Your Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Page…Free

Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid Downloadable

Hey, it’s hump day. How about some free stuff for your site, blog, or online shop?

The most requested item I get when starting a copywriting project with a new client is a new or refreshed ingredients to avoid page. A comprehensive list of harmful cosmetic ingredients is not only a great source of info for your readers and customers, but totally spells out your commitment to safety.

Yes, I know. These lists can be tedious to come up with. That’s why I am giving you mine. Yep, grab it today and copy/paste that sucker into your site, blog, or online store. Easy and oh so worth it.

Get your free Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid downloadable

Want a customized page? I can get you one of those too. Contact me for deets on creating just-for-you copy.

Now that that sticky little item is checked off your list, go have yourself a great day!

Shop Talk :: Product Descriptions That Make Shoppers Want to BUY

Product Descriptions That Make Shoppers Want to BUY

Shop Talk is a series on helping organic beauty professionals get their products into the hands of people who will love them and share their message with the world.

I look at organic beauty websites. Like, a lot.

Not only because I am way into organic beauty, which I am, but because I write about organic beauty five days a week. Ok, sometimes six.

There are certain sites I go to constantly. Others I check in with once in a while. And then those that I want to like, but…don’t.

Why? It’s not the products they sell or the way the site looks (pretty beauty sites are a must!). It’s the words. Or lack of.

When you are looking at beauty products online, the experience is dramatically different than when you are shopping in real life. Duh, right? Hear me out here.

Beauty products are used on your face, your body, your hair…You want to know what it feels like, what it smells like, how it makes your skin (hair, nails…) look. Who doesn’t open up a sealed bottle in store if there is no tester? I’ll totally cop to that on the reg.

So, the only way you can know what the product is like, how it feels, looks, and smells IRL, is through the words that are on the website. No words? Disappointment to the max.

And sometimes the words themselves are disappointing. A too generic or just plain blah product description is not, well, descriptive. C’mon, we want the deets, here.

So, what I am urging you shop owners and product creators to do is get some super ripe and juicy product descriptions on your site, pronto. Customers want to know if a product is floral or herbal, or citrusy, or even unscented. Is it lightweight or ultra rich? Does it feel velvety or quenching? Does it smell like a single crisp, chilled rose or like a walk through the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden on a freakin’ 90 degree day in June?? They want to know. And, most often, they want to know before they’ll buy.

When I write product descriptions for brands or shop owners, I request samples of select products. Not the entire product line-up but certain items to get the feel of the range, so I can tell visitors what the product is all about. Not just what it will do for their skin or hair, but what the experience is like.

So, do your customers and yourself a favor. Can the standard (read: boring) product descriptions and get to know the products you sell, then tell the world about them. And, I promise, I’ll visit your site.

Have trouble putting those mouth watering words together? Have the words but no time to get them down? Lucky for you, words are my thang and I’d absolutely love to help you with some fresh, juicy, super shop-able product descriptions. Get in touch!

Image :: William Iven at

4 Beauty Tips You Absolutely Have to Know

4 Beauty Tips You Absolutely Have to Know

I’ve always loved beauty products. From playing in my Mom’s makeup, to putting together my own style, to writing about it today…I’m into it.

But when you write about eyeshadow colors for the season, and how to use highlighter, and stuff like that day in and day out, you can get in a rut. Like, nothing new.

And then you stumble on something that is so good you can’t quit thinking about. And your fire is lit again.

Here’s what’s been lighting my fire lately:

1 Baby skin :: Sounds like something you want, right? Wait ‘til you see a pic of it! I came across this article while writing a story on facial mists and cannot quit thinking about it. The deal is, you give your face a light misting between each layer. So, moisturizer, mist, foundation, mist, powder, mist…you get the idea. I want.

2 The New Brow :: While brows have taken a slightly more demure turn over last year’s big and bold, definition is still definitely in. This can be tricky. How many bad brows have you witnessed in the past 12 or so months?

I found a trick in InStyle mag that works like a charm. You simply brush brows up, feather a line on the under side of brows (I give it the slightest of blends with a q-tip), and brush brows into place. It gives brows definition without looking overly filled in or mad scientist-y. Give ‘er a try.

3 Exotic Oils :: Facial oils have sorta been my thing for a long while now. I love ‘em and no one is gonna change my mind. But I recently came into a sweet little stock of facial oils I had never tried. We are talking Berbere, Tamanu, Marula, and Baobab. Exotic, oui? They are all mighty lovely and create super soft skin, but my face seems to be crushing hard on the Berbere in particular. I’d say run, don’t walk, to one of these babies.

4 Hair Game Changer :: And last, but not least, I’d like to share a life changing hair moment I had recently. My daughter, in attempt to get the most from a new hair conditioner we were trying, read the directions on the bottle. It appears you are supposed to squeeze the water from your sopping wet locks before applying your conditioner.

Oh. Em. Gee. Do you all already know about this? How many other daily life things have I been doing wrong forever? If you too are one who slathers her soaking wet hair in conditioner and wonders why she isn’t getting super soft locks, try this trick. If you’ve been doing this your whole life, take pity on my feeble mindedness.

Image :: Aki Tolentino at Unsplash

Shop Talk: Why It’s Important for Online Beauty Stores to Be Pretty

Why It's Important for Online Beauty Stores to Be Pretty

Shop Talk is a series on helping organic beauty professionals get their products into the hands of people who will love them, and share their message with the world.

Know why it’s important for online beauty store to be pretty? Other than the obvi, which is that a pretty shop is more fun to look at than a less attractive site.

Shows effort, yes. But what else?

The experience!

Ah yeah, we gals and guys who are into beauty love the feel of walking into a pretty little beauty shop. It is not just about the products stocked (thought that is why customers keep coming back!) it’s about the energy, the vibe, the whole package.

I recently wrote a story for EcoSalon on shopping organic brick + mortars in NYC. And most of the comments I received were centered around the gorgeousness of the shops.

Remember, when people shop online there are certain elements they miss out on. They can’t touch, apply, or smell the products. That’s where great descriptions and messaging come in, more on that in a minute. They also don’t get to experience the overall fun factor of physically being in a super cute shop.

The great news? This is so totally fixable. There’s no shortage of web designers out there creating beautiful sites. There are even templates designed just for women biz owners.

Like what you see here? I use Bluchic template Isabelle on OBS and had my header designed by How Sweet Designs. Very affordable and the look conveys exactly what I was going for…fresh + clean with a bit of glitz. If OBS were a store IRL, it would be all white with touches of gold and blushy pink, packed with the best organic beauty and tons of vivid information to help shoppers make their decisions. For reals, it might be a library or book shop since I’m more into the writing aspect, but for the sake of the theme here…

Now back to that messaging we touched on earlier. Sharing your products and message with people who come to your site is key. And it has to be done right. No clue where to begin? Check out these 3 things to keep in mind when crafting product descriptions.

Now you see why a pretty online shop is pretty important. Let me know if I can help. xxoo

Chemical Free Cosmetics :: Not All Bad

Chemical Free Cosmetics :: Not All Bad

I’ve seen a few articles lately and fielded some questions on the  whole chemical free cosmetics labeling issue. Following is my opinion on the subject. Feel free to love or hate.

Some green beauty experts feel labeling a cosmetic as “chemical free” is misleading because all ingredients, natural or synthetic, are chemicals.

Oh gosh. This reminds me of the kid in class who always (always!) had to pipe up when someone called white or black a color, and expound at length on why these two are not technically colors. We all already knew that, had heard it plenty of times, but still called white and black colors. Why? Because who says My new black dress is the perfect absence of light to go with my new shoes or I’m having trouble choosing the best shade of light for my bathroom.

Answer? No one.

Here’s the deal. We have to call them something. While I prefer the term “toxic” over “chemical” as a means to relay the harmfulness of certain cosmetic ingredients, I also get that people relate to the term “chemical”, so I use it often when I write about harmful ingredients. And toxic can be just as questionable. What constitutes a toxic cosmetic ingredient? Are all cosmetic ingredients on the avoid list toxic? … you get the picture.

Same with the term “natural.” Does it carry any true weight in terms of a safe product? Not really, but it is a term we use in the green (there’s another one) beauty industry. Natural Perfumes for Summer or Natural Makeup for Summer are better headlines than Synthetic Free Makeup for Summer. That last one is not going to get many hits and this means less good synthetic free beauty advice in front of eyes looking for healthy information.

We organic beauty experts have been making lists for over a decade now titled “Chemical Ingredients to Avoid”. Yes, we could easily begin calling them “Toxic Ingredients to Avoid” or “Toxins to Avoid in Cosmetics” or even “Unhealthy Cosmetic Ingredients.” That’d be fine with me.

But the real problem here is under regulation of cosmetics and personal care. We are on our own here, as consumers, and doing our best to protect ourselves from unhealthy junk, and purchase what’s best for us and our families.

Shooing shoppers away from products labeled “chemical free” entirely? I get the good behind this strategy and the desire to educate, but it is too soon for this. There are good, safe, high quality brands creating products they choose to call chemical free because it speaks to consumers. Is it sometimes misleading labeling used by less than safe companies? Yes. Always? No!

The best way to protect yourself from ingredients you wish to avoid is to familiarize yourself with potentially harmful ingredients and read ingredient listings.

Awareness surrounding toxic ingredients in cosmetics is much huger than it was a decade ago. This is good stuff. But, at least for now, I feel that shunning all cosmetics labeled “chemical free” is not only misleading to shoppers in general, but sort of like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Yes, right now words like chemical, green, natural, and even organic are tossed around without a whole lot of street cred. This not only makes it harder for shoppers to know they are getting a safe product (remember: never trust the front label!), but difficult for truly safe brands to market their healthy products.

We are on the right path. Read labels, follow brands you trust, and ask questions.

Image :: Neill Kumar at Unsplash

List Love :: Glorious Summer

List Love :: Glorious SummerSummer is my true love. It’s so casual and fruity and glowing.

How fun is it to buy new stuff for summer? Gotta have a new bathing suit and some fresh flip-flops. Maybe a cute dress or two. And then there’s the beauty. Mmm mmm.

Here’s what is hanging out on my shopping list for the hot season…

May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden :: Jasmine gets my attention every time. And dewy, glowing skin? For sure!

Lina Hanson Global Treasures :: You know how you put your heavy moisturizers away once winter disappears? And then you realize summer is parching your skin too? People, there’s pearl, gold, and coffee in this spectacular balm. It’s like a decadent dream come true for thirsty skin and I want it now.

Kypris Beauty Cleanser Concentrate :: You know the luxe oil brand, right? I love Kypris and I love cream cleansers. So, done deal.

Chocolate Sun Cocoa Fleur 2 :: You know how Chocolate Sun is one of the best nontoxic self tanners? You don’t? Well, you totally need to get some. I can’t wait to try this spray version.

RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Myth :: Solar seems the obvi choice for summer, no? But the sweet kinda lavender/kinda silver-y-ness of Myth has me all kinds of excited. Going to use on lids, cheeks, lips, collarbone…try to stop me.

La Bella Figura Beauty – Happy Therapy (Mood Booster) :: I’m thinking a new scent for summer. Gardenia, Coconut, Guava, and Rose? Maybe the ladies at LBF can read minds.

Now go play.

Reconstructed :: Gwen Stefani Instagram Selfie

Gwen Stefani Instagram selfie

I’ve had a crush on Gwen Stefani for, like, evah! But really, who hasn’t?

Earlier this week, Gwen posted a selfie on IG sporting a very natural look. So pretty I had to do a reconstruction.

And away we go…

Of course, you’ve got to get yourself that smooth, even look. And since the sun is out most of the time these days and we are heading into summer (yay!), I’m recommending Suntegrity 5-in-1 Tinted Sunscreen. This stuff goes on like a dream and provides some healthy mineral sun protection. Gots to have.

For eyes, let’s get some smudgy brown pencil going. I cannot live without my fave, Benecos Natural Eyeliner in Brown. Or try W3LL People Hypnotist Eyeliner in Brown. And it looks like Gwen has used a peachy/gold shadow on upper lids, like Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Cloud Nine.

Can’t forget to handle the brows. While I’ve never been one to fill mine in, lately I’ve been using Benecos Eyebrow Designer. It is super easy to apply (I advise using a feathering motion while holding the pencil at a slant against brows) and comes with a convenient brow brush on the other end.

This look is lash game strong, so get yours out there with a smooth, thickening black. Try Ilia Beauty Mascara.

Those neutral lips are what is so surprising about this stunning look on Gwen. I mean, she can rock red and neutral? C’mon. Go with a lip that is close to the shade of our shadow. I choose Ilia Beauty Lip Crayon in Come Undone, cuz there’s nothing un-fun about picking out lippies.

Do You Have Energy Work Burnout?

Do You Have Energy Work Burnout?

Evolution is good. It’s why we are here, after all. But too much of a good thing can be bad.

Have you ever experience evolution exhaustion? Growth burnout? Enlightenment fry?

You know what it is. When you are meditating like a mad dog, reciting your mantra like your life depends on it, and willing yourself to think the happiest of happy thoughts at every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment.

You are giving it your all, trying to manifest the heck out of your dreams and putting work into your good stuff. Then you hit the wall. And it’s not a nudge, but a huge, horrific, noisy, messy crash.

You feel tired. Grumpy even. You don’t like any of your favorite stuff quite as much. You feel like you are slogging through the day, waiting to return to bed. This is called burnout.

I’m just coming out of one of these babies.

I was doing it all – had a dream plan, a brand spankin’ new mantra, was listening to fresh words of wisdom, making time for stuff that furthers my dreams. I even did a daily viewing of my Pinterest vision board before taking my first sip of coffee. Every. Single. Morning.

Sounds like all good stuff, right? Well, as has happened in the past, it turned on me. I ended up a headachy, sleepy, foggy brained mess. I read once that when you hit this phase it is the universe readying you for a launch into something bigger. Ok. I’m ready, already.

So I prayed and meditated on this some more. And waited. And then it happened. One morning my inbox filled up with email from several different people, all up to different things. But there was one thread that ran through all of them. The word “exhaustion” was in the title.

And it was true. I felt exhausted. What started out as an energy boosting plan to the max, fizzled into a daily grind. I put the question “can positivity be a form of resistance” out to a wonderful group of women I am lucky enough to associate with, and received many solid and helpful replies. But one in particular caught my attention. Like, big time.

“If the underlying emotion is fear and the positive is a veil on top trying to keep from feeling the emotions that are coming in, then absolutely. “

I love it! With all of my visioning and praying and positivity attracting I was forgetting one very important part…to feel the shiz I was feeling.

I guess the moral of this story is: Even your daily program to wellness and abundance can become work if you let it. Do what works for you the day, or even moment, you are living. As my Mom always said, everything in moderation. And don’t forget to feel what you feel while trying to improve your sitch.

OBS is 10!

Pineapples at Unsplash

Yep, I started this little blog a decade ago. Since then, my business has definitely evolved. And my blog design along with it, thankfully. Just for chuckles, check out the OBS original home page, below.


Ouch, right?!

Way back when it all began I had a preschooler and a kindergartener, and would spend any time they were sleeping researching this whole toxins in beauty products thing. In March of 2006, after spending a good 6 months reading and asking and emailing, I decided to start a blog sharing this knowledge with others. The plan was to eventually open an online store selling my favorites.

But the writing bug soon took over and before I knew it organic beauty professionals were asking me to write for them. I may spend most of my time now writing for other businesses and websites, but I am still just as passionate about the organic beauty/heath + wellness movement.

Not only have I and my blog changed, but the organic beauty scene has changed big time too. Back when I was starting out, researching my brains out and scouring the web for organic brands that were actually walking the talk and not just utilizing good marketing skills, naturals were different. Sure, there were those that have always been both high performance and safe at the same time (Lavera, Primavera, Dr. Hauschka, I’m lookin’ at you), but many were sloopy, sticky, stinky concoctions I did not enjoy using.

I think these days women are looking for products that act, look, feel, and sometimes even smell like conventional products. I know I am. Lucky for us that is happening. Today we have a huge selection of nontoxic products and brands to choose from. Truly safe, high quality, act like you want them to, beauties.

We are fortunate. There is nothing standing in our way of looking and feeling great while making healthy choices. I’m so happy to have been a part of the organic beauty movement over these past 10 years and want to give a huge shout out to my sisters and bros in the organic beauty game too. All of the amazing bloggers, editors, online shop owners, brand creators, and PR peeps who’ve lent their time and products to my journey…a big smooch to you. Couldn’t have done it without you!

If you’d like to talk about my writing services, please get in touch via my contact page. For organic beauty info, hit up the Resources tab. The Shop page will get you started on some beauty products I’ve picked out from one of my fave shops. Or dive into the posts to see what’s going on in my green beauty world.

As always, thanks for reading and come back soon!

Top image by Pineapples at has absolutely nothing to do with OBS turning 10. I just love pineapples and beaches:)

List Love :: Spring Beauty

List Love SpringBeauty

Isn’t this a weird time of year? It’s warm, it’s not warm. Our skin is dry, then it breaks out because of the up and down temps. We want to bust out the fun springtime makeup hues, but our face is still stuck in hibernation mode.

Know what fixes those end of winter, almost spring blues? An exciting beauty shopping list! Here’s what is on mine right about now:

French Girl Organics Bronzing Oil :: Ummm, cuz oil + bronzing sounds a-freakin’-mazing. This brand was featured in the latest issue of domino. Domino is one of my all time favorite magazines (I have every single issue ever published and now write for, in case you didn’t know) and what they say goes.

One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum :: We’ve talked about body serums here before. And boy, are they perfect for spring. Nix the heavy balms and greasy moisturizers. Let a luscious oil blend sink into your skin and give the ol’ bod a sweet glow. This one smells fabulous and is one of my staples.

RMS Master Mixer :: Because I am, possibly, RMS Beauty’s biggest fan, this one is definitely a must try. Rose-Marie Swift, creator of RMS and green beauty icon, has a knack for coming up with super cool, unique beauty products that turn into cult hits. This is for sure gonna be one of those.

OM Caviar Eye Cream :: This baby is receiving rave reviews and is said to diminish wrinkles and dark circles. When anything says that, I say…bring it on.

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist :: The idea of misting my skin with rose water when the weather is warm is so appealing. Think I must do. These guys were also featured in that domino green beauty round up I mentioned before, so there’s that.

SW Basics Oil Serum :: It’s no secret I worship facial oils. If they were a person, I’d bff them for life. If they were edible, I’d drink them for breakfast. If they were a song, I’d have them on repeat. You get it. This beauty has both turmeric and coffee oil, which is pretty dang exciting. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and gives skin a lovely glow. Coffee helps to tighten and brighten. Come to mama.

ILIA Beauty Lip Exfoliator :: Lipgloss is my favorite makeup item. Heck, it’s my favorite beauty item. I’m sure most of you are with me. Since your lipgloss glides on so much better if your lips are soft and smooth, we all must try this cool new lip exfoliator in a stick. For smoothing your pucker on the fly.

Olio e Osso Balm French Melon :: I’ve been hunting for the perfect blend of peachy-pink lip color since binge watching every season of the new 90210. This may be it, guys. I shall try it out and let you know.

Here’s to the most gorgeous spring you’ve know yet!