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Green Parenting Tips: Beauty Products Demystified

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No parabens! Fragrance Free! All natural! Toxin-free! We are bombarded with messages about the right and wrong products to put on our family's bodies. It's all quite confusing for the modern mom. I've put together a little beauty vocabulary list to help educate Momtrends readers.

First lets start with our vocabulary lesson:
Phosphates: An inorganic chemical that is not good to mix with our water supplies. Addition of high levels of phosphate to environments like streams and can significantly harm the environment.
Vegan: Products that don't use animal ingredients.
Parabens: A class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. There are questions about the link with parabens and certain types of cancer.
Toxins: A poisonous substance produced by living cells or organisms.
All-Natural: According to the USDA, food can only be labeled natural if it contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is minimally processed.
Glycols: Organic solvents that can be passed from mother to fetus, and can affect the nervous system in high doses. To be avoided.
Sodium lauryl sulfate: A foaming agent known to cause skin and eye irritation, and found in the majority of bubble baths, shampoos and shower gels.

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Now lets talk labeling:
Here are good resources to de-code the mysterious product ingredient lists (this is partially resourced from the April Cosumer Reports ShopSmart Magazine):
Leaping Bunny:
This logo is crtified by a coalition of animal protection groups amd imidactes that the company ans its suppliers do not conduct or commission tests on animals.

Certified Organic:
In 2005, the USDA started allowing makers of qualified organic beauty and body-care products to use a USDA Organic seal. Those items with 95 percent organic ingredients, such as plants grown without the use of dangerous pesticides, can use the seal. Go here to learn about the certification process.
TIP: Arm yourself with knowledge and read labels when buying beauty products. If you don't understand the label...well, that should be telling you something.

Certified Biodegradable: This means the porduct was reviewed but the Scientific Certification Systems and foudn to be biodegrablable, nontoxic and phosphate free. Look for this on all the bottles you buy.
TIP: In general look for a 1 or a 2 High-density polyethylene (HDPE) on the bottom of the container to know they are easy to recycle and try to buy the largest size possible with the least amount of packaging.

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