Toxic Beauty – Deodorants

Toxic Beauty - Deodorant

Toxic Beauty - Deodorant

Deodorants and anti perspirants are one of those personal care products you use on autopilot, every single day without much thought. Does it prevent body odour? Yup. Does it stop you perspiring? Yup. OK great, if that’s covered then it’s back to the hundred and one other things you need to think about.

Stop! Think about what’s in these products, and what it’s doing to your body.

Sweating is a natural function of our bodies.  We sweat in order to maintain our body temperature and keep us cool, as well as releasing  toxins. So it makes sense that if you stop something from working naturally, you’re going to have consequences. Blocking perspiration and the release of toxins means that we get a build up of toxins, and you end up smelling worse than ever. Then you cover that up with a whole heap of synthetic and toxic ingredients, which you apply to delicate and sensitive skin – your armpits. The smells get worse, and you use more and more deodorant and anti-perspirant to try and fix it.

What’s the problem with deodorants?

There are concerns about the possible links between the use of deodorants and breast cancer. Lots of studies have been done, but there’s no definitive answer yet. have led to numerous studies exploring the possibility. The jury may be out a conclusive link, but this study looking at the location of cancers in the breast shows that the number of cancers diagnosed closer to the armpit almost doubled between the ’30’s and the 90’s.

More alarming are studies confirming the presence of aluminium in breast tissue, including a higher content of aluminium on the outside of the breast closer to the underarm. There’s evidence in this study  that skin is permeable to aluminium when applied as an antiperspirant.

What’s in deodorants and anti-perspirants that make them so bad for you?

Aluminium, propylene glycol, parabens and triclosan are the key toxins to watch out for. Like many personal care ingredients, manufacturers argue that the amounts in the products are too small to cause problems. The problem is that the effects of small amounts of toxins over an extended period of time are simply unknown.

What do these ingredients do?

Studies sponsored by major deodorant manufacturers state that aluminium only covers the outside of the skin. This isn’t what the cancer prevention journals  and dermatologists say. They explain the same process, where aluminium ions are drawn into the cells that line the top layer of the skin, water is drawn in and cells begin to swell, squeezing the ducts closed so that sweat cannot get out.

There are other concerns that aluminium can build up in the nervous system, and there are many consistent studies linking aluminium ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and breast cancer.

The other problem is that many studies only look at the effects of using only one or two chemicals at the same time, not the multitude of chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis.

Propylene glycol is a petroleum based penetration enhancer also used to prevent products from drying out, which when paired with harmful chemicals can increase their absorption.

Triclosan is an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent used in many consumer products. It’s been linked to fertility issues, birth defects, allergies in children and liver toxicity, as well as contributing to the rise of super bugs.

Parabens are used as preservatives, and there are concerns that they are endocrine disruptors which may interfere with male reproductive functions.

Then there’s fragrance. Manufacturers don’t have to list ingredients in perfume, as it’s considered to be commercially sensitive. There are 3,100 stock chemicals that can be used in perfumes, so how do you know what you’re actually buying?

What’s the alternative to toxic deodorants and anti perspirants?

Aluminium is an element found practically everywhere – in our drinking water, food and kitchen utensils, pharmaceuticals and more. But it shouldn’t be used near the sensitive skin of your armpits and breasts.

Fortunately, there are heaps of natural deodorants available these days. Sure, some work better than others, and it might take you a while to find one that you love and that works for you. But when there are so many concerns about the ingredients in standard deodorants, this really is one area of your personal care regime that you need to clean up!

If you’re looking for a great range of natural deodorants, check out Hello Charlie’s Safer Deodorant Cheat Sheets, and shop here.

Image credit: Metro Centric on Flickr

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Toxic Beauty – Nail Polish

Toxic Beauty - Nail Polish

Toxic Beauty - Nail Polish

There’s a reason that your nostrils twitch and wrinkle and shrivel up when you walk within 15 feet of a nail salon. You know that chemical-y smell? It’s a cocktail of toxic chemicals.

You wouldn’t think that such scary nail polish could be sold on shelves all over the country – and not just sold – but flying off the shelves! We do have strict laws in Australia. But they’re labeling laws. Companies do not actually have to alert consumers to the possible risks around the ingredients and chemicals used in such products – they’re only obliged to label them. On top of that, chemicals that have been banned from nail polishes in Europe are still considered safe in Australia. Do you really want to take the risk?

So whilst we patiently wait for the science to travel ever-so-slowly from Europe (by boat, it seems, or possibly a message in a bottle), we’re going to help you learn more about the dangers of toxic nail polish. We’ll outline what look for, and where to find less toxic nail polish or pregnancy safe nail polish.

The most toxic ingredients to watch out for are these three:

  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene

Two more chemicals that are at the very least a skin irritant, with potential toxicity are:

  • Formaldehyde resin
  • Camphor

And because we’re not even sure how to pronounce some of these properly, let alone remember them, there’s a fantastic term that has emerged for summarizing safe nail polishes into what’s known as either three-free nail polishes or five-free nail polishes. Which, sadly, is not a giveaway, but is a nail polish that is free of either the top three chemicals, or the top five chemicals mentioned above. Butter London was one of the first companies to use the term.

What’s the risk with nail polish?

When the list of risks of these known carcinogens and toxins include cancer risks, developmental issues in babies and children, birth defects, asthma, hormone disruptors, nervous system damage and skin irritation, you can see why there is cause for concern. In fact, there’s enough cause for concern for the European Union, the United States and Canada to impose precautionary bans on such products in children’s toys, whilst further studies are undertaken to reach a more conclusive result. How many of us have played dress ups with the kiddies, painting a little nail polish deemed acceptable for adults but not for children who are still developing?

See, there’s what the ACCC has classified as a ‘safe’ or prescribed amount of these chemicals in products that pass the test for acceptable levels, taking into consideration its absorption and excretion rate, breaking down and being metabolized by the human body. But formaldehyde, for example, is also found in ‘safe’ levels in some textiles and clothing, household cleaning products, shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, cleansers, hair straightening solutions, timber materials, wall papers and plastics. How many of those do you come into contact with on a daily basis? Perhaps enough to perhaps surpass the ‘acceptable’ exposure limits? Thought so. Changes your perspective, doesn’t it?

The ACCC has also ruled that nail hardeners may have a much higher ‘safe’ limit for free formaldehyde, for example, compared to many other cosmetics. Nails are quite porous, so it’s not just the nervous nail-biters that are at risk here. There is blood flow directly under the nail beds where toxins can travel through to the bloodstream. Yet somehow, where 0.2 percent of formaldehyde is permitted in your facial cleansers, up to 5% is permitted in your nails, where there’s a pathway to the bloodstream. So how much do you really trust the current research?

What’s the alternative to toxic nail polish?

But this doesn’t mean that you have to give up your glamorous ways. Not even in the slightest. Because when enough people raise concern, something magical happens. New products emerge. The consumers speak and the manufacturers listen. So three free nail polishes and five free nail polishes entered the market. Remember that these terms don’t necessarily mean that they’re non-toxic. Nail polish should definitely be an occasional use product, but there are better choices out there.

Here’s a list to get you started:

  • RGB (five free)
  • Pure Poppet (five free)
  • Honeybee Gardens (five free)
  • Scotch Naturals (five free)
  • Acquarella (five free)
  • Butter London (three free)

Oh, and another thing – avoid nail salons. Very, very few of them use low toxin nail polish, and the air in those places is enough to make you sick. Save the manicures for home!


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Crystal deodorants – are they safe?

crystal deodorant potassium alum safe

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub – Reviewed

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub - Reviewed

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub - Reviewed

I’ve been lazy, I’ll admit it. I’ve been meaning to try the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub for a while, but then I grabbed another tube of the same old facial scrub I’ve been using for a year or so. I wasn’t even that happy with the one I’d been using, because of a couple of questionable ingredients, but sometimes it’s just easier to go with what you know. Then I ran out of that one a couple of weeks ago, and still didn’t get around to buying the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub until yesterday.

So I haven’t scrubbed my face properly in a couple of weeks, until I jumped in the shower this morning with the Acure scrub. And all I can say is – why did I wait so long?

I love it – the smell is gentle and fresh, and not at all fake (the fragrance comes from essential oils) and it’s definitely not overpowering.

You don’t need to use much of the scrub at all. I was surprised at how little I needed. I put a dot about as large as a 10c piece in my palm, and exfoliated my face, my chest, the tops of my shoulders and both arms with this amount. Clearly, you only need a tiny bit if you’re just doing your face, which makes it very economical, too.

It was a little bit more drying than I’m used to, but then I have super-dry skin. I jumped out of the shower and immediately applied a serum, then my usual moisturiser and my face was fine – not dry at all.

The chlorella, chlorophyll and sea kelp make it a spinach-y green, and the French green clay and lemon really help to scrub.

But the best thing was how much better my skin felt and looked! It has been a couple of weeks, and I usually exfoliate twice a week, so my skin was looking a bit rough. A bit of a polish with the Brightening Facial Scrub, though, and it was good as new! My skin feels so much smoother and fresher.

I love exfoliating – it removes dry and dead skin cells, and gets rid of dirt and blackheads (especially for oily skin). And now it seems that I have a new love – the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub!

Ingredients: Organic Curoxidant™ Blend [(Organic Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Berry,  Organic Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Fair Trade Organic Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos)], Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula), Organic Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile), Organic Aloe Barbensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, French Green Clay, Organic Lemon Peel Granules, Saponified Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Cellulose Gum (Vegetable), Organic Olea Europaea (Olive Oil), Organic Ascophyllum Nodosum (Sea Kelp), Theobromo Cacao (Cocoa) Powder, Organic Chlorella Pyrenoidosa (Chlorella Growth Factor), Chlorophyll, Glucono Delta Lactone (Fermented Sugar), Carageenan, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Potassium Sorbate (Food Grade Preservative), Essential Oil Blend of Salvia Officinalis (Sage) and Mentha Spicata (Spearmint).

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Handcream Smackdown – we review natural handcreams

natural handcreams tried and tested

natural handcreams tried and testedWelcome to the first of the Hello Charlie product smackdowns, where we’ll test out a heap of products and let you know what works best, and why.

This month, it’s hand creams. And because it’s Hello Charlie, we’re looking at natural handcreams without the nasties, that will give you great moisturisation and take care of your cuticles as well.

I have to admit that I have a real thing about dry hands. Hate them. And because I also have a bit of a thing about clean hands I’m constantly washing them. Add to this my super dry skin,  and hand cream is just about the one skincare item I use most. Oh, and lip balm. But that’s a story for another day.

So I’ve been using A’kin Hand & Nail Cream for years. I have multiple tubes all over the place – hand bag, bedside table, kitchen sink, desk, car … you get the picture. But I’m getting more and more icky about using products with phenoxyethanol in them, and my beloved A’kin has phenoxyethanol. So for the last few months I’ve been on the hunt for a natural hand cream that I can use throughout the day.

I grabbed a couple of decent looking natural handcreams at my local chemist, and I put a couple of the Hello Charlie ones to the test.

Badger Cuticle Balm

$14.95 for 21 g (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, *Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Essential Oils of *Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium), *Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin), *Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass), *Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom), *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Verbenone), *Litsea Cubeba (Litsea), and CO2 Extracts of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) & *Zingiber Officinale (Ginger). * = Certified Organic

Pros:Badger Cuticle Balm

  • 100% USDA certified organic
  • Ingredients are fab
  • It’s USA made and cruelty free
  • Smells great
  • Really works!


  • Too greasy for your whole hands (but that’s not really what it’s about)

Love this! We’ve been stocking the Badger Cuticle Care for a while at Hello Charlie, but I hadn’t actually tried it. Christine (our gorgeous Customer Service Guru) keeps a tin on her desk and raves about. After testing it out myself, I have to agree. Perfect for putting around your cuticles, your hands look so much better and no more hangnails. You couldn’t use it for your whole hands while you’re working as it’s a little oily, but it’s perfect for dabbing around cuticles.

Verdict: Thumbs up

Akin Hand and Nail Cream – Lavender

Ingredients: Aqua (purified Australian water), Cetearyl Alcohol*, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate*, Glycerin*,Glyceryl Stearate*, Sorbitol*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil (cold pressed Australian grown), Lecithin(from GMO free soy bean), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride*, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (cold pressed Australian grown), Squalane (from olives), Stearic Acid*, Behenyl Alcohol (from GMO free Rapeseed), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (Certified Organic), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate*, Glyceryl Laurate*, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil (cold pressed Australian grown), Sodium Citrate*, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate)*, Citric Acid*, Sodium Gluconate (from GMO free corn), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phytosterols, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf/Twig Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom) Seed Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Citronellol#,Geraniol#,Limonene#,Linalool#,*derived from botanical sources,#from essential oils.

Pros:Akin Hand, Nail and Cuticle Cream

  • Not too greasy
  • Reasonably priced
  • Smells good


  • It contains phenoxyethanol as a preservative
  • I think this is drying my hands – I have to use it all the time

Verdict: I like it, but I think there’s better choices out there.

People for Plants – Lemon Myrtle, Camellia, Manuka Honey Hand Cream

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Glycerin*, Cetearyl Glucoside^, Sorbitan Olivate^, Beeswax*, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil*, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil*, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract^, Honey (Manuka)^, Xanthan Gum^, Arctium Lappa Root Extract*, Lactic Acid^, Backhousia Citriodora Leaf Oil*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil*, Potassium Sorbate^, Citric Acid^, Alcohol*. *Certified Organic and 100% Natural ^Natural Source.

Pros:People Plants Hand Cream

  • Reasonably priced ($12.95 at my local shop)
  • 90.6% ACO certified organic
  • Ingredients are good
  • It’s Australian made and cruelty free


  • It feels sticky, like there’s too much beeswax
  • It’s too watery and light
  • It doesn’t give me enough moisture

I really wanted to like this one, but I hate using it. It goes on watery, then goes instantly sticky – so sticky that you can’t rub it in, which I think is the beeswax. I get no moisture from it, either. I passed it on to my husband, who’s not nearly fussy as me (and gets super dry hands from all the washing up I make him do!) and he hated it, too. I love natural handcreams, but not this one.

Verdict: Thumbs down

Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream

Ingredients:  Aqua (water), glycerine (vegetable), persea gratissima (avocado oil), macadamia ternifolia (macadamia oil), wheat straw glycosides, ceteryl alcohol, calendula officialis (calendula/marigold oil), sophora microphylla (kowhai extract), tocopherol (Vitamin E), gluconolactone, sodium benzoate, calcium gluconate, fragrances of sweet orange and cedarwood: benzyl benzoate*, benzyl salicylate*, citronellol*, d-limonene*, farnesol*, geraniol*, linalool*.

Pros:Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai Flower Hand Cream

  • smells great
  • good ingredients
  • Organic? I can’t tell from the tube, and I threw the box away. There’s nothing on the website, either.


  • Expensive! I paid $31.95 locally

I really like this one. The smell is lovely – orangey and then kind of woodsy. It goes on well and is easy to rub in, and it’s not too greasy, so I can get back to work without my fingers slipping on the keyboard. It’s also nice and moisturising, great to put on last thing at night before I go to sleep. But the price – ouch! Much more than I’d be willing to pay regularly.

Verdict: Thumbs up

Weleda Skin Food

$21.95 for 75 ml (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Alcohol, Beeswax (Cera Flava), Glyceryl Linoleate, Hydrolyzed Beeswax, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Viola Tricolor Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Cholesterol, Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Coumarin*. * from natural essential oils

Pros:Weleda Skin Food

  • Smells gorgeous
  • Works brilliantly!
  • biodynamic and NaTrue certified
  • Price is okay ($21.95), considering how good, and useful, this product is


  • Greasy

This is brilliant! I can’t live without this – it fixes everything. Okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but I really, really love it. Dry feet – rub Skin Food on at night, sleep with socks on and you’ll have baby soft feet in the morning. Same with elbows, and dry patches anywhere. The only thing is that it’s greasy, so you need to apply it to your hands last thing before you go to sleep (and ideally, wear some of those cotton glove thingies to stop you getting grease marks on the doona cover). You wake up the next day with super soft, younger looking hands (yes, really!) and I find that you don’t need hand cream again until the next night.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream

$16.95 for 50 ml (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Beeswax, Tapioca Starch, Lysolecithin, Beeswax (Cera Flava), Glyceryl Stearate SE, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Benzyl Salicylate*, Geraniol*, Citral* (* from natural essential oils).

Pros:Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream

  • Gorgeous smell
  • Not at all greasy
  • biodynamic and NaTrue certified
  • Price is reasonable ($16.95)


  • Not quite moisturising enough for me, but I have very dry hands so might not be a problem for someone else

I rather like this. It’s not quite as moisturising as my hands need, but it’s still pretty good. This is a good cream for everyday use. I can apply it and get back to the laptop immediately, too, because it’s not greasy.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

Weleda Pomegranate Hand Cream

$17.95 for 50 ml (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Punica Granatum Seed Oil, Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Petal Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Eugenol*, Coumarin* (* from natural essential oils).


  • smells divine
  • very moisturising
  • don’t need to apply it often
  • biodynamic and NaTrue certified
  • reasonably priced ($17.95)


  • too greasy to use and then get back on the keyboard

I love this. It’s too greasy to be used during the day, but I apply it every night before I go to sleep. It’s so moisturising that it’s very rare that I need to use hand cream during the day, even if I’m washing them heaps. This hand cream really does seem to restore moisture, not just put a layer of moisture on my skin that washes off next time I wash my hands.

Verdict: my favourite for night

Lavera Basis Handcream

$11.95 for 75 mls (Available at Hello Charlie)

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Alcohol*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Stearic Acid, Cellulose, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Xanthan Gum, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Tocopheryl Acetate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lecithin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Lysolecithin, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Fragrance (Parfum)**, Limonene**, Linalool**, Geraniol**, Citral**, Citronellol** (* ingredients from certified organic agriculture, ** components of natural essential oils)


  • smells lovely
  • light yet moisturising
  • very reasonably priced
  • NaTrue certified with lots of organic ingredients
  • not greasy at all


  • can’t really think of any!

This is the ideal day time hand cream, where you need to apply some and then grab your phone or keep working. The Lavera Basis Handcream isn’t at all greasy, so it’s perfect for this. I’ve taken to keeping this on my desk at work, and in my handbag, too.

Verdict: my favourite for day

Hand Cream Smackdown Results

When I first wrote this review in 2015, I had ditched the A’Kin one and was using the Antipodes one (although I haven’t bought it again – too expensive for me), the Weleda Sea Buckthorn and the Weleda Skin Food at night.

Since revisiting the Weleda Pomegranate handcream (which I wasn’t using when I first reviewed hand creams) I’ve pretty much switched to that. I usually have a tube of the Lavera handcream on my desk or in my handbag for handcream on the go, but the Weleda Pomegranate restores moisture so much that I don’t really need hand cream during the day. How’s that for a win?

So it’s bye bye to the once beloved Akin – sorry, Akin, but I’ve moved on.

Which is your favourite natural handcream? Let us know in the comments below!

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Is your lip balm drying your lips?

Autumn Lips - Is Your Lip Balm Drying Your Lips?

Autumn Lips - Is Your Lip Balm Drying Your Lips?

I’m a certified lip balm-aholic. I have them everywhere – purse, car, bedside table, bathroom, kitchen … you name it, I’ve got them stashed everywhere.

But when I was chatting to one of my brothers the other day, he said to me that he never uses lip balm because it dries his lips out. Oh honey, I said, have I taught you nothing over the years? And promptly sent him off with a batch of my home made lip balms (of which more, later!).

Acure Organics Choc Mint Lip Balm
Acure Choc Mint Lip Balm

It did get me thinking, though. I know all about what ingredients are nourishing and moisturising, but I didn’t know which ingredients are drying. And call me cynical, but I know that big cosmetic companies want you to use as much lip balm as possible, so they make it feel smooth going on, but it’s drying so that you have to use more and more lip balm. Which means they sell more. Hmmm.


What to look for when buying lip balms

Go natural! You’re eating that stuff – putting it on your lips, then licking your lips, biting your lips and rubbing that lip balm off on the apple you’re eating.

Avoid the usual suspects:

  • parabens
  • phthalates
  • synthetic fragrance
  • petrochemicals
  • synthetic colours

If you’re putting it on your lips, you’re putting it on your mouth, so avoid the synthetics altogether!

Some more ingredients that you’re going to want to avoid: camphor, phenol, menthol. They’ll cool your lips and give them a nice tingly feel, but they’re very drying, so best to avoid.

Alcohol is another drying ingredient, so avoid lip balms with this.

Salicylic acid might be exfoliating, but it’s super drying, so skip this one, too.

Here’s what you do want to look for when you’re checking lip balm ingredients:

  • natural oils like avocado, jojoba, macadamia, coconut
  • natural butters like cocoa butter, shea butter,
  • a natural humectant (which will increase the moisture and prevent irritation) like glycerin
  • natural waxes like beeswax, candelilla or carnauba waxes or lanolin

Are you going to be out in the sun?

Then you need a lip balm with sunscreen. Avoid the chemical absorbers and go with a physical barrier like zinc or titanium dioxide (and make sure they’re non-nano!).

Some citrus oils are phototoxic and will make your lips more likely to burn in the sun, so choose carefully.

Hurraw Tangerine Chamomile Lip Balm SPF15
Hurraw Tangerine Chamomile Lip Balm SPF15

Do you want night time lip moisture?

Go with something a little heavier and super moisturising that’s going to give your lips a moisture bath while you’re sleeping.

Weleda Everon Lip Balm
Weleda Everon Lip Balm
Dr Bronner Organic Lip Balm - naked
Dr Bronner Organic Lip Balm – naked

Want a hint of colour?

If you’re after a bit of colour, but good moisture, then you need a tinted lip balm. Avoid synthetic FD&C colours, and look for micas or plant based colours.

Hurraw Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm
Hurraw Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm
ecotints rose quartz tinted lip balm
ecotints rose quartz tinted lip balm

If we’ve inspired you to switch to a natural and organic lip balm, you’re in luck! Jump on over to Hello Charlie and check out our great range. Do your lips a favour!

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808 Dude Skincare for Teens – Reviewed by Teens!

808 Dude Teen Skincare Review

I was so excited when our shipment of 808 Dude arrived at Hello Charlie. Excited because I’m kind of geeky about organic skincare, but even more excited than usual because I have a teenage boy who’s been asking me if I can buy him Lynx. Eeeek!

Once I’d stopped hyperventilating (have all my years of preaching taught him nothing?), it turns out that he wanted something, ‘like Lynx, mum, but without all that crap you’re always going on about’. Phew.

So I started searching. And searching. And searching. Who knew it was so difficult to buy organic skincare for boys? I knew I was on a winner when I found 808 Dude. Not only is it made right here in Australia by a Melbourne mum, and it’s organic, but … and this is the tricky part … it doesn’t look like it’s organic.

Apparently teen boys are embarrassed about organic. Well, the ones I know are. If that packaging has so much as a leaf on it – mortal embarrassment, dude. All this came to light when I was chatting to the three teen guinea pigs, sorry, boys who have been testing 808 Dude for me over the last couple of months.

The other day I told them I was interviewing them about 808 Dude and what they thought about it. Son, cousin, and son’s friend all shuffled feet, coughed, mumbled and punched each other for a while. Then they mumbled a while longer. Eventually one of them offered, “It’s hard to, like, explain.” “You feel cleaner when you’ve had a shower,” said another. Hmmm. So far, so typically teenage boy.

Teen Review 1.

Eventually, my son decided that he liked it because it smells good, much nicer than Lynx (which he says gives him asthma when other boys spray it around). He likes the roll on deodorant, because you can throw it in your bag, and it works when you use it. He also loves the fact that it doesn’t look like something mum would buy, and it looks like stuff boys his age would use (peer acceptance being very big at this age!). His actual words were that, “it doesn’t look sorta young.”

Like the good little label reader I’ve taught him to be, he also reckons there’s good stuff in it.

Hilariously (to me, anyway) he loves the shampoo and body wash because you only have to use one thing in the shower! Apparently, this is another big thing for boys. My 8 year old piped up at this point and said he had been finding showering very confusing because you were supposed to use shampoo, conditioner, and soap and now he can use just one thing. Boy, the things you find out when you start asking questions.

Teen Review 2.

Teen cousin said that he loved 808 Dude because it has a nice smell. (It really does. And it’s a definite boy kind of smell.) He also helpfully suggested that it’s a great brand because you feel a lot cleaner after you’ve had a shower.

He thought that the packaging was “artistic and fancy”, and it matched the name. He thought it was cool, and not embarrassing to have in your sports bag. He liked the deodorant, and thought it worked well.

The face wash has really helped his pimples, he reckons, and it doesn’t dry his skin.

This teen is on his third lot of 808 Dude, so he’s either using it heaps or his older brother is helping himself, too!

Teen Review 3.

Teen friend of son thought that the shampoo and body wash was awesome because you don’t have to think. Multiple shower products are clearly too much for teenaged boys to deal with, so I think 808 Dude has really hit the nail on the head with this one. Teen friend also thought it made his hair really, really soft. Chatting to his mum later, it was revealed that he hadn’t actually been washing his hair at all prior to 808 Dude, so the softness may not be entirely due to the product, and more to do with the fact that it’s actually encouraging him to wash his hair!

He also liked the deodorant and thought that it worked well, and that the packaging was pretty cool or sick, or rad, or skeg or something else unintelligible, but basically translates to good.

So there you have it. Three teen boys mumble their way to a big thumbs up for 808 Dude. It’s an ideal brand for teen and pre-teen boys, with great organic ingredients and no nasties. Check it out here at Hello Charlie.


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Redmond Earthpaste & Lead Warnings – What’s Going On?

Redmond Earthpaste and Lead Warnings

Redmond Earthpaste and Lead Warnings

We had a call from Anna, one of our lovely customers, the other day. “I’ve just received my Redmond Earthpaste from you guys,” she said, “and I’m confused. On the package it says that it may contain traces of lead. Should I be using this?”

I love getting calls like this from customers. I love that our customers read packaging, and I love that they come and ask us when they’re not sure. (I also love that they’re just so lovely when they call and ask us stuff like this!)

Here’s what the packaging on Redmond Earthpaste says:

[California Residents Proposition 65] WARNING: This product may contain trace amounts of lead, a substance known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. This product may not be appropriate for consumption by children or pregnant women.

Now, of course, I’d done my research before adding Redmond Earthpastes to the Hello Charlie website, so I was completely happy to be stocking this one, and indeed was already using it at home.

But I’d forgotten that people can’t read my mind (doh), and I really should have written an explanation and posted it. So I’m very grateful to Anna for bringing this to my attention, and here’s what I explained to her.

Start by having a look at the explanation on the Redmond Earthpaste website: (love the handy infographic on here, by the way!)

And there is also information on Proposition 65 on the California Government website:

Basically, as Redmond Earthpaste is made with bentonite clay, it contains trace elements of naturally occurring lead. Under California law, companies have to notify customers if there are particular chemicals in products that they purchase, whether or not those chemicals are natural or synthetic, and even if there are only tiny amounts.

For further reading, you can also have a look at the EPA (the US environmental protection agency) on lead:
Natural levels of lead in soil are about 50 and 400 parts per million, and the Redmond Earthpastes have about 12 parts per million:

So it’s a trace element, very low indeed, and is safe for use.

As an aside, we don’t stock the Wintergreen Redmond Earthpaste, as methyl salicylate (which is one of the chemical compounds in Wintergreen essential oil) can be very toxic for children, and not safe for pregnant women, either, although it does have great therapeutic benefits for adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. I felt that it was safer not to stock this one but to stick with the spearmint and peppermint flavours instead. Anyway, in my opinion, the wintergreen essential oil IS an issue, but the small trace elements of naturally occurring lead is not.

We’re loving the Redmond Earthpaste at home, by the way! Even my terribly fussy ‘if it doesn’t foam it’s not toothpaste’ husband.

If you’re keen to try it, you can get it here at Hello Charlie.

With thanks to Anna for bringing this to my attention!



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Cheat Sheet: Safer Toothpastes for Adults and Children

Safer Toothpastes - a Hello Charlie Cheat Sheet

Safer Toothpastes - a Hello Charlie Cheat Sheet

For the first time, we’ve reviewed not only natural children’s toothpastes, but natural toothpastes for adults as well. So here they are, safer toothpastes for everyone!

Top Natural Toothpaste Choices for Children (in alphabetical order):

  • Baby Organics Toothpaste
  • Jack ‘n Jill Kids Toothpastes
  • Little Innoscents Milky Whites Organic Toothpaste
  • Phytoshield Ankle Biters Toothpaste
  • Red Seal Natural Children’s Toothpaste
  • Weleda Calendula Toothpaste
  • Weleda Children’s Tooth Gel

Top Natural Toothpaste Choices for Adults (in alphabetical order):

  • A Vogel Dentaforce Toothpastes
  • Comvita Toothpastes
  • Jason PowerSmile Toothpaste
  • Maharishi Ayurveda AyurDent Classic Toothpaste
  • Miessence Toothpastes
  • Phytoshield Toothpastes
  • Redmond Earthpastes (but not wintergreen – see below)
  • Riddells Creek
  • Weleda Toothpastes

Safer toothpastes for children – the reviews


Name: Aloe Dent Children’s Toothpaste Aloe Dent Children’s Toothpaste
Ingredients: Glycerin (Vegetable Source), Sorbitol (Plant Origin), Hydrated Silica (Mineral Origin), Aloe Barbadensis, Aqua, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (Protein Derivative), Aroma, Escin (Horse Chestnut), Hydroxyethylcellulose (Plant Origin), Menthol (Natural Origin), Ubiquinone (Co Enzyme Q 10), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil), Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (Protein Origin), Xylitol (Plant Origin), Citric Acid, Cl 14700
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 5 (Moderate Hazard)
Cost: 50ml for $8.95
Comments: The big problem here is with the ‘aroma’. It’s fragrance by another name. EWG says that Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is a formaldehyde releaser, so it’s another one to be avoided. All in all, there are better toothpastes out there.


Name: Baby Organics Orange Toothpaste Baby Organics Orange Toothpaste
Ingredients: Certified Organic Blend of Aloe Vera, Peppermint, Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary & Sage Extracts, Purified Water, Sodium Bicarbonate, Organic Sugar Cane Ethanol, Calcium Carbonate, Xanthan Gum, Organic Coconut Extract, Organic Stevia, Sweet Orange Essential Oil, Organic Celtic Sea Salt, Olive Leaf Extract & Grapefruit Seed Extract.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a but we estimate it at a 1
Cost: 100ml for $8.35
Comments: Good ingredients, good choice for little teeth! Certified organic is always awesome, too.


Name: Dr. Sharp Wild Berry Kids Toothpaste Dr. Sharp Wild Berry Kids Toothpaste
Ingredients: Glycerin, Hydrated Silica, Water (Aqua), Natural Flavor, Xylitol, Salva Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/stem Extract, Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Carrageenan, Cellulose Gum, Calcium Glycerophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Sodium, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: not sure that this is available in Australia any more.
Comments: The first thing that jumps out here is the flavour – it might say natural, but without the ingredients, who knows? It looks okay otherwise.


Name: Jack N’ Jill Natural Calendula Toothpaste BananaJack N’ Jill Natural Calendula Toothpaste Banana
Ingredients: Silica, Vegetable Glycerin, Xylitol, Certified Organic Calendula, Officinalis Extract, Xantham Gum, Natural Flavour (USDA organic), Purified Water
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 50g for $6.50 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: One of our favourites here at Hello Charlie. Great ingredients, and kids really love these flavours. The flavours are USDA certified organic, so you know there’s no nasties.


Name: Lavera Children’s ToothpasteLavera Children’s Toothpaste
Ingredients: Glycerin, Aqua, Silica, Xylitol, Xanthan Gum, Fragaria Chiloensis Fruit Extract*, Rubus Idaeus Fruit Extract*, Maris Sal, Carvone, CI 75470, Aroma**, Geraniol**, Limonene**, Linalool**, Citronellol** (*certified organic agriculture ** from natural essential oils)
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 3 (Moderate Hazard)
Cost: 75ml for $6.95
Comments: The flavour is an issue with this, but otherwise it’s pretty good.


Name: Little Innoscents Milky Whites Organic ToothpasteLittle Innoscents Milky Whites Organic Toothpaste
Ingredients: Aloe Vera Juice (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice)*, Glycerine*, Emulsifying Wax (Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate), Organic Ethanol*, Calcium (Calcium Lactate), Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Caprylate, Decyl Glucoside, Stevia (Stevia Rebaudiana Extract) *, Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate), Organic Strawberry Flavour (Fragaria Vesca)*, Spearmint Oil (Mentha Viridis)*
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a but we estimate it as a 1
Cost: 50ml for $4.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Certified organic by ACO, organic flavour – this looks great.


Name: Okinawa Coral Kids Toothpaste Okinawa Coral Kids Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium carbonate (coral minerals), stevia (stevia rebauduana) leaf extract, xylitol, golden seal (hydrastis canadensis) extract, ginkgo (ginkgo biloba), ginseng (panax ginseng) root extract, echinacea (echinacea angustifolia) extract, mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil, natural mixed berry, natural bubblegum flavour, sorbital, aqua (purified water), hydrated silica, hydrogen peroxide, sodium cocoyl gluamate, sodium magnesium silicate, cellulose gum.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 3 (Moderate Hazard)
Cost: 170g for $15.93
Comments: As usual, it’s the flavour that’s a problem, but also hydrogen peroxide. Not sure that this is necessary in a children’s toothpaste?


Name: Phytoshield Ankle Biters ToothpastePhytoshield Ankle Biters Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate (chalk), Purified Water, Glycerol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Lauryl Glucoside, Silica, Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Natural Fruit Flavours and Flavour Modifiers, Spearmint Oil, Peppermint Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Menthol, Totarol
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 75g for $ 6.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: The flavour, it’s always the flavour! Nothing else nasty in this, though, so it’s getting our vote.


Name: Red Seal Natural Kids ToothpasteRed Seal Baking Soda Toothpaste Kids
Ingredients: Calcium carbonate, Purified water, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Lauryl glucoside, Silica, Cellulose gum, Stevia rebaudiana extract, Spearmint oil, Peppermint oil, Eucalyptus oil, Menthol, Natural fruit flavours (peach, banana), Totarol
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 75g for $2.61
Comments: Flavour again, but otherwise this is another good one.


Name: Snappy Jaws Kids ToothpasteSnappy Jaws Kids Toothpaste
Active Ingredient: Xylitol (from birch tree)
Other Ingredients: Calcium hydrogen phosphate, water, sorbitol (from berries), glycerine, hydrated silica, lauryl glucoside (from palm), natural flavour, hydrogenated castor oil, vegetable gum, citric acid, potassium sorbate, peppermint oil, natural colour
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 3 (Moderate Hazard)
Cost: 75g for $ 5.50
Comments: This time it’s not just flavour, there’s colour, too. I understand manufacturers tempting kids with natural flavours, but there’s no need for colours, too. Not my favourite because of this, but not terrible, either.


Name: Spry Kids Tooth Gel NaturalSpry Kids Tooth Gel Natural
Ingredients: Purified water, Xylitol, Calcium glycerophosphate, Cellulose gum (thickening agent), and Grapefruit seed extract (as a preservative).
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 60ml for $7.50
Comments: This seems okay, the only issue is the GSE which has contamination concerns. It’s also an antioxidant, not a preservative, so I’d be wondering how much is used in this. Without further information, I’d give this one a miss.


Name: Weleda Calendula ToothpasteWeleda Calendula Toothpaste
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Alcohol, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Limonene*.* from natural essential oils
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a but it used to be listed as 1
Cost: 75ml for $9.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Ah, Weleda, we love you! Great ingredients, fabulous company, biodynamic products. What’s not to love?


Name: Weleda Children’s Tooth GelWeleda Children’s Tooth Gel
Ingredients: Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Silica, Algin, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Esculin, Flavor (Aroma)*, Limonene*.* from natural essential oils
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 50ml for $7.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: My personal favourite children’s toothpaste. My 8 y.o. has only ever used this, and I’ve been known to sneak it, too.


Safer toothpastes for adults – the reviews


Name: A.Vogel Dentaforce Rosemary Toothpaste A.Vogel Dentaforce Rosemary Toothpaste
Ingredients: Water, calcium carbonate, sorbitol, glycerin, silica, hyroxyethylcellulose, Echinacea purpurea (Coneflower extract), Alcohol, Mentha piperita (Peppermint oil), Krameria triandra (Ratanhia extract), Romarinus officinalis (Rosemary oil), Menthol, Mentha viridis (Spearmint oil), Limonene.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 100g for $11.90
Comments: Looks like a pretty good list of ingredients, nothing that I can see that would cause concern. Worth a try!


Name: AloeDent Triple Action Toothpaste Fluoride FreeAloeDent Triple Action Toothpaste Fluoride Free
Ingredients: Glycerin (veg origin), Sorbitol, Hydrated Silica, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Aqua, Xylitol, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Carboxymethyl Chitosan (from shellfish), Escin (from Horse Chesnut), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Menthol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Ubiquinone (Co-Q10), Melaleuca Alternifolla (Tea Tree) Oil, Citric Acid, CI75810 (colour), Limonene*. *Natural constituent of essential oils.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 100ml for $10.75
Comments: There’s a few issues with the Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, including environment toxin concerns, and the Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is a formaldehyde releaser. This would put me off, especially when there’s better products available.


Name: Auromere Herbal Toothpaste Cardamom FennelAuromere Herbal Toothpaste Cardamom Fennel
Ingredients: Fine Chalk (A Gentle Cleanser), Glycerine (From Vegetable Oil), Water, Herbal Extract Blend: [Peelu (Salvadora Persica), Neem (Azadirachta Indica), Indian Licorice Root, Pomegranate Rind, Commom Jujube, Rose Apple, Clove, Persian Walnut, Barleria Prinoitis Bark (Vajradanti), Indian Almond, Bedda Nut, Asian Holly Oak, Prickly Ash, Zanthoxylum Alatum, Sappan Wood, Catechu, Bengal Madder, Acacia Arabica Bark (Babul), Sarsaparilla, Cinnamon, Medlar Bark, Mayweed, Bishop’s Weed (Flower Extract)], Silica, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (From Indian Coconut Oil), Carageenan (From Seaweed), Cellulose (Plant) Gum, Clove Oil, Peppermint Oil, Spearmint Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Menthol, Thymol, Anethol, Geranium Extract
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 4 (Moderate Hazard)
Cost: 117g for $12.95
Comments: This is an interesting one. Apart from the SLS, this scores quite high on EWG because of the choice of essential oils. Clove, cinnamon and thyme are essential oils that can cause allergies. One to consider carefully before using.


Name: Comvita’s Natural Gentle ToothpasteComvita’s Natural Gentle Toothpaste
Ingredients: Glycerin, aqua, calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, xylitol, betaine, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, Chondrus crispus (carrageenan) powder, Chamomilla recutita (German chamomile) flower extract, Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) branch/leaf oil, Mentha arvensis (peppermint) leaf oil, Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) oil, menthol, Mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil, olea europaea (olive) leaf extract, xanthan gum.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 100g for $9.95
Comments: A good lineup of ingredients. It’s worth noting that there are questions about carrageenan (although the jury is still out). I’d use this, though.


Name: Desert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil and Neem ToothpasteDesert Essence Natural Tea Tree Oil and Neem Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin (Vegetable Derived), Water (Aqua), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Distillate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Carrageenan (Plant Derived), Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Oil, Sodium Bicarbonate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil*, Melia Azadirachta Extract (Neem), Sea Salt.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 176g for $12.95
Comments: Looks pretty good, but watch out for the wintergreen oil, which should not be used by children, or pregnant or breastfeeding woman.


Name: Dr Organic Organic Aloe Vera ToothpasteDr Organic Aloe Toothpaste
Ingredients: Glycerin, Aloe barbadensis leaf Juice, Sorbitol, Hydrated silica, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Mentha piperita oil, Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, Menthol, Cetraria islandica extract, Sodium monofluorophosphate, Escin, Melaleuca alternifolia (leaf) oil, Xylitol, Aqua, Sodium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, Citric acid, Limonene. Contains Sodium monofluorophosphate.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 100ml for $9.95
Comments: I get cross with this brand. Calling yourself Dr Organic, and using one organic ingredient does not make it an organic product. It sets off my greenwash alarms. Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate has a few issues, but otherwise the ingredients are okay. Just don’t be fooled into thinking it’s organic – it’s not.


Name: Epic Spearmint Toothpaste Xylitol Sweetened Fluoride Free Epic Spearmint Toothpaste Xylitol Sweetened Fluoride Free
Ingredients: Vegetable Glycerin, Purified Water, Hydrated Silica, Xylitol, Natural Flavors, Sodium Lauroyl Sorcosinate, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Cellulose Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Calcium Glycerophosphate, Copper PCA, Zinc PCA.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 138g for $12.95
Comments: Problems again with the Sodium Lauroyl Sorcosinate, and flavours in this one. Both the copper PCA and zinc PCA are bioaccumulative, so on balance, I’d probably give this one a miss. There are better choices out there.


Name: Forever Bright ToothgelForever Bright Toothgel
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Gel (Stabilized Aloe Vera Gel), Sorbitol, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Carrageenan, Flavor, Bee Propolis, Sodium Saccharin, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 3 (Moderate Hazard)
Cost: 130 g for $10.25
Comments: Sulphates and saccharin are enough to put me off this one.


Name: Grants of Australia Toothpaste – Extra Fresh Grants of Australia Toothpaste – Extra Fresh
Ingredients: Water (aqua), Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin (Vegetable), Xylitol, Silica, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cellulose Gum, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dihydrate, Natural Flavours, Stevioside (Stevia), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil – certified organic, Magnesium Hydroxide, Potassium Chloride. Contains Minerals: Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Sodium.Natural flavour contains extracts of: Mint Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Cardamon, Celery, Caraway, Coriander, Dill, Thyme, Rosemary & Sage.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (Low Hazard) 
Cost: 110g for $4.95
Comments: The only issue I have here is the Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate. Otherwise it’s a good list of ingredients.


Name: Jason PowerSmile Whitening ToothpasteJason PowerSmile Whitening Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Carrageenan, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Extract, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract, Silica, Sodium Bicarbonate
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 170g for $11.00
Comments: Another good one. I’d use this, too!


Name: Lemon Myrtle Fragrances ToothpasteLemon Myrtle Fragrances Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Water, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Silica, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cellulose Gum, Xylitol, Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate, Stevioside, Peppermint Oil, Lemon Myrtle Oil, Menthol, Magnesium Hydroxide, Potassium Chloride.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 110g for $9.95
Comments: Our friend Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is here again, but otherwise this is a good line up of ingredients, and one probably try.


Name: Maharishi Ayurveda AyurDent Classic ToothpasteMaharishi Ayurveda AyurDent Classic Toothpaste
Ingredients: Dicalcium phosphate dihydrate, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Aqua, Calcium carbonate, Silica, Mentha spicata herb oil, Mentha piperita oil, Quercus infectoria gall extract, Terminalia chebula fruit extract, Chondrus crispus, Terminalia belerica fruit extract, Emblica officinalis fruit extract, Barleria prionitis plant extract, Glycyrrhiza glabra root extract, Piper longum fruit extract, Albizzia lebbeck bark extract, Zingiber officinale root extract, Mimusops elengi bark extract, Salvadora persica root extract, Azadirachta indica bark extract, Symplocos racemosa bark extract, Sodium silicate, Eugenia caryophyllus oil, Acacia catechu bark extract, Menthol, Thymol, Limonene*, Linalool*, Farnesol*, Isoeugenol**from real essential oil
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 75 mL for $9.95
Comments: I can’t see any issues with this one. Good line up of ingredients, definitely worth trying.


Name: Manuka Health Propolis & Manuka Honey Toothpaste with Manuka OilManuka Health Propolis & Manuka Honey Toothpaste with Manuka Oil
Ingredients: Calcium carbonate, water, sorbitol, glycerine, MGO™ 400+ Manuka Honey, sodium lauryl sulphate, silica, cellulose gum, magnesium aluminium silicate (kaolin clay), aromatic oils and limonene, titanium dioxide, BIO30 New Zealand Propolis, menthol, Glycyrrhiza glabra (Liquorice) root extract, Tea Tree oil, chlorophyll
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 100g for $11.75
Comments: The only issue I can see with this is the SLS, and I choose not to use products with sulphates.


Name: Miessence Mint ToothpasteMiessence Mint Toothpaste
Ingredients: Certified organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), Non-GMO Xanthan Gum, sea salt, certified organic mentha spicata (spearmint) essential oil, certified organic mentha piperita (peppermint) essential oil, stevia rebaudiana extract, certified organic cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon) leaf essential oil, certified organic syzygium aromatica (clove) bud essential oil
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 150g for $ 10.55 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Love, love, love.


Name: Nature’s Goodness Olive Leaf ToothpasteNature’s Goodness Olive Leaf Toothpaste
Active ingredient: Olive leaf extract
Other ingredients: Sorbitol, hydrated silica, glycerine, water, hydrogenated castor oil, lauryl glucoside, vegetable gum, lemon oil, peppermint oil, citric acid, potassium sorbate, natural colour.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 110g for $7.15
Comments: Aside from the ‘natural colour’, this looks a good ingredients list, too.


Name: Okinawa Coral White Toothpaste Okinawa Coral White Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate (Coral Minerals), Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf Extract, Xylitol, Hydrastis Canadenis (Golden Seal) Extract, Ginkgo Biloba, Panax Ginseng (Ginseng) Root Extract, Echinacea Angustifolia (Echinacea) Extract, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Sorbitol, Aqua (Purified Water), Hydrated Silica, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Cellulose Gum.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 170g for $16.95
Comments: This looks a reasonable ingredients list. Interestingly, it doesn’t have the hydrogen peroxide that’s in the children’s toothpaste, making it a better choice.


Name: Phytoshield Natural Herbal ToothpastePhytoshield Natural Herbal Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Water, Sorbitol, Glycerol, Xylitol, Lauryl Polyglucose, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Herbal Oil Blend, Eucalyptus Oil, Menthol Crystals, Peppermint Oil, Aniseed Oil, Zinc Oxide, Thaumatin, Totarol, Ethanol (from Totarol Tincture).
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 100g for $6.95
Comments: Nothing scary in this one, either. Another good choice.


Name: Red Seal Baking Soda ToothpasteRed Seal Baking Soda Toothpaste
Ingredients: Purified water, Sodium Bicarbonate, Calcium carbonate, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Sodium lauryl sulphate, Cellulose gum, Silica, Peppermint oil, Menthol, Eucalyptus oil, Aniseed oil, Sodium Saccharin, Totarol
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 100g for $ 3.40
Comments: SLS and saccharin means that I wouldn’t use this. It’s not terrible, but there are better choices.


Name: Redmond Earth Paste Toothpaste PeppermintRedmond Earth Paste Toothpaste Peppermint
Ingredients: Purified Water, Food Grade Redmond Clay, Xylitol, Peppermint Essential Oil, Menthol, Redmond Real Salt, Tea Tree Oil.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (Low Hazard)
Cost: 113g for $9.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: I love this. We’ve started using this at home, and even my finicky husband loves it.NB – Hello Charlie is not stocking the wintergreen toothpaste as wintergreen is not safe for children, or for pregnant and breastfeeding women. To be safe, stick with peppermint or spearmint.


Name: Riddells Creek Certified Organic Toothpaste MintRiddells Creek Certified Organic Toothpaste Mint
Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Purified Water, Peppermint extract, Parsley extract, Thyme extract, Rosemary extract, Sage Extract, Sodium Bicarbonate, Organic Ethanol, Calcium Carbonate, Xanthan Gum, Soapwort Extract, Saponified Organic Coconut Oil and Saponified Organic Olive Oil, Organic Stevia, Spearmint Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil, Celtic Sea Salt, Olive Leaf Extract, Almond Extract, Vanilla Extract.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1 (Low Hazard) 
Cost: 100g for $ 9.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Another great choice. Great ingredients and certified organic by ACO.


Name: Silicea Toothpaste With Collodial SilicaSilicea Toothpaste With Collodial Silica
Ingredients: Collodial Silica, Hydrated Silica, Sea Salt, Peppermint Oil, Cellulose Gum, Aniseed Oil, Menthol, Fennel Oil, Clove Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate, Sorbitrol, Glycerin, Water.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 50ml for $6.05
Comments: Nothing jumps out here – the ingredients all look good. Another one that’s worth a try.


Name: Thursday Plantation Tea Tree ToothpasteThursday Plantation Tea Tree Toothpaste
Ingredients: Calcium carbonate, purified water (aqua), sorbitol, glycerin, sarcosinate, hydrated silica, mint flavour, xylitol, celllulose gum, sodium phyrophospate, sodium benzoate, tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia) oil
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a
Cost: 110g for $5.95
Comments: No ingredients list on the manufacturer’s website, which I never like. Nothing jumps out, except the ‘mint flavour’.


Name: Vitacare Multicare Toothpaste Cool Mint Freshness + AcaiVitacare Multicare Toothpaste Cool Mint Freshness + Acai
Ingredients: Water, Hydrated Silica, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Titanium Dixoide, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D), Calcium Lactate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Powder, Xylitol, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice), Stevia Rebaudiana Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Xanthan Gum.
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 6 (Moderate Hazard)
Cost: 96g for $7.95
Comments: The retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) is the first thing that jumps out at me with this one – there are all sorts of issues with this. I’m not keen on tocopherol acetate (it’s the non-natural vitamin E), the Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, the vitamin D. I think you get the picture – avoid!


Name: Weleda Plant Gel ToothpasteWeleda Plant Gel Toothpaste
Ingredients: Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Hydrated Silica, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Krameria Triandra Root Extract, Commiphora Myrrha Extract, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Oil, Algin, Alcohol, Esculin, Limonene*.* from natural essential oils
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a but it used to be listed as 1
Cost: 75ml for $9.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: One of my favourite toothpastes – I’ve used this for years. I try others, but I always come back to it. Great ingredients that work.


Name: Weleda Ratanhia ToothpasteWeleda Ratanhia Toothpaste
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Alcohol, Krameria Triandra Root Extract, Commiphora Myrrha Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Limonene*.* from natural essential oils
EWG Skin Deep Rating: n/a but it used to be listed as 1
Cost: 75ml for $9.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: Another excellent product from Weleda!


Name: Weleda Salt ToothpasteWeleda Salt Toothpaste
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Bicarbonate, Glycerin, Silica, Prunus Spinosa Fruit Juice, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Commiphora Myrrha Extract, Krameria Triandra Root Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Bark Extract, Arum Maculatum Root Extract**, Sodium Chloride, Cyanopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Alcohol, Esculin, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Silicate, Flavour (Aroma)*, Limonene*, Linalool*.* from natural essential oils
EWG Skin Deep Rating: 3 (Moderate Hazard) 
Cost: 75ml for $9.95 (Buy at Hello Charlie)
Comments: EWG gives this a higher rating because of the flavour, but all of Weleda’s flavours are from essential oils and they’re all biodynamic. Weleda is a highly trustworthy company, and all their toothpastes get the thumbs up from me.


Which one do you use? Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below!

The usual disclaimer applies. See your dental professional should you have concerns.

Copyright © Hello Charlie 2015

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Why there’s no such thing as ‘chemical free’ products

Chemical Free? Why there's no such thing

Chemical Free? Why there's no such thing

I’m going to apologise in advance, because this is a rant. I get really cranky when I see products being advertised as ‘chemical free’. Why? Because …

… there’s no such thing as a chemical free product

That water you’re drinking? Chemicals. Hydrogen and oxygen. Two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen, otherwise known as H2O.

That salt you’ve just sprinkled on your breakfast eggs? Chemicals. Sodium and chlorine.

The very air you’re breathing? Chemical – oxygen.

Okay, so I know that this is overly simple, but you get what I mean. The only things around you that aren’t made up of chemicals are thing like light, electricity and gravity.

So when someone is trying to tell me that the products they’re selling me are ‘chemical free’, you’ll understand why I’m suddenly a little distrustful. Either they really don’t know what they’re talking about, or they’re deliberately greenwashing me and hoping that I’m not going to pick up on it.

Or they could be selling be a bottle that contains a vacuum – complete nothingness. Kind of cool, when you think about it, but I’ve never seen one yet.

‘Chemical free’ products are not better

It also annoys me that ‘chemical free’ is used to try and show that a product is better than another one, presumably a ‘chemical laden’ product. Which is also complete nonsense. Chemical free is like the phrase ‘natural’. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Lead is natural – are you going to add that to your diet?

What is it that these marketers actually trying to say? Do they mean the product is free of toxic chemicals? Do they mean it’s free of synthetic chemicals and is made from plant based, organic ingredients? Do they actually know what they are trying to say?

Chemical does not equal toxic. Chemical free does not equal organic, natural or even safe. Chemical free doesn’t mean anything.

Look for certified organic products. Read the ingredients on the back of the pack. Buy from reputable brands. And add the phrase ‘chemical free’ to your list of greenwash terms to look out for. It’s a phrase that’s complete and utter nonsense, and is not only entirely misleading – it’s a downright lie.

Image credit: Sludge G on Flickr.

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