Paraben free is a big beauty buzz word, but what exactly does that mean? Co-host Gayle Bass asked me about paraben free products a few weeks ago and we both thought that this would make a good segment, so read on to see the products that we try before you buy.
What the heck are parabens anyway?
With all of the talk about paraben free beauty items, I wanted to know exactly what the word means. So, I looked up the word, “parabens.” Wikipedia.com defines parabens as a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry. The Wikipedia definition also goes on to say that parabens are becoming increasingly controversial, because they have been found in high concentrations in breast cancer tumors. However, the site also points out that no causal link between parabens and cancer has been established.
So, as a mother and consumer sorting through all of this, I decided to call my favorite personal expert, my Mama! An all natural and organic consumer for most of her life, I usually take her advice. And since many of us aren’t scientists or doctors, we must make decisions based on our own instincts and of course, our tight budgets. A lot of the natural products do cost more, so here is a list of items that I found to be worth the extra money.
Paraben Free Picks & Prices
Burt’s Bees Hair Repair Shea & Grapefruit Deep Conditioner 2 Minute Treatment
The Burt’s Bees brand is affordable, mostly all natural and easily accessible since the line is sold in drug stores. All Burt's Bees products are paraben free, sulfate free, petrochemical free and phthalate free.
This particular product hydrates your hair with shea butter and honey, while the grapefruit extract enhances hair's natural shine. A 5 oz. tube sells for $8 on the Burt’s Bees website, but I found it for less at Wal-Mart, where the same size sells for $7.97.
First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller
With no parabens, harsh chemicals or colorants, this product has some interesting ingredients that include witch hazel, licorice root extract and caffeine. I like that the applicator is a soothing and cool under eye roller that works to alleviate dark circles and puffiness. Items in this line are all fragrance free as well. Sold exclusively at Sephora or sephora.com for $24, the site offers free shipping on orders over $50 along with free samples with every order. They charge the standard shipping flat rate of $5.95 and offer free returns.
Strawberry Hedgehog Tea Tree-Rosemary Organic Oils Facial Soap
While visiting my favorite healthy café, Pomegranate, in Ahwatukee, I noticed that the restaurant was selling a few beauty items that match their philosophy of all natural and organic ingredients. When I grabbed the $8 bar to purchase, the staff got excited telling me just how much they love this line. I was happy to hear that the Strawberry Hedgehog line is also local. In addition to Pomegranate, the line is also sold at Whole Foods and AJ’s Fine Foods. The bar is made of oils that include palm and coconut, organic herbs and minerals and is paraben free with no harsh chemicals. The scent is light and pleasant.
Strawberry Hedgehog owner, Tracy Perkins, makes all of her plant-based soaps right out of Arizona kitchen. I like the local flavor that is incorporated into her soaps and I like that her line is organic, green, local and homemade. To get some of her products at a reduced price, visit her site at strawberryhedgehog.com and click under the clearance tab.
Zia Treatments Citrus Night Time Reversal
When we sleep, cells rejuvenate themselves at night and work hand in hand with anti-aging face creams, so I was happy to find a paraben free brand called Zia. Unique ingredients in this overnight face cream include red wine, raw sugar and buttermilk, so I was intrigued. I once had an aesthetician tell me during a facial that I sport super sensitive skin, so I was relieved that this brand didn’t aggravate the occasional Eczema that I get around my chin.
Founded in 1984, Zia’s website says that they are proud to be one of the original all-natural skin care companies. No harsh chemicals, artificial colors or fragrances are put into their products. The Citrus Night Time Reversal cream that I tried sells for $29.95 on the zianatural.com site or get it for $23.88 at amazon.com.
Avalon Organics COQ10 Enzyme Skin Care Ultimate Firming Body Lotion
Made with 100% vegetarian ingredients and paraben free, this lotion claims that it will hydrate and firm skin. The first thing I noticed about the lotion was the organic scent. Instead of a pretty floral fragrance, it smelled like my Mom’s all natural products back home. Mom stays away from anything with a heavy cosmetic scent, so the odor did match the ingredient description.
After visiting the company’s official website, I discovered that the CoQ10 product name is an actual enzyme that is an essential antioxidant. Also included in the lotion is Vitamin E, organic Sunflower oil and organic white tea with algae for cellular hydration and skin firming benefits. Daily use can help boost skin's natural elasticity for a visibly smoother, firmer appearance of thighs, stomach and breast area. I did notice a small difference while using this, but I also believe that diet, exercise and sleep contribute to the success of this product. An 8 oz. bottle sells for $16.95 at avalonorganics.com.
Nature’s Gate Sunless Tanner Self Tanning Lotion
When I think of sunless tanners I think sun safety, but I also worry about added chemicals to achieve that fake and great glow. So, I was anxious to try and learn more about this Nature’s Gate product. With no parabens and artificial colors, the lotion is made with green tea, red raspberry extracts, olive oil, aloe and hibiscus. All of those ingredients sounded good to me and the scent reminded me of a light suntan lotion. Plus the tanner gave me a streak-free fake tan making this one of my favorite paraben free picks. Nature’s Gate products are sold at Whole Foods for $8.99 for a 4 oz. tube or visit natures-gate.com for more information and to order on-line.
Butter London Nail Polish
Thank goodness for spa week two weeks ago that allowed me to partake in a fabulous 50 minute massage at the spa at Hotel Valley Ho for a reduced price. While checking out, I noticed a nail polish line that this beauty junkie had never seen before, so I bought a bottle of Butter for this column. True to its name, it does go on like butter.
The line calls itself the “3 free” nail polish brand because the polish has no Formaldehyde, no Toluene and no DBP. Go to the site at butterlondon.com and you will see the 3 free motto that says that the Butter line believes in color, not carcinogens. Offering over 25 shades, Butter nail polish can also be purchased at the Arizona Biltmore or butterlondon.com for 14 bucks a bottle. So this line is pricy, but pretty.
Jason Citrus Agrumes Satin Shower Body Wash
While I like using bath gel with less chemicals, I often find that I don’t get the lather and big bubbles that I enjoy in a bubble bath. Of all the paraben free body wash lines that I tried, the one that truly lathers up with big suds is the Jason line. Free of parabens, pure, natural and organic, the satin shower body wash was a hit with my kids, too. Made with citrus, Chamomile, apricot oil and Vitamin E, I love the ingredients and also like that this company has been around since 1959.
Jason products are sold at AJ’s Fine Foods, Healthy Habit and many other retailers that can be found at the website, jason-natural.com. I paid $8 for mine.
Special thanks to our co-host Gayle, who encouraged me to do this topic because now my bathroom beauty shelf is filled with paraben free fabulous beauty products. If you have a favorite item made with less chemicals, tell me about here in the comments section. This manic but managed mom loves to try, before you buy, the good stuff.