Eco-friendly living is taking a new turn

Eco-friendly living is taking a new turn. We have the ecofriendly clothing, eco office supplies and organic food but there are some products out there that you wouldn’t think could be green. It’s great to see so many people stretching the idea of green living to other areas of life. Here is a list of the top 5 things you wouldn’t think could be eco-friendly.

1) Eco-friendly textile coffins: Who knew that eco-friendly living could be utilized even when you’re not living. There is a new trend emerging and it is green coffins. Many of the eco coffins out there are made from recycled newspaper and recycled silk and mulberry leaves. Some are even made of extra thick corrugated board or cardboard. These cardboard and recycled paper coffins are good for the environment and are just as functional as traditional coffins. Eco-friendly coffins are a great way to make your last green impression.

2) Eco-friendly fireworks: With the fourth of July behind us those that are big firework fans are preparing for next years celebration or really any occasion to set off some fireworks. Traditional fireworks are fun and exciting but can harm the environment. Scientist are trying to come up with more earth friendly fireworks that wouldn’t produce as much smoke and toxins as traditional fireworks do. There’s no telling when these fireworks will be on the market but you can expect that they will be more expensive than traditional fireworks. Look out for these environmentally friendly fireworks!

3) Eco-friendly pizza box: Looking to enjoy a delicious pizza anytime soon? There is a new pizza box out there that is made from completely recycled and recyclable corrugated cardboard. The manufacturer of the eco pizza box not only produced the box from recyclable good but also made it more eco-friendly by allowing the consumer to make plates from the box. The top of the eco-box can be made into four individual serving plates so there is no extra need for paper or plastic plates. The bottom portion of the pizza box can then be folded over to store leftover pizza in any refrigerator.

4) Eco NBC studio: That’s right there is an eco-friendly NBC studio. With Jimmy Fallon taking the stage as NBC’s “Late Night” host, he has requested everything in the studio be green. He wants everything to be earth friendly so they will be using recycled metal and all green lighting. This will be the first eco television studio that will be completely green. This will sure bring him more support from earth conscious viewers.

5) Green bathrooms: The Habana Outpost is Brooklyn, New York is the first ecofriendly eatery in its area. Not only is their food delicious and affordable they also have an eco-friendly bathroom that is worth mentioning. Their eco-friendly bathroom is a greenhouse style bathroom that has a sink and toilets rainwater recycling system. This bathroom saves an average of 40,000 gallons of water a week! This environmentally friendly bathroom doubles as a functioning green house, so next time your in Brooklyn, NY be sure to stop by this bathroom.

Guffly is a one product per day online store and community featuring eco friendly products and fair trade lifestyle goods like home, pet, clothing, office and personal accessories. We know that people aren’t interested in ugly stuff, so you can bet Guffly’s green products are stylish, fun and attractive – eco stylish if you will. Learn more at [http://www.guffly.com]

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Since the late 1980s and the early 1990s the phrase “going green” has emerged as a term to reckon with

Since the late 1980s and the early 1990s the phrase “going green” has emerged as a term to reckon with. Advances in industrial technology has led to a dump yard of toxic components which is polluting the environment and disturbing our eco-system. More recently, countries all over the world have woken up to the challenge of going green. Retailers have been the first to respond by their introduction. The “Go Green” philosophy has forced us to re-think even our methods of packaging and discover more eco-friendly ways to package our products. Companies that have adopted such systems are making a loud and clear statement to the world. These companies are saying they care for the future of our world and will do their little bit to conserve the world’s resources.

Definition

Eco-friendly packaging is packaging that uses environment-friendly materials in its production. Most of the materials used are either recycled paper, or packaging that is biodegradable.

Biodegradability means that substances can be broken down into more basic structures by other living organisms acting upon them. Through these chemical reactions, the substance in its original form no longer exists having been broken down into smaller substances which naturally combine with the eco-system. Eco-friendly packaging is one of hottest ethical global trends. Big-time companies in Europe, Japan, China and the United States now prefer packaging made from recycled materials which are biodegradable. Now that bio-degradable packaging has become cost-efficient with new technology and greater demand, most of these companies are actually counting on boosting their sales because of their switch to biodegradable packaging. Various studies show that consumers would be willing to pay a little extra for packaging that is eco-friendly. Eco-friendly packaging also adds brand value to a product. It shows that a company is willing to forfeit a part of its profit in order to preserve the earth’s resources. This is especially true if the product itself is eco-friendly. For example, mineral water sold in biodegradable containers creates an impressive brand image. Cosmetics and natural health products would also enhance their brand image by adopting eco-friendly packaging. Some of the more popular eco-friendly packaging methods and materials are:

Biodegradable Plastics Plastic packaging, derived from petrochemicals, has significantly contributed to our environmental crisis. As an alternative, bio-plastics are made from plants sources like potatoes, wheat or corn. Bio-plastics are recyclable, unlike petrochemical plastics.

Recycling of Paper Paper that has been recycled is also an option for eco-friendly packaging, including 100% recycled boards.

Metal Metal makes for stronger, durable recyclable packaging material. Some of the more advanced alloys are light in weight and more versatile for packaging purposes.

Minimizing Wastage Overpackaging has becoming an overnight no-no in the packaging business. The bottom line is conservation of resources and too much packaging or packaging a product more than is necessary, is considered downright wasting of the earth’s resources.

Using Re-Usable Recyclable Packaging Not only is eco-friendly packaging made up of materials that are bio-degradable, but the package itself should be recyclable for further use. This is called Post Consumer Recycled (PCR). More companies that use eco-friendly packaging prefer recyclable fibers.

Energy-Saving Bio-Friendly Packaging Manufacturers Packaging that has been manufactured with renewable, pollution free energy is also given more preference by consumers. For example: eco-friendly packaging manufacturers that work on wind generated power.

More Companies are Going for Eco-Friendly Packaging Chalone Vineyard based in Soledad, California was one of the pioneer companies to adopt eco-friendly packaging in 2002, receiving international awards for its achievements. Wild Oats began the trend of eco-friendly packaging by being the first grocery store to use bio-degradable packing made from corn, instead of petroleum. The famous chain store, Wal-Mart, is also using bio-degradable packaging made from corn. Nordstorm and Macy’s began producing 100% recyclable shopping bags from April 208. In Europe, eco-friendly packaging was introduced in the cosmetics industry from March 2006. Since then 600 products are using eco-friendly packaging, as reported by Mintel’s Global New Products Database. More companies are using paper-pulp molds made from recycled cardboard, newspapers and cartons. This is used as shock-proof packaging for packaging cameras, appliances, glassware, etc.

Rapid Expansion of Bio-Degradable Packaging This new trend in bio-degradable packaging is seen in the rapid growth of bio-degradable packaging manufacturers, who are struggling to keep up with the market demands. Cereplast, which is a bio-based cosmetics packager, reported a 134% increase in their sales for the first quarter of 2008. Whether companies report actual profits after adopting eco-friendly packaging is not the crucial question here. The importance is in joining forces with a worthy, worldwide cause for the future of our generation, and of generations to come. It is about companies that choose to be kind to the environment and it’s about consumers who care enough for the environment to prefer products that are eco-friendly in every way. This is the future trend, and those who miss out on this opportunity may get left behind.

Nutricap Labs is a full service vitamin supplement manufacturing service. We primarily manufacture nutritional tablets, capsules, powders, liquids and creams, but we also offer label and packaging design services and order fulfillment services to our customers.

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Being eco-friendly isn’t just for the modern day hippie anymore

Being eco-friendly isn’t just for the modern day hippie anymore. There are many celebrities that have recognized the importance of being eco-friendly and are now spreading the word to the rest of the world. Here is a list of eco-friendly celebrities and why we love them.

1) Leonardo DiCaprio: If eco-friendly had a name and a face it would go by the name Leonardo DiCaprio. The 34 year old actor exudes what it means to be eco-friendly. He drives a hybrid car and has recently purchased and eco-friendly condo in New York City. What makes this home eco-friendly? The condo has a 24-hour fresh filtered air system, a water treatment facility and rotating solar panels. DiCaprio recognizes the environmental challenge we face because of global warming and has since committed to the environment. He also started the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 which supports environmental causes.

2) Adrian Grenier: This American actor, director, writer, and musician, best known for his role on Entourage, is the host of an eco-friendly series. On Planet Green Adrian Grenier will be hosting AlterEco, a show devoted to the eco-friendly lifestyle. He is backed by a team of green activist, experts and some close friends. The show will document him and his team renovating a 1920′s Spanish home in Los Feliz. The renovated home will be both green and sustainable. Be sure to check this show out to gather some eco-friendly renovating tips!

3) Natalie Portman: If you aren’t a Natalie Portman fan now, you will be soon! This 28 year old Israeli American actress has started her own eco-friendly fashion line. Portman has created a line of vegan shoes. These stylish and sexy shoes are made from alternative materials like faux leathers. Portman and her team of designers didn’t harm any animals in their construction. This eco-friendly vegan is not only environmentally conscious but also socially. She has been praised for her efforts in saving gorillas in Rwanda. Portman has raised the bar when it comes to being an eco-friendly and socially conscious celebrity.

4) Julia Roberts: This “Pretty Women” star has turned into an eco-friendly all-star. She and her husband drive an eco-friendly car, a Prius. She is also looking to build an entirely eco-friendly home in Malibu. Her inspiration to be more eco-friendly came from her children. That has inspired her to purchase more eco-friendly diapers for her young ones. She uses chlorine-free, non-toxic diapers for two of her children and a plastic-free, flushable diaper for another. The flushable diaper is a unique hybrid between cloth and disposables.

5) Cameron Diaz: If you haven’t read her book by now, you certainly should. She has recently published an eco-friendly how-to book called “Green Book.” The book, as I’m sure you have guessed by now, offers ways to make your everyday life greener. From beauty products to household supplies, the Green Book offers 700 ways to make your life as eco-friendly as possible. Not only does she offer her own suggestions but she also features tips from Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell, Martha Stewart and even Justin Timberlake. Check out this book and pick up some great tips!

Guffly is a one product per day online store and community with a focus on eco friendly products and fair trade lifestyle goods like home, pet, clothing, office and personal accessories. We know that people aren’t interested in ugly stuff, so you can bet Guffly’s green products are stylish, fun and attractive – eco stylish if you will. Learn more at http://blog.guffly.com

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Eco-friendly fashion is reaching an all time high

Eco-friendly fashion is reaching an all time high and fashion-forward people couldn’t be more excited. It is great to see that people are interested in being eco-friendly and trendy. One thing that is missing, however, is eco-friendly plus size fashion. I heard finding eco-friendly plus size clothing is difficult but finding eco-friendly plus size fashion that is actually attractive is even harder. Many of the items out there are generally geared toward women smaller than a size 12/14 but where’s the love for the plus size (or as I like to say, “Full size”) women out there? It is important that plus size fashion also takes a turn toward eco-friendly wear.

Truth be told, there is plus size clothing out there that is eco-friendly but what fashionista do you know would be caught in a burlap sack? It’s seriously time to start paying attention to full figured women and their needs for eco-friendly and trendy fashion. When researching eco-friendly plus size fashion one either finds clothing that is actually cute but only goes up to a size 14 or it goes past a size 14 but isn’t as attractive as smaller sized clothing. We are really hoping that this isn’t the case and we would love to see more eco-friendly clothing for plus size girls and even guys. If you have any plus size earth friendly let us know! Here is what we found:

Etsy: Etsy is a good site for plus size women to find eco-friendly clothing. Since their clothing comes from independent retailers there is the opportunity for custom fitting your clothing if need be. Many of the designers work past the traditional “hippie style” eco-friendly clothing and instead make cute outfits from organic cotton and other earth friendly materials. It would be great to see more eco-friendly plus size clothing out there like what can be found on Etsy.

Rawganique: This site also has eco-friendly clothing for plus size people. Most of their stuff is pretty casual but it still more attractive than what is currently out there. Their clothing comes in true plus sizes which is great! It would be great to see some clothing that was more on the young professional side or everyday clothing.

Both of these sites have attractive eco-friendly clothing in plus sizes but we think there needs to be more. There is a lot of stylish eco-friendly fashion out there but mainly for those below a size 12/14. If you are aware of any plus size eco-friendly fashion out there be sure to let us know or if you feel the same please let us know as well. It is important that there is eco-friendly options for plus size women but it is even more important that these options satisfy the fashionista in everyone.

Guffly is a one product per day online store and community with a focus on eco friendly products and fair trade lifestyle goods like home, pet, clothing, office and personal accessories. We know that people aren’t interested in ugly stuff, so you can bet Guffly’s green products are stylish, fun and attractive – eco stylish if you will. Learn more at http://blog.guffly.com

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Environmentally Friendly Pool Heaters

Environmentally Friendly Pool Heaters

With the need for chemicals for pool maintenance, many swimming pool owners wish to be
environmentally friendly whenever possible. Pool chemicals are necessary for the health of your
family and other pool users; an un-sanitized and unbalanced swimming pool is a petri dish for all
types of contaminants, such as bacteria and algae. Nevertheless, you can make a swimming pool as
environmentally friendly as possible by using eco-friendly pool products whenever possible. One way
to do this is with the heating system you choose for the pool. Here are descriptions of swimming
pool heater types to consider investing in for the comfort of your loved ones – and the health of our
environment.

A solar powered pool heating system is the most eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and effective way to
warm a swimming pool. Solar pool heaters gather the sun’s rays and convert them to heat, keeping
the swimming pool warm and inviting. Besides helping the planet by conserving energy, solar powered
swimming pool heating systems save money through the use of sunshine as a no-cost energy source.
Solar swimming pool heating systems are simple to install. The drawback with solar-powered swimming
pool heaters is obviously that when the sun is not available, the pool does not stay warm. If you reside
in a place where the sun will not supply a sufficient amount of heat in your swimming pool, you might
need to choose a different type of pool heater or combine solar pool heating with another pool heating
source.

A heat pump for your pool is still eco-friendly because it utilizes less energy as opposed to a natural gas
heater. Simple to set up and maintain, heat pumps pull warmth from the surrounding air and utilize it
to heat pool water, preventing wasted energy. A protected heat exchanger means that water passing
through the unit will be heated and returned to the pool, making it even more efficient. Other features
to look for in a heat pump include:

• Digital LED control panels for temperature display along with diagnostic codes for speedy identification
with regards to components that might need service

• Technology which helps the equipment get the job done quietly and reduces compressor sound levels

• A corrosion-resistant coated evaporator coil for enhanced dependability

• A small footprint along with tie-downs to resist bad weather conditions

Natural gas pool heaters allow you and your family to have a warmer swimming pool minus the
unquestionably un-eco-friendly – and expensive – fuel costs associated with inefficient, out-of-date
heating system engineering. Look for hydraulic performance, which conserves energy levels by reducing
the circulation time of the pump, and low NOx emission, since it is more environmentally friendly.
Natural gas swimming pool heaters raise the temperature of swimming pool water very quickly, allowing
use of the pool on short notice. Look for the following in an eco-friendly natural gas heater:

• Overall streamlined performance plus efficiency-enhancing qualities like stainless steel burners,
corrosion-resistant heat exchangers, and insulated combustion chambers

• An LED control panel that allows you to keep an eye on pool heating easily and make adjustments with
the touch of a button

• A forced-draft system which drives air through the combustion chamber constantly at a precise flow
rate

• Heat exchangers built to create virtually no condensation

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Eating Out vs the Packed Lunch

Eating Out vs the Packed Lunch

There are a lot of excuses not to pack your lunch, not enough time, nothing to pack, or even worse there are the days where you take the time to get your lunch packed…you even remember not to leave it on the kitchen counter at home and then a coworker comes by and says, “just eat your packed lunch tomorrow and let’s go pick something up.”

In picking something up, you’ve picked up more than a high calorie, high fat meal. You’ve picked up a lunch that is wrapped in wasteful paper. The top photo illustrates a fast food combo meal, which has a foil wrapper for the sandwich, a carton for the fries, paper wrapper for the straw in the paper cup, a napkin or two, ketchup packs and a bag to throw everything away. The bottom photo of a packed lunch utilizes reusable containers and bags, which were packed in a lunch tote.

If you’re not a regular lunch packer, choosing to eat out over packing a lunch is probably the easier, more convenient option. Packing a lunch takes time to plan the meal, shop and make it, but the payoff is wonderful, you open your lunch tote to a lunch of foods you enjoy! Plus, by packing a lunch you can choose to pack them in reusable containers. Just because you pack doesn’t mean you have to opt for brown bags and plastic sandwich bags. From plastic containers a few more times before tossing them in the recycling bin to choosing glass containers with strong seal lids to reusuable sandwich bags to cloth napkins you can finish your lunch with no throw-away.

After adding up the bills, the calories and looking at waste FM, Lin and I believe <a href=”http://www.lunchitpunchit.com“>Lunch It Punch It<a/> is a great way to pack a lunch to punch a goal!  We launched our site knowing that if we needed support achieving our goal, others might be looking for the same support.  We encourage readers to recruit friends, print our loyalty cards and participate in conversations about the what and hows of packing great lunches.

You can follow Lunch It Punch It on <a href=”https://twitter.com/LunchItPunchIt”> Twitter</a> and <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/LunchItPunchIt”>Facebook,</a> too.  So join in the conversations

In addition to being one-third of the lunch-packing librarians at Lunch It Punch It, Andi blogs about crafts at <a href=”http://www.udandi.com”>udandi & the craft of money</a> and has never met a BLT she didn’t like.

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Shop to Be Green

I always say better late than later.

As promised, see my energy saving tips to help you save on electric costs.

Any major holiday results in massive electric consumption so cut back, relax and save!

Energy SavingTips for Memorial Weekend:

  1. Inviting the entire neighborhood over for your barbecue bonanza? Well keep things cool and conserve by asking your guests to stay outside.
  2. Keep the doors closed to your house so that you are not wasting energy.
  3. Ceiling fans help circulate air and keep the room cooler and try to raise your thermostat as high as possible without sacrificing comfort, best temperature is 72 degrees. Remember it’s cooler at night so you can increase your thermostat during that time as well.
  4. Save energy with outdoor lights sensors or timers so that fixtures stay off during the day and light up at night.
  5. Cleaning up after a big gathering can be a pain, and using stryofoam plates and paper cups is harmful to the green planet (no more paper cups campaign). If you are using the dishwasher ask for help during the clean up and don’t wait till everyone is gone to clear the plates.
  6. No need to prewash the dishes and you it is not necessary to use the heater because the dishes will dry overnight.
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Shop To Be Green

Life is Better with Less Clutter and More You!

I am sure many of you were aware that last week was National Barefoot Week and June 1st was the official kick off day. Many celebrities and regular folk participated in the Soles4Soles campaign andwalked around with no shoes to show support the campaign.

Green Recycle Fact: Since starting up in 2005, Soles4Souls has given out over 14 million shoes in 127 countries!

Well, you can do more than walk barefoot for a day by donating your shoes (shoes that are in your closet that you never wear) to someone who really needs it.

Your donated shoes could be a lifesaver to the woman that cannot afford shoes for a job interview or the child that needs shoes for school. Shoptobegreen is an advocate of recycling whenever and however you can! You can make a huge difference on your own by donating shoes to your local community center or church.

According to EcoRazzi, Style mavens like Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, Jessica Simpson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chelsea Handler, and Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian have all given up a pair of shoes to be auctioned off on Charitybuzz.

The auction for Soles4Souls Barefoot week is active until June 22nd.

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Skin Care With a Conscience

In honor of National Cancer Control Month – we chatted with our dear friend, Kimberly Luker, Founder of Botanicals for Hope Skin Care.  Kimberly was living her dream life as a successful telecommunications manager with an ocean view on the central coast of California.  But, that was all about to change when she received a Stage IIB breast cancer diagnosis in 2008.  After six rounds of chemotherapy, not only had Kimberly lost her hair but she noticed that her scalp was inflamed with sore, itchy bumps and her skin, lips and nails were extremely dry, cracked and irritated.  She was miserable.

Kimberly, a friend since elementary school, is known as an eternal optimist with a well-honed knack for research.  Not one to be easily dismayed, she single-handedly began studying cosmetic formulation guides and consulting with cosmetic formulators.  She was a woman on a mission and would soon begin blending and mixing her own cocktail of soothing lotions and balms in her kitchen in Shell Beach in an attempt to soothe her discomfort. 

As her own first, true test case, she realized almost immediate results from switching to all natural and organic body care products with gentle ingredients.  And, thus, Kimberly officially launched Botanicals for Hope in September 2009 and now carries a fragrance-free line with seven different products to soothe the sensitive skin of cancer patients and others with skin and fragrance sensitivities.  Now, Kimberly is realizing another dream – giving back to help other cancer patients.  A portion of all sales of Botanicals for Hope’s products are donated to cancer support and wellness programs throughout the central coast community.  It’s Kimberly’s way of saying “thanks” to the many kind people who supported her as she regained her health. 

Q:  What does “all natural” and “organic” really mean when it comes to skin-care products?

Kimberly:  There is some controversy surrounding skin care products labeled “all natural” and “organic”. While “organic” has become a fairly regulated term and products can be certified, “all natural” products cannot. The FDA regulates the safety of cosmetics but there are no strict regulations regarding these terms and because they have considerable market value many companies use these buzzwords fairly arbitrarily. Making it even more confusing for consumers the use of these words are often used together or interchangeably when they are actually very different.  

The dictionary describes the word “natural” as produced or existing in nature; not artificial.” By that definition, anything derived from plants, animals or the elements found on Earth could earn the “all natural” label. The key is in understanding that it is the process, not the source that makes a product “natural”. When ingredients are chemically or structurally altered into a form that no long appears anywhere in nature, it’s no longer natural. The FDA regulates the term “natural” in food only as it applies to added color, synthetic substances, and flavors. The classic definition of “natural” skin care is based on using botanically sourced ingredients currently existing in or formed by nature, without the use of synthetic ingredients, and manufactured in such a way to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. Unfortunately, companies can market a product as containing natural ingredients while loading it with synthetic filler, dyes and fragrances.

When it comes to food the definition of organic is extremely clear, thanks to the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP defines organic as a product being produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics, fertilizers or other synthetic or toxic substances applied to the land for at least the previous three years. Additionally, no artificial flavors or coloring can be added. It is important to note the USDA Certified Organic standard was designed and created for the food industry so when it comes to body care products these definitions are not so clear.  While there are many food ingredients that can cross-over into skin care products, there are not as many skin care ingredients that are also used in food. Therefore, and this is really important, a skin care ingredient that is not used in food will not be among the approved ingredients for organic definition.

The NOP has defined four levels of organic:

         100% Organic – must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients and processing aids.

         Organic – must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on NOP’s National List.

         Made with Organic Ingredients – processed products that contain at least 70% certified organic ingredients.

         Less than 70% Organic Ingredients – These products cannot use the term organic anywhere on the principal display panel. However, they may identify the specific ingredients that are organically produced on the ingredient deck.

Many skin care products fall into the “Made with Organic Ingredients” category. These products may not display the USDA Organic Seal but can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients”, the percentage of organic ingredients used, the certifying agent, and list up to three of the organic ingredients on the principal display panel of the product packaging.

Bottom line – it is up to the consumer to be educated on the definition of these terms and familiarize themselves with the ingredients in products labeled “natural” or “organic” to ensure they are really getting what they are paying for.

Q:  Do you think that organic body care products are really better for the environment?  Why?

Kimberly:  Absolutely. Organic skin care ingredients, like organic produce, is grown without the use of synthetic or toxic substances so not only are they good for your skin but also the environment in which they are grown is healthier as well.

Q:  What makes your products different? 

Kimberly:  Most skin care products consist of an ingredient deck primarily made of water, sometimes up to 90%. While water is decidedly good for you it is not one of the most beneficial ingredients for skin care products. In fact, it is impossible for water based products to be fully effective in cosmetics because skin is basically waterproof. After much research I chose aloe vera as the main ingredient in my skin care line with the exception of my balms. Unlike water, aloe vera absorbs into your skin synergistically, delivering powerful nutrients and a complex combination of therapeutic antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and moisturizing polysaccharides proven to hydrate, soothe, protect, and heal your skin.

Q: Using aloe vera in your products instead of water must be expensive. How do you keep your products so reasonably priced?

Kimberly:  When Botanicals for Hope was born my clientele primarily consisted of cancer patients. My oncology nurses told me about a skin care line specifically designed for cancer patients but mentioned it was expensive. They said they rarely recommended it because many patients complained they didn’t want to have to make a choice between doctor copays and buying a lotion. That really stuck with me so I was determined to work hard to keep costs down while still providing exceptional and effective skin care products. While I use only containers that can be recycled, which tend to cost more, I do not invest in flashy packaging, labels, ad or marketing campaigns. I believe in the quality of my products and let them speak for themselves, and honestly, mostly rely on word of mouth. This really helps to keep the cost down.     

Q:  What new products are you whipping up these days?

Kimberly: Last June just before Relay for Life San Luis Obispo I launched a mineral based, physical barrier sunscreen consisting of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide that has been very well received. This year I’m working on a facial moisturizer to complement my Soapless Facial Cleanser and Hydrating Serum. Additionally, I’m exploring the possibility of creating a cooling gel for people who are going through radiation treatments.   

We love a happy ending, and we are pleased to announce that Kimberly is healthy and happy and once again thoroughly enjoying those amazing ocean views with her fiancé, Scot.  

Check out Kimberly’s skin care products at http://www.botanicalsforhope.com and be sure to follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/@botanicals4hope!

Kimberly A. Luker

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Skin Care With a Conscience

Kimberly Luker, Founder of Botanicals for Hope, was living her dream life as a successful telecommunications manager with an ocean view on the central coast of California.  That was all about to change when she received a Stage IIB breast cancer diagnosis in 2008.  After six rounds of chemotherapy, not only had Kimberly lost her hair but she noticed that her scalp was inflamed with sore, itchy bumps and her skin, lips and nails were extremely dry, cracked and irritated.  She was miserable.Kimberly Luker hope cancer survivor

Kimberly, a friend elementary school, is known as an eternal optimist with a well-honed knack for research.  Not one to be easily dismayed, she single-handedly began studying cosmetic formulation guides and consulting with cosmetic formulators.  She was a woman on a mission and would soon begin blending and mixing her own cocktail of soothing lotions and balms in her kitchen in Shell Beach in an attempt to soothe her discomfort.

As her own first, true test case, she realized almost immediate results from switching to all natural and organic body care products with gentle ingredients.  Kimberly officially launched Botanicals for Hope in September 2009 and now carries a fragrance-free line with seven different products to soothe the sensitive skin of cancer patients and others with skin and fragrance sensitivities.  Now, Kimberly is realizing another dream – giving back to help other cancer patients.  A portion of all sales of Botanicals for Hope’s products are donated to cancer support and wellness programs throughout the central coast community.  It’s Kimberly’s way of saying “thanks” to the many kind people who supported her as she regained her health.

We spoke with Kimberly at the beginning of April in honor of National Cancer Control Month.

Q:  What does “all natural” and “organic” really mean when it comes to skin-care products?

Kimberly:  There is some controversy surrounding skin care products labeled “all natural” and “organic”. While “organic” has become a fairly regulated term and products can be certified, “all natural” products cannot. The FDA regulates the safety of cosmetics but there are no strict regulations regarding these terms and because they have considerable market value many companies use these buzzwords fairly arbitrarily. Making it even more confusing for consumers the use of these words are often used together or interchangeably when they are actually very different.

The dictionary describes the word “natural” as produced or existing in nature; not artificial.” By that definition, anything derived from plants, animals or the elements found on Earth could earn the “all natural” label. The key is in understanding that it is the process, not the source that makes a product “natural”. When ingredients are chemically or structurally altered into a form that no long appears anywhere in nature, it’s no longer natural. The FDA regulates the term “natural” in food only as it applies to added color, synthetic substances, and flavors. The classic definition of “natural” skin care is based on using botanically sourced ingredients currently existing in or formed by nature, without the use of synthetic ingredients, and manufactured in such a way to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. Unfortunately, companies can market a product as containing natural ingredients while loading it with synthetic filler, dyes and fragrances.

When it comes to food the definition of organic is extremely clear, thanks to the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP defines organic as a product being produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics, fertilizers or other synthetic or toxic substances applied to the land for at least the previous three years. Additionally, no artificial flavors or coloring can be added. It is important to note the USDA Certified Organic standard was designed and created for the food industry so when it comes to body care products these definitions are not so clear.  While there are many food ingredients that can cross-over into skin care products, there are not as many skin care ingredients that are also used in food. Therefore, and this is really important, a skin care ingredient that is not used in food will not be among the approved ingredients for organic definition.

The NOP has defined four levels of organic:

  • 100% Organic – must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients and processing aids.
  • Organic – must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on NOP’s National List.
  • Made with Organic Ingredients – processed products that contain at least 70% certified organic ingredients.
  • Less than 70% Organic Ingredients – These products cannot use the term organic anywhere on the principal display panel. However, they may identify the specific ingredients that are organically produced on the ingredient deck.

Many skin care products fall into the “Made with Organic Ingredients” category. These products may not display the USDA Organic Seal but can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients”, the percentage of organic ingredients used, the certifying agent, and list up to three of the organic ingredients on the principal display panel of the product packaging.

Bottom line – it is up to the consumer to be educated on the definition of these terms and familiarize themselves with the ingredients in products labeled “natural” or “organic” to ensure they are really getting what they are paying for.

Q:  Are organic body care products are really better for the environment?

Kimberly:  Absolutely. Organic skin care ingredients, like organic produce, is grown without the use of synthetic or toxic substances so not only are they good for your skin but also the environment in which they are grown is healthier as well.

Q:  What makes your products different?

Kimberly:  Most skin care products consist of an ingredient deck primarily made of water, sometimes up to 90%. While water is decidedly good for you it is not one of the most beneficial ingredients for skin care products. In fact, it is impossible for water based products to be fully effective in cosmetics because skin is basically waterproof. After much research I chose aloe vera as the main ingredient in my skin care line with the exception of my balms. Unlike water, aloe vera absorbs into your skin synergistically, delivering powerful nutrients and a complex combination of therapeutic antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and moisturizing polysaccharides proven to hydrate, soothe, protect, and heal your skin.

Q: Using aloe vera in your products instead of water must be expensive. How do you keep your products so reasonably priced?

Kimberly:  When Botanicals for Hope was born my clientele primarily consisted of cancer patients. My oncology nurses told me about a skin care line specifically designed for cancer patients but mentioned it was expensive. They said they rarely recommended it because many patients complained they didn’t want to have to make a choice between doctor copays and buying a lotion. That really stuck with me so I was determined to work hard to keep costs down while still providing exceptional and effective skin care products. While I use only containers that can be recycled, which tend to cost more, I do not invest in flashy packaging, labels, ad or marketing campaigns. I believe in the quality of my products and let them speak for themselves, and honestly, mostly rely on word of mouth. This really helps to keep the cost down.

Q:  What new products are you whipping up these days?

Kimberly: Last June just before Relay for Life San Luis Obispo I launched a mineral based, physical barrier sunscreen consisting of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide that has been very well received. This year I’m working on a facial moisturizer to complement my Soapless Facial Cleanser and Hydrating Serum. Additionally, I’m exploring the possibility of creating a cooling gel for people who are going through radiation treatments.

We love a happy ending, and we are pleased to announce that Kimberly is healthy and happy and once again thoroughly enjoying those amazing ocean views with her fiancé, Scot.

Check out the entire line of Botanicals for Hope skin care products at http://www.botanicalsforhope.com and be sure to follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/botanicals4hope.

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