Monday, June 7, 2010

Ask Mama Em

Hey Em,
Love your blog! I wanted to ask if you have any preferences or recommendations for shampoos for either you or Tye that are organic or "better" :) Thanks, Zainab

Hi Zainab!  What a great compliment!  Thank you so very much.  I find it amazing that other people think my life and my thoughts are interesting enough to read about (besides my mom!).  

For Tye, we use California Baby Calming Shampoo & Bodywash.  I love the gentle, all-natural essential oils used to fragrance it.  The price seems expensive for such a small bottle, and I had a hard time putting out the money initially, but it's so super concentrated that I think it's worth it.  In six and a half months, we've barely made a dent in the bottle.  That could also be because we don't bathe Tye daily.  In fact, for her first six months, we only bathed her once every 5-7 days (making sure, of course, that her diaper area was well-cleaned between baths).  Babies that young don't get dirty, and frequent baths can irritate skin because they strip away the skin's natural protective oils.   We are constantly hearing people say that she has beautiful skin, so I think it worked well for Tye.  Now that it's summer, I'm sure she'll be needing more frequent baths- after swimming, sunscreen, dusty dirt, or just mama's sweat from being pressed together in the carrier (poor girl!).  

When Tye was first born, she had some dry skin, so we used California Baby Calming Everyday Lotion.  I don't know yet if Tye has sensitive skin, but she wasn't sensitive to anything in this gentle lotion, also scented gently with essential oils.  Tye doesn't need lotion any longer, but I've stolen this from her and use it almost daily I love it so much.  It's my absolute favorite for the gentle scent and thick but non-greasy texture.  I make sure I don't use anything on my skin that Tye shouldn't eat, and I trust this to pass that test.  I've only tried these two California Baby products, but I love both and I especially love the story of the creative mom behind the company.  

I'm in the middle of switching hair care products for myself right now.  I've been using Aveda products, which is the most natural of salon brands and free of parabens and sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, but not organic and not as natural as I'd like.  I'm doing some research on the Skin Deep database (an awesome resource that ranks the toxicity of personal care products) to see which products are safest, but I'm finding it somewhat depressing!  That's how I learned that Aveda's signature "pure-fume" fragrance is actually not any safer than other conventional fragrances.  Bummer, since I love the way Aveda products smell!  Overall, Aveda scored decently (4s and 5s out of 10, 1 being safest and 10 the most toxic), but I'm still on a shampoo search.  I've heard of many women who "no-poo," meaning they use baking soda to shampoo and apple cider vinegar and water to rinse.  I'm curious, but nervous to try it, especially with sweaty workout hair.  

I'll let you know what hair care products I decide to test out.  I'm also always open to suggestions!  My hair is super fine, meaning each strand is very skinny but I have a lot of it, and the ends need a good deal of moisture because it's so long.  My roots, on the other hand, get sweaty after my runs and need a shampoo after workouts.  If I don't work out, I wash my hair every two or three days.  I will say, I'm going to try Tye's California Baby wash on my hair and see how it goes!  I already stole her lotion...

Thanks again for the note, and let me know what you think!



Do any of you readers have a solution to my haircare conundrum? Please don't be shy and help me out!  Thanks!


  1. I have to tell you that I tried the "no-poo" meathod and I did not like it at all. My sister in-law seemed to love it though I am not sure she stuck with it. I just never was able to get the bounce and shine... my hair just seemed flat. I loved the idea of it though. If you have any other suggestions, let me know! I would love to be able to make my own!

  2. Thanks for that feedback, Annie! I've heard very mixed things- either it works or it doesn't. I guess the only way to find out if it will work for me is if I try it... But I think I'll use up the rest of my Aveda first :)

    By the way, forgot to mention that we also use the CB Shampoo & Bodywash to make our cloth wipe solution. A few drops in a small bottle of water, used to wet cloth wipes, is working wonderfully for us! I really love that stuff.

  3. Hi Em! Kev and I made the switch to less toxic products a couple of years ago while I was doing research for a project on "Raising Green Babies" for an amazing class (Women and Environment) I took. I learned a lot from the books "Raising Baby Green" by Dr. Alan Greene, "The Complete Organic Pregnancy" by Deirdre Dolan, from the internet, of course, and the EWG site.
    Kevin uses dandruff shampoo, which I found out is one of the worst offenders in terms of toxic ingredients. He was hesitant at first, but he tried the JASON Dandruff Relief shampoo (Whole Foods and our local co-op sell it), and loves it. It works great for his hair. I switched to using whatever is on sale at WF or the co-op that week (btw - the WF house brand is cheap, but, in my opinion, their hair products do not work that well). I love the Alba shampoos (not sure where they are on the Skin Deep toxicity rating), and anything by Aubrey Organics. For body lotion (I am working VERY hard to break my habit of slathering my entire body with lotion after each shower, and am finding that the less I use the less I need!), I tried the Alba Very Emolient Body Lotion, but was super allergic to something in it (as in a bright red, burning patch would spread wherever I had slathered on lotion). I usually go with the Burt's Bee's lotions, and they work great for me, and will occasionally buy the WF stuff (unscented) because it's only $4 for a big bottle (another benefit of weaning myself off using so much lotion is that I will be able to buy better stuff, since it will last longer).
    For my face wash, face lotion, etc. I have tried Suki (loved it, especially their facial oil, but it's very expensive --- they sell a small "try it" kit at WF for about $30 with an entire skin-care regimen), Weleda (again, loved it, but expensive), and am currently using EarthScience's Clarifying Facial Wash and their Almond-Aloe Moisturizer with SPF 15. Personally, I find that the less I do to my face, the better it looks. I also LOVE Dr. Hauschka's stuff, but, holy moly, the cost!
    My next goal is to switch to non-toxic make-up, something I have been procrastinating on for quite a while because of the cost, the research I have to do, and the fear that the make-up won't be as good as toxic stuff. I recently found this site, Organic Diva: --- and think it will make shopping for less toxic products much easier (I LOVE online shopping!).
    Phew! Could this comment be any longer? I just love the blogging community for the amount of information sharing that happens. I love learning from other bloggers, and being able to share my knowledge (there's a lot to research out there!). Let me know what you try, and if you find something you love!

  4. Wow, Tam, that was awesome! I should have YOU write! FYI, I love my Bare Minerals powder- though I should check that on Skin Deep, too... And the rest of my facial regimen is Arcona, an all-natural, raw enzyme line that I have had really good success using. Pricey, but a little goes a long way. Unlike the 365 Shampoo and Conditioner, which I hated! Good thing it's so cheap- I ended up using it on Mico :)

  5. Also... great place to get all sorts of natural brands online:

  6. Em! Thank you so much for your post and reply to my question! I am sorry that I didn't respond sooner, we just gave birth to our first child on Saturday so I couldn't respond right away. I will definitely look into the California Babies products.From your new post I wanted to add that I also use Charlies and love it!
    Keep up the great informative posts.
    :) Zainab

  7. Congratulations, Zainab!!! What a magical time for you. I hope your family is resting and bonding and soaking up all the love, and that you are healing well. So many congrats!!!
    Best wishes,


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