All natural and safe home care products

These days more and more consumers are shifting towards home grown or organic produce in food and chemical free skin care products. Ironically the organic skincare products claim to have better quality and purity of natural ingredients than the ones we consume. Anyway its a good thing that people are getting themselves informed of the importance of reading ingredient list of products and avoiding the toxic ones.

But how many of us do the same for our home care products, the ones that you are most exposed to than even your skin care products.
For eg, many of us ends up with dry parched skin after cleaning the utensils with dishwash gels and soaps. Some may even face allergies, redness and peeling of skin. Similarly we end up seeing soap residues in machine washed clothes, but tend to scrape it off or just ignore it. We don’t really care that these come in contact with our skin. Afterall the better they smell, the more we like them.

What about the fragrant floor cleaners that promises to kill 99.9% harmful microbes? Ever wondered if your baby who crawls over and often licks this floor, is safe? Are we atleast aware of the unimaginable harm we are doing to the soil, water bodies and thereby the organisms living in them, by using these chemical laden products?

Why are chemical home care products bad:

The commonly available home care products in our market are a mix of strong acids, petroleum by products, ammonia,foaming agents, Chlorine, bleach, surfactants, synthetic colorants and fragrance. These chemicals are very strong as they have to dissolve and break down the fats and oils in the surface being cleaned. For eg, many of these products will have labels that reads toxic, inflammable, keep away from children, visit doctor if it comes in contact with eyes etc. When we are using them on a daily basis over a period of time, our body is being constantly exposed to the fumes and residues left by these cleaning agents, which inturn can cause issues like irritation, headaches, allergies to even hormonal imbalance and cancer. It is said that even if you clean the plates in hot water after cleaning them with these chemical gels, you can’t get rid of the residue and there by you are constantly ingesting it. These toxins also gets absorbed via our skin, and thereby they directly enter the bloodstream without getting filtered out in liver.

So when you have alternative products that are completely natural, safe and bio degradable; why would you continue to use these chemicals. Let me introduce you to few such brands and products.

Why should you switch to natural cleaners:

1. Let me state the obvious reason first, it is safe. Natural cleaners are made of natural ingredients which are 100% safe.
2. There are no added synthetic colorants or fragrance that can cause irritation, skin dryness or allergies. Also the natural essential oils and ingredients impart a very refreshing natural fragrance.
3. They are bio-degradable and therefore environmental friendly. The left over grey water after cleaning, can be even used to water the plants as these are completely natural. It will not pollute the ground water or harm the organisms.
4. They have no synthetic fillers or foaming agents. Hence they foam less, clean more and thereby uses only less amount of water for washing clothes and utensils.
5. They don’t leave any harmful synthetic residue in clothes, floor or utensils.
6. Many of these products comes in recycled paper packaging, which inturn helps in reducing plastic pollution.
7. Many of the natural brands works with women self help groups that aims to employee and empower women across the country. Buying from such brands helps to contribute to a greater cause.
8. Cruelty free and Vegan
9. Naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

What are some of the natural home care products available in the market:

If you do a little bit of research (or simply search in google) you will be able to find organic stores in most of the places. They will stock up many varieties of cleaning products from different brands. Also most of these are available in online stores in Amazon and Big basket.

Indian Natural Home Care Brands and Products:

Natural dish wash products comes in a variety of forms like gel, powder, soap bar etc.

1. Common oxen

I bought this dish wash gel from my local store, but you can also find it online here. What I love about this one is that, it smells amazing. The natural fragrance of orange and lime essential oils in this gel makes you want to keep smelling it(I am not exaggerating).

Ingredients: Saponified Oils of Coconut, Palm and Rice Bran. Essential Oils of Orange and Lime. Baking Soda and Jaggery

Another products from this brand is Swish Wash laundry powder. It is a white powder that can be used for both machine and handwash.

In addition to mentioning what is in it, this brand has taken it a step further by what is not in it.

Reminds me of the Ancient Ayurveda wood ash soap’s label which was similar.

2. Wild Ideas:

I bought this dish wash soap from the brand Wild Ideas. They also have many other products which you can find in sites like Amazon

Ingredients:
Soap Berries, Sikakai, Citrus, Tamarind, Bitter Albizia, and Wood Ash.

The product is produced by women self help groups.

I have also tried laundry powder from this brand. You can make out the soap berry pieces in the mix, which is the natural foaming agent.

It comes with a cotton cloth pouch with a string attached to it’s mouth. The powder has to be put in the pouch and tied. This can be left in washing machines or a bucket of water along with the clothes and washed normally.

Krya:

Krya is one of the most authentic ayurveda based skin and haircare brand in market. You can read my product reviews from this brand, here. In addition to these, they also has home care products. I have tried their detergent powder for clothes which is similar to the one by Wild Ideas. Just that, I found this powder much finer.

These powders smells like areetha and shikakai but it is not noticeable in clothes after wash. Also these are much gentler on the fabrics than strong chemical detergents.

BON Organics:

This is a certified organic Indian brand that has a wide variety of skin care, bath, pet care and home care products. I love their orange cinnamon hand wash liquid, which has a sweet and warm natural fragrance. This is the empty bottle that I plan to reuse by filling in liquid soap.

Here is the impressive ingredient list of this hand wash, which will make you think why you wash your hands with cheap, toxic chemicals.

Ingredients: Ingredients: Saponified Almond oil, Jojoba oil, Organic corn oil, Organic Caster oil, Organic Coconut oil, Organic Neem oil Vitamin E, Glycerine, Shea butter, Essential oil of orange, cinnamon, mint, organic Lemon oil , Aloe Vera gel, & Demineralised water.

Another product I have tried from them is the liquid laundry that comes in a white can. It was very gentle but effective on clothes.

Here is a pic of my BON Organics haul from their site.

Other brands that I know of (but not tried), that sells natural home care products are Rustic Art and Mittise

Herbal Strategi Naturedrop:

This is one brand that I recently started seeing in all super markets. It comes in a green plastic bottle, and claims to be 100% natural. I have used this but Iam not very sure if this is completely natural, as the brand has not mentioned the ingredient list anywhere in the label or online.

It just says : This liquid dish wash contains several herbal ingredients, including non-ionic cocoa, water, coconut-based surfactants, soap nut and lemon oils.

I don’t recommend this as I don’t have full information on the product.

So I hope this post was useful to you and that you will make a conscious decision, next time you buy home care products.

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Eat healthy,live healthy : My favorite organic food stores

Our skin problems are mostly related to our lifestyle and food habits. What we eat directly reflects on our skin. Many skin related issues can be fixed by just eating right. So I have made it a habit to eat organic and chemical free food as much as possible.There are many online sites and local stores that sell chemical free produce and food products these days and here I am going to list down my favorite ones in Bangalore.

1. QTrove

Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are natural, sustainable, not easily available elsewhere, enhance the well-being and social currency of today’s discerning consumer.

I regularly buy organic products from here. Few products I love are Gulkand,choco-chip pancake mix, fresh fruit preserves, organic ghee, hot chocolate blends, Caramel and chemical free detergents and dish wash liquid. They have an amazing collection of products covering food items, bath and body products, household items, pet care products and even a women exclusive collection.

The delivery is very fast, sometimes even the next day and products are packed neatly. Most of the food items are made to order and hence cannot be returned. There are frequent offers for particular products.

Check out my haul post for details here

I am sure that these days one can find organic food stores every where but you need to make sure that the products are certified organic and not fake. In Bangalore, there are two Organic stores that are my recent finds. Actually when I searches for an organic store near Indiranagar I found so many in the same area.

2. FRESH EARTH ORGANICS

You will almost miss this store in CMH road, unless you are looking for it in particular. This small store stocks groceries, veggies, bath and beauty products and even chocolates and nut butters.

Products I love : Pomegranate dark chocolate, organic eggs and ghee, Apple cider vinegar
Find them Near-Mayur Technologies, Chinmaya Mission Hospital Rd, Indira Nagar 1st Stage
Timings : 9.30am to 7.30pm


3. HAPPY HEALTHY ME

HappyHealthyMe is India’s first 100% certified organic food brand and grocery store. Our locally sourced products have been carefully selected to promote health for the mind, body and soul.

I love this store because the store itself is like a food boutique and it feels like each product is specially curated and put in packs with designer labels. The packing is so appealing and eco-friendly.

They have a wide range of products including super foods like chia and flax seeds,groceries, exotic herbs, spices and their special salads.

Read about the bamboo brush here
Products I love : Almond mylk, Cacao nibs, Bamboo toothbrush, Seeds from Super food range
Find them @ 660, 1st Cross, 11th Main road, Indiranagar
Timings :10:00AM – 8:00PM

Eating healthy organic produce that are seasonal, can bring great improvement in your health. Including greens in the diet helps in flushing out the toxins and improving the bowel movement. But having pesticide laden food does more harm than good. So even if you buy produce that are not organic, make sure you soak the veggies and fruits in vinegar+salt water for at least 2 hours before using them.

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Qtrove, the curated market place

Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are natural, sustainable, not easily available elsewhere, enhance the well-being and social currency of today’s discerning consumer.

You would have already seen my Qtrove haul pic in Instagram. As you know, I love encouraging local artisans and vendors, and Qtrove offers over 3000 products from local sellers across the world. I just place my second order yesterday, and that’s when I realized I did not introduce #Qtrove to you.

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From L-R : French caramel sauce, desi cow’s ghee, oats pancake mix, apple dates and orange jam.

What I liked about Qtrove:

Super fast delivery. Only very few online purchases, like that from Nykaa, has impressed me with their fast delivery. But Qtrove provides even better service by bringing the products within a day or two mostly. I really liked the thank you notes with the bunch.

I also bought this incense set. This has rose incense sticks and an incense stick holder. Love it.

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Among all the food items, my favorite is the desi ghee. So different from the products available in market. This one doesn’t look all yellow but smells very pure. Also let me tell you, ghee is a must in winters to combat dry skin. One spoonful inclued in daily diet will do wonders.

The caramel sauce is really delicious and is a versatile product. You can have it as such, or with bread and rotis, or even make a caramel pudding or cheese cake with it.img_20161025_184532-01Now to be fair, I did not like the apple jam at all. Yes it is all natural and has only vinegar as preservative. But well, it is not sweet and has this strong flavour, which I am not a fan of.

Also by mistake I had ordered 2 of these. Now one thing to be noted is, if you are not careful with the order you will end up with products that you cannot return. Since these are preservatives free, eventhough I didnot open the jar, they were not ready to accept the return. So well I ended up with 2 of the least favourite product from the lot.

Now last day, I placed my second Qtrove order, as there is a sale happening in the site. I bought another jar of ghee and some new products like completely natural dishwash soap, chocolate almond butter and gulkand.

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Eventhough it is just 100g and costs almost the same as its weight, I can’t keep my hands off it. It tastes exactly like the cold betel leaf filling. It is a mix of rose petals, nuts and dry fruits and tastes yum.

I will do a detailed review of other products after I use them for a while. The site offers skincare products, house hold and petcare products as well. Incase you want to buy curated hand picked products that are sustainable and awesome, take a look at their site.

Check it out here : Qtrove

CGH Pepper soap review and a little surprise

This post has a surprise. So keep reading till the end.

You must be familiar with the brand Cape of Good Soap, if you are a regular reader of my blog. I had previously reviewed products from this brand,Teas Please from Cape of Good soap , Cape of Good Soap : Rosewood and Mint soap , Look what came in my mail today!

They offer wide variety of soaps, that not only smells heavenly and looks like a painting in itself, but has very unique combination of ingredients to suit specific skin types.
When we think about ingredients in skin care we usually look forward to those with soothing aromas like floral, herbal fragrances or refreshing ones like citrusy, minty ones. But Manisha’s mind works in a different way. She makes products with ingredients that surprises us for it’s efficacy and unique aromas.So I was fairly surprised when she sent me the Black pepper & Bergamot soap to review.
peppersoap
PC : COGP
What the product claims:

 Black pepper works to detoxify your skin back to its natural state with all its nutrients. This soap will work as a mood uplifter after a long day relieving you of stress and anxiety.

Ingredients:
Crushed black peppercorn, bergamot extract powder, Black pepper & Bergamot essential oil, white soap base

Price: 275/- for 120g.

My take on the product:
As you know, the really liked the Tea’s please soap as it really helped in controlling acne. But this one I saved for the last, as I was not quite sure whether I would like a peppery smelling soap. But to my surprise, this one has a very mild, warm and soothing fragrance which has prominent notes of Bergamot than pepper.
You can see crushed pepper spread across the soap and this really sloughs away dead patches. Also this one, in my opinion, will suit all skin types as this is not drying and is quite mild on skin.
I couldn’t find any con as such, because this one does its job as a soap well :P.
But if I dig deep, maybe I prefer this for the body and not face as it doesn’t control oiliness as well as the green tea variant. But well different products does differ jobs, so no complaints.
Buy it here

So here’s the surprise. We are all familiar with the brands and products, but not always with the brains behind the brands. So here’s is a small interview with the brand owner (or rather artist, as her soaps looks amazing) of Cape of Good Soap, Manisha Dutta.

1. How did you get inspired to start soap making and how did you learn to make skin care products?

I owe a lot of my handcraft to the craft lessons that we used to detest in school.  There are things for which we just rush to the aisles of the mart and pick them up without pondering that these two can be made at home. Like soaps, cosmetics or even Clothes. Most of us never think about it or resist the effort. I did too, but then seeing my own creation shaping up in different shapes, colors, fragrances and concepts is too big a thrill to be stashed away.  While I had learned about soap making way back in school, I got more comfortable experimenting it when i decided to make homemade bath products myself. Being a chemistry graduate, it came naturally to mix and experiment with different ingredients. I did a course to polish my skills before talking them to the clients.
 

2. Which is your favorite ingredient in skincare product(if any particular fragrance , oil or flavour you prefer)?

 I usually like all the ingredients that make the soap different from other handmade soaps that you get, now that there are many players in the market. My addition of choicest of herbs, dried flowers, spices etc. I actually like the natural aroma that come out of these. EO for their properties and fragrance are added, but these natural fragrance of spices and herbs that attract me to my soap.
 
 

3. Do you make the soaps from scratch(in relation to the soaps you sent). Are they cold processed?

I follow all the three processes- hot, cold and M&P made either by me or my trusted vendor, however, this depends on the order and the time available in hand to deliver it.  The soaps that were sent to you were M&P from the bars made by me as that allowed me to customize it for you at the shortest possible time, ensuring that i retain the quality and the ingredients. 
 

4. Where do you seek inspiration for designs?

All my designs are original and I would attribute them to the creative streak in me that has egged me always to  churn out something new and different every single time
 

5. How do you ensure the quality of products you use?

I purchase almost all the ingredients myself. They are handpicked from my travels in India and abroad or I ask my sister to ship them if I run out of some exotic ingredient that we don’t get here in India easily.
 
 

7. What are your future aspirations in this field?

There is a big project in the pipeline. i would love to tell you about it but allow me sometime before i can talk about it. 
 
I hope you all loved this post. Let me know what you would like me to write about next. Happy weekend 🙂

Choose the right toothpaste

Why do we use toothpaste?

No, not for all those reasons that came to your mind. We use toothpaste because it makes the mouth not smell and taste like mouth. It is a cosmetic. Our elders used to clean their teeth and gum using charcoal from paddy husk (umikari, in my native language) also with neem stem and mango leaves. They ate sugar cane and fibrous food.

We call out teeth sensitive. It can neither take heat nor cold. We pay so much attention to food we eat, cosmetics we choose but never read ingredient list of toothpaste that we use daily throughout our lives.

A study by the Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (DIPSAR) has found that many of the toothpaste manufacturers are adulterating toothpastes and toothpowders with high quantity of nicotine.

“Out of the 24 brands of toothpastes studied in 2011, seven brands – Colgate Herbal, Himalaya, Neem paste, Neem Tulsi, RA Thermoseal, Sensoform and Stoline – were found to contain nicotine,” said Professor S. S. Agarwal of DIPSAR, which is affiliated to the Delhi University and is funded by the Delhi government.

Read more here

The truth is this: There are no herbal toothpastes in general retail stores within the reach of the common consumer. The ones that are available are normal toothpastes with very limited extracts of herbs. You can find comparative study of toothpastes in Indian market in the link below.

Read more here

Let us look at some ingredients of popular toothpaste brands available in market.

7 Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients
  • Triclosan : Triclosan is a chlorophenol, which is a class of chemicals that is suspected of causing cancer in humans.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) : SLS is used in products such as garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash soaps. Elsewhere, SLS is used for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant.
  • Artificial Sweeteners.
  • Sodium Fluoride: The main ingredient in toothpaste and rat poison
  • Propylene Glycol :Research on the safety of propylene glycol in personal care products is lacking, although it’s a known skin, eye, and lung irritant and may cause organ system toxicity
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) : It’s a known hormone disrupter and can react with other ingredients to form a potential carcinogen called NDEA (N-nitrosodiethanolamine), which is readily absorbed through the skin and has been linked with cancers of the stomach, esophagus, liver, and bladder.
  • Microbeads :The bits were found in Crest microbead toothpaste and were getting trapped under patients’ gums. This gives food and bacteria an entrance to your gum line, which could actually cause gum disease.
  • Hydrated Silica :A whitener that damages tooth enamel

Read more here

Your mouth is actually one of the most absorbent places in your entire body. This is why some medications are administered sublingually, or under your tongue.

While you’re dutifully brushing and swishing, the ingredients in your toothpaste enter your mouth and gums,  which are the gateway to every system in your body.”2

This is why you need to be very careful when choosing  toothpaste. Many popular brands contain questionable ingredients that you’re far better off avoiding.

Read more here

 

It is actually the brushing that cleans the teeth and not the toothpaste. In toothpaste covers it is written that only a pea size amount is advisable. Still in ads they show the entire brush covered in paste. Also it is written that if swallowed consult doctor. We are putting this product in our mouth that is toxic if swallowed. Can the warning be anymore clear.

Carefully read the ingredient list before buying toothpaste and choose wisely. Or use traditional methods of cleaning teeth to be safe.