Oh the great lengths we will go…

When my dad noticed the lashes on a news anchor the other night – I realized that the lash obsession in our country had hit critical mass.

Gone are the days when women opt for lash curlers and a great mascara. As per usual, the beauty industry has taken it up a notch. Now those on the quest for longer and thicker can choose from fake lashes, lash extensions, a visit to a lash salon, drops, potions, serums or… wait for it… keratin treatments AKA lash lifts. Each of these treatments promise longer, darker, thicker lashes. None of them mention the potential risks.

Right near the top of my “things I give a fuck about” list is my vision. So you can bet your little tushy I will be letting no person come near my eyes with glues, potions and magic anytime soon. I can barely stand the feeling of getting my eyes dilated at the doctor once a year so I am in no rush to experience the unintended side effects of the next best eyelash thing.

If you’ve been following along this BETTER journey – I have told you once or a maybe a thousand times that the beauty industry doesn’t have to do much of anything to protect your health. Even if a company’s phones are ringing off the hook with complaints and reports of adverse reactions… they are not required to report or reformulate. Yes, your lashes may grow from some of these innovations – but you may also experience itchy, red eyes, dark eyelids, reduced eye pressure, iris pigmentation (AKA changing the freakin’ color of your eyes!), and unwanted hair in areas you don’t want it. No thank you.

Before you flip your shit… I am going to tell you what to do:

1. Look at the ingredients in the products you’re putting on your lashes. Look them up using the ewg skin deep database. It’s not rocket science people. LOOK. UP. YOUR. SHIT. Your potion may not be terrible at all (there are some products that are totally fine)… but you will not know until you do some research.

2. If you’re having lashes applied at a salon or going in for any other kind of treatment, ask what is going to be used. Find out the name of the glue. Get the ingredients. Then LOOK. UP. THAT. SHIT. I asked a local lash extension specialist for her formulas. She shared both with me. Both were not something I would want anywhere near my eyes. If I had to pick one over the other I would opt for the sensitive formula (sensitive be like – you may still be able to see in 6 months).

3. Now here’s the easy part. Listen closely. STOP. USING. THAT. SHIT. If there’s crap in your products don’t put crap on your eyes. Easy peasy.

Now here’s where we get to the BETTER part. I am going to share my secret, not so secret formula for longer, BETTER lashes. This magic will cost you a fraction of the price, it won’t cause any unintended side effects and it will leave your lashes stronger, healthier and hopefully a little longer, too. Here’s what you need:

1. Organic, cold-pressed castor oil

2. Q-tips

That’s all.

After washing your face in the evening (and removing your eye makeup if you are wearing it)…lightly saturate a q-tip with castor oil and apply it to the base of your lashes before bed. Voila! Done! Give it a few weeks and you should see increased strength and hopefully a slightly longer lash.
Castor oil has been used for years. It is packed with nutrients that encourage lash growth and has been shown to be fantastic for other eye ailments. It is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants and proteins which is why it is so helpful in encouraging hair growth.
Buy an organic, cold pressed oil. This will cost you a fraction of the price of other lash products and will promote health without the icky stuff.

Give it a try for a month and report back to me! I want to know what you think!!

My other picks for longer, BETTER eyelashes are these two mascaras and this gentle, non-toxic makeup remover from Beautycounter. An unintended and positive side-effect of using products like these is that your lashes will often become healthier as a result. Try these or one of the other safe products I have recommended in the past (here).

 


Killin’ it at the Gym

The past few years have brought no shortage of incredible boutique gyms to the masses. Pilates, bar, boxing, interval classes, yoga, hot yoga, megaformer, zumba, spinning, crossfit… the list goes on and on. Layer these upon the already plentiful mega-gyms, in-office gyms and recreational centers littered across our towns, and nobody really has an excuse not to get a workout in anymore.



But something is awry.

We go to the gym, we workout, we eat well –  but then we are unknowingly bombarded with chemicals through the equipment we use and the air we breath. Even those of us who do know can’t do much about it unless we chose to forgo our favorite workouts.

From the yoga mats, to the chlorine filled pools, to the barrage of cleaning supplies and toiletries covering the vanities…we can hardly finish a class before we are hit with chemicals that are worse for our heart than the big macs we so adamantly stay away from. These chemicals are linked to things such as asthma, cancer, heart irregularities, allergies and more. Some gyms even pipe in their own “air fresheners” via a system like this exposing us to indoor air quality that rivals that of the the worst cities in the world.

We can’t really blame the gyms because just like our doctors who have no formal nutritional training yet who everyone turns to for food advice… most gym owners have no idea that air quality has as much to do with health as a good workout.

Rewind to a recent conversation I had with a friend to talk about the new gym he is opening in town. After reviewing the materials and learning about the concept, I told him he had me at “steam cleaning.” He laughed. I was serious.

The good news is while it is counterintuitive to change what so many of us have
been doing our whole lives, it really is pretty easy to be green. There are already examples of gyms like this and this and this (locally!!) doing amazing things to promote a cleaner, healthier environment.

Here are some simple ways our gyms can do BETTER with minimal effort and cost:

First off, the products in the bathroom are a waste of money and none of us need to use them. Let’s bring those $24 a pop class prices down a notch and agree that cleanliness, safe soap, water and toilet paper are the only things we expect out of our gym bathrooms. Bring your own toiletries if you’re showering at the gym.

The times when I have cleaned up after my workout I felt like I was back in younger days hotboxing (not me personally, but you know – friends of friends) …yet this wasn’t quite as fun. From the spray deodorants, to the hair sprays, perfumes and such, the smells overwhelm. And, unlike being poolside when someone sprays their aerosol sunscreen and you can move out of harms way – you’re pretty much trapped when you’re inside a gym bathroom.


If the cleaning supplies you see have words like “warning”and “hazardous” on them, that’s your cue that it’s time to swap them out for less toxic options which are effective, economical and won’t cause human health problems. Need suggestions? Hit me up. If your management won’t budge, in the very least, ask that they reserve deep cleaning for after hours as most schools and offices do.

Those wipes we use to “clean” our equipment after use aren’t doing anything for us either. The kill claims on them are only valid when they are used for a certain amount of time and I can assure you a quick sweep does nothing to help. There is a reason that the fine print on wipe packaging frequently recommends that you wash hands immediately after use.

Hand sanitizer is so 2015. Some of the ingredients commonly used are not even legal anymore. You just worked out for an hour… you can walk the extra 10 steps to the bathroom and wash with soap and water. Plus, if you just used a wipe you are supposed to go to the sink and wash anyhow.


If you’re using a yoga mat opt for a sustainable one made of natural rubber, organic cotton or hemp. Skip the PVC. Try one like this or this. Nowadays they are easy to find even at stores like Target.

If you’re swimming in saltwater, consider yourself lucky. If you swim in a chlorine-filled pool be sure the levels are checked often and shower after your swim.

Finally, next time you buy workout clothes, check out how they are made. That’s a conversation for a different day and another post…

Share this info. with your favorite workout spot. It’s likely they have no idea and may even welcome a cleaner environment themselves, after all –they are the ones who spend the most time inside their space.

xx,

Angela

 

What in the World?

Have you ever googled “plastic island?”

It’s crazy.

Every bit of plastic ever made, still exists somewhere. 

Every. Bit.

Plastic pieces in our ocean outnumber sea life 6:1. 

Seriously.

93% of Americans have BPA in our body. BPA alters hormones and disrupts our endocrine systems. 

What the what?

The average American tosses away more than 4.5 lbs of garbage every day. 

No shit.

More than one million plastic bags are used every minute.

One million. Every minute.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

Insanity.

When plastics break down it forms teeny tiny little pieces that fish eat. Then people eat fish. So people eat plastic. 

Do you want to be eating plastic?

So, what can we do? 

Choose reusable bags and bottles.

They are cuter anyway.

Refuse single-use, disposable plastics.

Just say no (thank you).

Ditch the microbeads in your toothpaste and exfoliator.

There are safer alternatives.

Reduce the use of everyday plastics like sandwich bags. 

Choose other alternatives like stainless steel and silicone.

Say no to straws.

Just drink from the cup!

BYO Cutlery or to-go containers.

Who really likes eating with a plastic fork?

Teach your children well.

Remember we are just borrowing the earth from them.

Go plant a tree or at least hug one.

Then just breath…

Happy Earth Day to the Mother of all Mothers.

For more tips on ditching the plastic, click here.