.  It is comprised of cetyl alcohol & sorbitan ester.  Both benign ingredients and it doesn't take much in the recipe.  Coconut Wax (in our candles) goes through a process that prevents it from being certified organic.  

   4) Ingredients mined from the earth (or elements)- Because these occur naturally in the earth, they cannot be certified organic.  I know it sounds silly because these are ingredients that are truly what the definition of "organic" means; however, in this case, they cannot be certified.  They are as follows:
            Micas/Iron Oxides- These are used as colorants in our makeup and some soap.
            Soda Ash- Also known as Sodium Carbonate or Washing Soda, this ingredient is used for 
             cleaning processes.
            Activated Charcoal- used in our facial soap to help to balance and restore.
            Hydrogen Peroxide- used to whiten
            Citric Acid- used in our bath bombs & shower steamers to create FIZZ
So, those are the ingredients that cannot be certified that we use in our products. EVERY OTHER INGREDIENT has been certified.  How is that different from other companies?  Most companies nowadays are taking a FEW "organic" ingredients and sticking them smack in the middle of CHEMICALS.  What makes Poofy different from your typical company trying to use organic ingredients with conventional ingredients is that we still uphold the strictest standards in those products.  What is the point of organic ingredients if they are mixed with chemicals and questionable ingredients?  There is no point and completely defeats the purpose of using organic ingredients.  That's like purchasing organic spinach to eat and then spraying it with pesticides.  And, there is NO point in spending the extra bucks if you're not getting TRULY organic.  
What percentage of ingredients have to be organic for you to get the seal? In order to place the USDA organic seal on a product, it has to be AT LEAST 95% organic.  Then, there is a MADE WITH ORGANIC statement that can be used with products who are at least 70% organic.  Anything less than 95% cannot use the SEAL and instead need to use the "statement".
I've gotten this question before:  "I asked so & so "organic" company why they are not certified and they said it just costs too much money, but I can be sure they are using all organic ingredients."  I call BS.  Yup, I said it.  Excuses. The cost is based on retail sales of the organic products.  Larger companies will spend more during certification and for the annual fees.  The cost is NOT prohibitive.  It will not make or break a company no matter how small or large. We try to put a little bit away monthly.  If we can do it, they can do it.  In addition, they may not want the government coming in and telling them how they need to do things.  Lastly, if a qualified person takes a look at some of their ingredients, we'd know in a flash that they can't be certified unless they changed their formulas.

How about this. A company is claiming their products are "certified organic" because the company they purchase from is indeed certified organic.  Are they considered "certified organic" and are their products?   The simple answer is no and so is the complex answer.  Let me give you an example.  Let's say that a company is purchasing "certified organic" essential oils from a "certified organic" company.  They repackage the oils and sell them stating they are "certified organic".  The problem here is that THEY, themselves are NOT certified organic; therefore, even though they are, in fact, using a product that has been certified organic, it is ILLEGAL.  Why? How could that be?  Because it would be very easy for them to CLAIM they are purchasing those oils from a certified organic source and then just simply substitute a conventional oil into that bottle.  Being "certified organic" means you have gone through the process of being audited yearly by a government agency that falls under the FDA and we've already covered what that process is.  "Any cosmetic, body care product, or personal care product that does not meet the production, handling, processing, labeling, and certification standards described above, may not state, imply, or convey in any way that the product is USDA-certified organic or meets the USDA organic standards."  Do NOT get duped by companies claiming that this is acceptable.  It is not.  It is absolutely illegal and you can tell them I said so!  Here is a snippet from the USDA NOP program:
http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/OrganicCosmeticsFactSheet.pdf

How do I make sure a company is certified organic?  Look for the SEAL or the MADE WITH ORGANIC OILS.  Ask to see an organic certificate that they have to provide BY LAW and then look them up on their certifier's website OR the USDA website that has a list of ALL organic operations.  If you can't find that type of information, the company is lying and totally breaking the law! Here is a link to the USDA website:
http://apps.ams.usda.gov/nop/


So, now that you know what it takes to be organic and the difference in a company that does indeed carry the certification, you can make the most informed decision on what products to purchase for your family.  If you have any questions, you know where to find me!



Saturday, July 6, 2013

The #1 Most HARMFUL Product You Are Using!

People often tell me they cannot afford to go completely organic.  I get it- I totally get it.  Organic personal care products have ingredients that are definitely more expensive than what we are used to using.  Here’s the thing- you’re going to pay now or later because these products are literally making you and your body sick!  But, let’s say you still can’t afford to change your ENTIRE regiment.  I get asked the question all the time- "if I HAVE to change only ONE thing, what should it be?"  My answer?  "DEODORANT".  STOP using antiperspirants and deodorants filled with chemicals.  I'll be as clear and brief as possible.

#1. Antiperspirants do exactly what they are made to do.  Stop you from sweating.  Why is that bad?  Think about it.  Your body’s sweating process is a natural and necessary function.  Did you know your body sweats out chemicals and toxins that you ingest and put on your skin daily?  The body also releases hormones by sweating.  By inhibiting your body’s process to do that, THOSE chemicals and toxins are TRAPPED inside your body. And, they sit there.  Manifesting. Building up. Growing. Until guess what- they begin to morph your cells into, you guessed it, the C word.  CANCER Especially breast & prostate.  Why are so many people getting breast cancer, including men?  That leads me to

#2.  Parabens.  Parabens are in virtually all bath, body, beauty and personal care products today.  And guess what? They are in food as well.  The pharmaceutical industry uses them as preservatives and so does the food industry and if you don’t know what parabens do, GOOGLE it.  It is scary stuff, my friends.  When people are diagnosed with breast cancer, ALMOST EVERY CASE has parabens in the breast tissue and malignant breast tumors.  Parabens are also found in plastic and have higher absorption when that plastic is heated.  So, there you are, microwaving your lunch in a plastic container and those nasty parabens you are eating are travelling their way through your body right there to your breast tissue.  I sound crazy, right?  Yet, it happens. Parabens have been deemed as xenoestrogens (agents that mimic estrogen in the body).  Breast cancer is an estrogen-positive type of cancer meaning it literally FEEDS on estrogen.  What about other cancers? Remember, breast cancer can metastasize and lead to bone, lung, liver & other cancers.  

#3. Aluminum. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s, causes oxidative stress in breast tissue and other tissue causing irreparable damage to DNA. Aluminum robs the body of other nutrients and accumulates in the brain. It also accumulates in the bones, liver & kidneys. By sitting in the bones, it weakens them and is suspected of causing osteoporosis. Aluminum has absolutely no benefit whatsoever for the body.

#4. Other chemicals.  In my other blogs, I have written about the nasties like propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and formaldehyde. Why would you continue to expose your body to these?

So, ok, you want me to get rid of my antiperspirant, but what is the alternative? What makes POOFY ORGANICS deodorant so much better than those other ones? Well, for one thing, it is USDA certified Organic which means you have ZERO chemicals to worry about.... Let’s look at the ingredients:

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil- this ingredient itself has antibacterial and odor absorbing properties and is great as a skin conditioning agent.

Organic Beeswax- this also has antibacterial and odor absorbing properties. This helps to make the deodorant smooth and keep it in stick form.

Organic Unrefined Shea Butter- gives a creaminess texture to the deodorant and helps to sooth the skin.

Organic Cocoa Butter- gives the deodorant a great smell, is a skin conditioner and helps to absorb wetness.

Organic Arrowroot Powder- soothes the skin. Was used in ancient times to heal wounds from arrows. This helps to absorb the sweat.

Aluminum-Free Baking Soda- used as an odor absorber.

Organic Essential Oils- used to help with odor, are antibacterial and release when sweating. 

AVAILABLE IN THE FOLLOWING SCENTS:  Peppymint Tea, Lavender Chamomile, Patchouli Citrus Clove, Almond Clove, Sweet Lemongrass, Orange Creme, & Pina Colada (great for kids).  

This DEO is thicker & tackier than most deodorants/antiperspirants you may be used to and you should apply about half of what you'd normally use. The stickiness subsides as it absorbs into your underarms. We suggest waiting 10 minutes or so before dressing so that the natural oils can be absorbed by your skin rather than your shirt. Like all deodorants/antiperspirants, some staining can occur.

Discontinue use if irritation occurs. Your irritation is mostly due to a baking soda sensitivity and if that is the case, we have a SENSITIVE version for you that uses Zinc Oxide rather than Baking Soda!

So, let’s recap. Our deodorants are USDA organic, neutralize without harmful chemicals, are naturally antibacterial, soothe and absorb sweat NATURALLY rather than stopping the process altogether, and are LESS expensive than the other "natural" deodorants out there! What more can you ask for!!!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Do You Mean There is Something Wrong with My Sunscreen?

Ever wonder how sunscreen can actually “screen” the sun?  Well, for starters, there are specific ingredients that work to block the rays.  The FDA regulates those ingredients that can be used as sunscreen agents.  Materials such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can do the job.  Sound familiar?  Unfortunately, that is where the FDA stops its regulation.  It has been 33 years of the FDA dragging its feet to set specific standards for sunscreen manufacturers.

The Environmental Working Group summed it up in its 2011 Sunscreen Guide.  There are too many “what ifs” in the sunscreen world and much debate as to whether most of the sunscreens available are doing their jobs!  Both UV radiation and many common sunscreen ingredients generate free radicals that damage DNA and skin cells, accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer. An effective sunscreen prevents more damage than it causes”.  The EWG group only found about 140 sunscreens that were both safe AND effective.  THAT is scary! 

So, what do I need to look out for?  Toss your sunscreen if it contains any of these terrible chemicals:  Para amino benzoic acid… Octyl salicyclate… Avobenzone… Cinoxate… Padimate O…. Dioxybenzone… Phenylbenzimidazole… Homosalate… Sulisobenzone…Menthyl anthranilate….Trolamine salicyclate… Octocrylene… and ESPECIALLY the notorious hormone disruptor OXYBENZONE or 4-MBC.  According to EWG, Scientists have called for parents to avoid using oxybenzone on children due to penetration and toxicity concerns! 

Vitamin A may have anti-aging properties, but according to EWG, recently available data from an FDA study indicates that a form of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions (NTP 2009). This evidence is troubling because the sunscreen industry adds Vitamin A to 30 percent of all sunscreens. Scientists have known for some time that vitamin A can spur excess skin growth (hyperplasia), and that in sunlight it can form free radicals that damage DNA (NTP 2000).  If your sunscreen contains any form of Vitamin A, get rid of it!

Now, let’s talk about the preservatives used in these nasty sunscreens.  Propylene Glycol is one of my favorite nasty guys because not only is it used to preserve personal care items, but it is used in everything from salad dressings to pancake syrup.  It’s especially a bad dude because it is used to de-ice planes.  Do you want something like that in your product?  I sure don’t!  Parabens.  Those foul fellows are in practically everything and they are not alone!  Parabens usually hang out with their friends and companies love to use more than one type!  Sulfates are just as wicked. 

Another thing you have to watch out for with mineral sunscreens are nano particles.  Nano particles are so tiny we cannot see them.  Because of this, they can get into your system by penetrating the skin and cause havoc.  So, what’s worse, having minerals penetrate your skin or chemicals penetrate the skin?  The answer is both.  NOTHING should be penetrating your skin that is not safe!  With your skin being your largest organ, you should definitely take an interest in what you are putting on it! 

The sun is important!  You need, I need, we ALL need Vitamin D.  Most of us are deficient in it and it’s important, especially during the winter, to take a Vitamin D supplement.  Vitamin D is crucial to so many cell functions.  We often lose sight of that when we are slamming on the sunscreen.  How can you tan safely?  Make sure you use the right sunscreen, stay in the sun for appropriate amounts of time.  Don’t listen to people who tell you to “stay in the sun for only fifteen minutes and you should be fine.”  The amount of time that is appropriate for you is different than what is appropriate for someone else.  You know your own skin.  Be mindful of the temperature outside and the amount of sunshine versus clouds.  Take special care of infants.  Although the FDA does not suggest sunscreen for infants, I happen to believe the “right” sunscreen is better than infant sunburn!  Remember, the sun CAN and WILL travel through clothes and hats.  They help, but when you can’t get away from the sun, use a smart sunscreen.
  
At Poofy Organics, we stand by our products and we stand by our sunscreen.  Our ingredients are completely safe for you, your babies, and your Earth! Each active ingredient in this outstanding product has been carefully chosen to specifically protect and nourish your skin. 

Ingredients: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Organic Beeswax, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Camellia Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter, NON-NANO Zinc Oxide, Organic Rosemary Extract, Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Natural Vitmain E. 

Coconut oil: Coconut oil has been used for hundreds of years to moisturize the skin. If you have skin sensitivities, it is likely to be mild and gentle on your skin. 

Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil is a non-fragrant natural emollient that serves up superior moisturizing and skin conditioning properties. 

Shea butter: Shea butter is a natural plant lipid used as both a thickener and an emulsifier. What's more, it also has effective moisturizing properties. 

Eucalyptus oil: Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil. And when it's mixed with other oils, it is more easily absorbed by your skin. Best of all, it assists other oils to be absorbed in your skin as well. 

Beeswax:  Makes our sunscreen water resistant!

Rosemary Extract is a known cancer fighter and acts as a natural preservative so we don’t have to use any horrific chemicals!

Natural Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E): non-GMO Vitamin E is not only good for your skin, it also acts as a natural preservative. 

As with all safe sunscreen lotions, you should re-apply frequently, especially after swimming, perspiring, or towel-drying.

TO CHECK OUT YOUR SUNSCREEN, VISIT www.cosmeticdatabase.com 



Poofy Sunscreen