suki won me over

July 8, 2009

I’ve been on the search for organic, fair trade, safe ingredient make-up specifically for acneic skin and I finally stumbled upon Suki.  I found this amazing concealer for acne prone skin but once I looked at the ingredient list I became a bit skeptical.  It included ingredients that usually have high toxicity levels (which was confusing since Suki claims they are organic and safe) so I decided to email them about my concerns.  The next day I received a very impressive response from a customer service representative.   Suki won me over and so has their website.  They seem to know their stuff and I trust that knowledge.  I ordered the concealer along with several other face products.  I’ll report back once I try them out.  Check out!  I especially like their list of ingredients to avoid, which you can find here.  Below is my email conversation with the rep.

“I really wanted to purchase this product until I read the ingredients.  Why is it necessary to put Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Borate, and Titanium Dioxide in the product?  Are you aware of the toxicity levels in these ingredients and the harmful effects they can have on humans?  If you changed your product to be free of these ingredients, I would be a customer for life. Thank you. Courtney”

“hello Courtney, thank you for contacting us. first of all i would like to commend you for taking the time to research the ingredients in the products you use.
perhaps i can ease some of your concerns about the sodium borate in our tinted active moisturizer & in our liquid concealer. we use sodium borate as a natural emulsifying aid. the ingredient is used like lye in the process of soap making, and released during the natural chemical reaction. subsequently, the final formulas are free of the actual ingredient & will not cause irritation or harm to animals, humans, or the environment.
we make mineral color cosmetics. titanium dioxide is a mineral color, the only one in fact that produces a white tint. if you want a color that is beige, natural, porcelain, or in the family of skin tone color at all, you must use this ingredient. your alternatives are fd & c, coal tar or aluminum lake colors proven to cause cancer. our titanium is non-micronized meaning, not processed using nanotechnology. we use it along with iron oxide to also provide a physical sunblock of spf 15 in our sukicolor tinted active moisturizer & liquid formula concealer. there is some literature available that warns against titanium dioxide. this is because titanium dioxide occurrences in nature are never pure; sometimes the refining process is toxic & sometimes it isn’t. sometimes the process is complete & sometimes it isn’t. titanium dioxide that has not been fully refined is not pure, & should be avoided. it is important to note that we use both a complete & non-toxic process (instead of nano-technology).
the cetearyl alcohol we use is a vegetable fatty acid. it is a food grade coconut wax, and we use it because it is a natural thickener & moisturizing element.
Suki takes great pride, as you can see by reading our extensive website & blog, in our ingredient integrity & education. we use the naturally occurring forms of all our ingredients, even our cutting edge cosmecueticals, so our customers can use them in confidence even when pregnant or on babies.
thank you again for taking the time to write, please feel free to contact us with any further questions.”  [I’m not sure why they use all lower case, but its the same way on the website.]

“Thank you for the timely response!  You’ve completely changed my mind about your products and I’ll be ordering the concealer soon. Thank you, Courtney”


Per reader requests, here is a list of the current products we use:

Shampoo/Conditioner — Giovanni Organic Hair Care  Tea Tree Triple Threat

Styling Product — Weleda Rosemary Hair Oil

Facewash — Coastal Classic’s “Lighthouse” Jojoba Soap Unscented Facial Bar

Sunscreen — Badger SPF 30

Toothpaste — Toms Clean & Gentle Care SLS-Free (very important)  Antiplaque + Whitening

Mouthwash — Jason’s Healthy Mouth Tea Tree and Cinnamon Mouthwash

Body lotion — Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion

Deodorant — Lafe’s Natural and Organic Deodorant Spray (We love it!)

Body Wash — Dr. Bronner’s Lavender/Peppermint Castille Soap

Acne Treatment — Burt’s Bees Outdoor Herbal Blemish Stick

Feminine Products — NatraCare Organic Cotton Tampons

PS: If possible, it’s best to make your own products.

lashes and locks

February 16, 2009

As Stephen mentioned, from time to time I will share my personal experience with buying and using organic cosmetics with the intention of saving you the extra step.  We have gathered some of our information from  This database rates cosmetic products based on the levels of toxicity in the ingredients.  Much to my dismay ALL of my make-up collection was rated between 8-10, as most everyday Target-esque make-up items are.  Alot of my cosmetics had heavy doses of the Top Ten ingredients to avoid (See our first post).  With the full intention of never wearing make-up again, I happened upon and decided to try out their mascara.  It’s $14.50 + shipping and it ships rather quickly.  This may be more than what you’d like to spend on mascara, but its worth it.  I can pronounce the ingredients and I like the way it smells.  It feels clean and natural and actually makes my eyelashes appear longer.  I give it a 2 thumbs up!

To dye or not to dye….I’ve been debating this issue for quite some time.  Ideally, I’d like to go au natural, but the reality is I like my hair best when it has a little kick.  However, I don’t want to spend a fortune at a high end salon knowing that the chemicals used on my hair are HIGHLY toxic.   So I began my search and fortunately found a great British site and (after much flip-flopping) settled on Swedish Blonde 10C.  I don’t have the best track record with home hair dye (in fact, I may have the worst), but this time was spectacular!  My darker roots have been miraculously blended in with the rest of my now Swedish Blonde hair.  It looks natural and un-treated, just the way I like it.  And to top it off, my hair is softer than ever because of Herbatint’s essential oils.  Two thumbs up!

More cosmetic reviews to come. Stay tuned…

1. Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea

2. Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben

3. Petrolatum

4. Propylene Glycol

5. PVP/VA Copolymer

6. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

7. Stearalkonium Chloride

8. Synthetic Colors

9. Synthetic Fragrances

10. Triethanolamine

For complete descriptions of what these are, visit this link.  Before you head to your bathroom, medicine cabinet or kitchen though, I will warn you that nearly everything that touches your skin contains these ingredients–it’s overwhelming.  I was motivated to research harmful ingredients when, in the middle of winter, my allergies went crazy.  I can’t say positively that these chemicals are the only reason that my allergies worsened, but after reading their descriptions, I have to believe that they played a part.

We have always been conscious of the ingredients in our food (we buy natural, if not organic, we avoid high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils, msg, nitrites, etc.), but we had no idea that we should be paying attention to what we put on our skin.  And I should clarify.  When I say cosmetics, I don’t mean just lip liner and mascara.  I mean toothpaste, I mean deodorant, I mean lotion.  Also, understand that we weren’t shopping generic brand cosmetics either, not that generic brands are bad, but we were spending some serious cash on cosmetics.

Anyway, do what you want with this list.  I wrote them down and carried them in my pocket until I had them memorized.  I looked like a huge dork in the aisle at the store, but I am wearing my contacts right now for the first time in about 3 months, which allergies had made impossible, and I don’t think it’s a complete coincidence.  And I’m not taking allergy medication.  I was wearing what I thought was organic deodorant, and my armpits kept peeling (yeah, odd)–well, it turns out that it contained propylene glycol.  They haven’t peeled since.

Before I leave you severly depressed, since everything contains this stuff, let me turn you on to Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.  I wash my hands, body and face with it, I brush my teeth with it and I wash my cat in it.  If it’s good enough for Greta, then it’s good enough for me.  It’s about $3 cheaper at Target than anywhere else I’ve seen it.