All the Feels (Part I)

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Image via @frank_bod

Ever so often, here on the site, we’re going to focus on a weekly roundup of everything and anything that we’ve seen, heard, or viewed recently that resonated with us. So without further adieu, here’s All the Feels…

1 / Take action to make cosmetics safer by signing this petition. Two U.S. Senators, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), aim to update regulations with their proposed Personal Care Products Safety Act. The bipartisan bill would give the federal FDA the power to review risky ingredients before products hit the market. Under the bill’s terms, the FDA would also be able to monitor adverse reactions (companies would be required to report them) and issue recalls for products that may cause serious harm.

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Some of our favorite pioneers in Washington, DC leading the coalition for safer beauty brands. (Image via @beautycounter)

2 / Outdoor Voices (our go-to place for anything and everything athleisure) just launched their Hiker Collection and it is let-me-add-everything-to-my-shopping-cart-now great.

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Hiker Collection via Outdoor Voices

3 / Edith Windsor, the activist whose Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, died on Tuesday, September 12th at age 88. She famously said, “Married is a magic word, and it is magic throughout the world. It has to do with our dignity as human beings, to be who we are openly.”

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Image via New York Times

4 / The Justice Department said it won’t bring federal civil rights charges against the Baltimore, MD police officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died in 2015 of a severe spinal cord injury. He got it from riding in the back of a police van handcuffed and shackled, but not buckled in. That led to protests, rioting, and a state of emergency in Baltimore. #BlackLivesMatter

5 / 25 years ago this week, Mae Jemison became the first African American women to travel in space. Also – Hidden Figures is going to be made into a children’s book. The epitome of what we should be teaching our young girls and boys.

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Image via Nasa.

6 / Making one of these hearty fall salads ASAP.

7 / While we’re hearing a lot about Hurricane Irma’s destruction across Florida, the hurricane literally destroyed some of the islands in the Caribbean. Here’s how to help.

8 / A swoon-worthy cookbook where 100% of the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood? Hello! Count us in.

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9 / Heyday in NYC is opening up two new locations this year (Upper West Side in September and NoHo by the end of the year)! Not only do they give the best facials but it’s a great place to stock up on Herbivore Botanicals, One Love Organics, and URSA MAJOR.

10 / 10 Anxiety Remedies that actually work, according to real women.

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Image via Byrdie

Be a Nice Human.

From DACA, Hurricane Harvey, the climate change debate, and the opioid crisis here in the US, to the migrant crisis across Europe, the fleeing Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and millions of girls across the globe who don’t have access to education happening abroad, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed about the geopolitical and socio-economical world we live in. And, more so, what we can do as individuals to help, get involved, and make a difference.

While donating money is always an option (and, we highly suggest that you do donate to causes that matter to you, if you’re able!), sometimes we feel like no matter what we do, our contribution won’t matter, or there are two many important causes to support to make a real difference.

But, we’re here to remind you that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Apart from donating, here are ten relatively easy ways to get involved and stay woke:

1 / Talk to people. In an open-minded, thoughtful way. Especially with those that you may disagree with.

2 / Stay up to date on the news and informed on the issues. We recommend watching VICE NEWS, subscribing to The Skimm and/or Broadstreet, and downloading the CNN app and turning on the news alerts. There’s, of course, hundreds and hundreds of options when it comes to how one consumes the news, so do what works for you!

3 / Watch a documentary and learn something new about today’s issues. Here are a few of our favorites: 1 13th / 2 An Inconvenient Truth / 3 Before the Flood / 4 Food, Inc. / 5 God Grew Tired of Us / 6 The Hunting Ground / 7 The True Cost / 8 Waiting for “Superman” / 9 What the Health / 10 Where to Invade Next

4 / Pick a lane. Or, a few to get really involved in. As much as we may hope, we can’t necessarily fight for everything or devote every hour of the day to all of today’s causes (unless, you can and, well then, you go Glen Coco!). Think about the issues and decide which resonate the most with you – the ones you want to fight for and put as much time into as possible. For us, it’s climate change and women’s empowerment. Now, this doesn’t mean that we don’t care about immigration or human rights or anything else, it just means that we put in as much effort as possible to stay up-to-date and knowledgeable on these two issues and get involved as much as we can.

5 / If you live in the US, text “RESIST” to 504-09 to send a fax to your senators and representatives about any issue that you care about. It’s so easy and takes less than a minute! Contrary to popular opinion, written communications are an effective way of communicating with Congress – everyyyyything is read.

6 / Support each other. Be an ally to women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, and other minorities. Silence can be just as dangerous to marginalized people as blatant racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, etc. Speak up for yourselves, for others, and for what is right.

7 / Look into She Should Run to take 500,000 collective steps toward electing women to office.

8 / Become a mentor and help a young person in your community through StepUp or Big Brothers Big Sisters.

9 / Get involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

10 / And, practice self care. While it’s important help others, it’s also essential that you are taking care of your own needs. Every one of us needs to show how much we care for each other, and in the process, care for ourselves.

Now get out there and be a nice human.

Images via @refinery29, @weezyvc@ashlukadraws@cleowade

PS: Check out more on our Instagram while we’re getting the sit up and running.

They’re dirty… but not in the good way.

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We’re talking about chemicals found in the majority of our beauty and skincare products here in the U.S. They’re dirty, toxic, and definitely not natural. We believe that safe skincare and non-toxic ingredients should be the norm. The more we know, the more we can each be advocates for our own bodies and a healthier standard overall.

When we say “non-toxic,” we’re referring to formulations made without harmful ingredients known to have toxic effects on our health (including, but not limited to, irritants, carcinogens, hormone and endocrine disruptors, etc.). Although it’s a term not regulated by the FDA (Side note – Did you know that the European Union does regulate this kind of stuff? While the U.S. has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938, in the last twenty years, the EU has banned more than 1,300 chemicals and toxins found to be unsafe for our bodies and the planet. Mind blown.), it is a term that is widely used by “natural” beauty brands.

Here are the “dirty dozen” of cosmetics, the most toxic ingredients:

1 / BHA/BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

BHA and BHT are synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers. They can cause allergic reactions as well as liver, thyroid and kidney problems. Also, they mimic estrogen, can have an adverse impact on reproduction, and may be a possible carcinogen. More than one reason to stay far away from products with these ingredients!

2 / Phthalates (Dibutyl phthalate or DPB)

They are commonly used in nail products as a solvent for dyes and as a plasticizer that prevents nail polishes from becoming brittle. They have shown to potentially cause a slew of terrible things, such as developmental defects, reproduction and fertility harms, early puberty in girls, and a risk factor for breast cancer. If you love doing your nails, there are tons of non-toxic options like this, this, and this.

3 / Sulphates (Sodium laurate, lauryl sulphate, or SLS)

They are primarily used as foaming agents or detergents found in shampoos, cleansers, and bubble bath products. Sulphates can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. They are often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh, but has been linked to harming the nervous system.

4 / Parabens (Methyl-, Ethyl-, Propyl-, Butyl-, Isobutyl-)

Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in a vast array of cosmetic and beauty products – an estimated 75-90% of cosmetics contain parabens. Parabens are easily absorbed by our skin – they can mimic estrogen and have been detected in human breast cancer tissues.

5 / Formaldehyde

It is a known carcinogen commonly found in cosmetics as a preservative. It is present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. It has a long list of adverse health effects, including immune-system toxicity, respiratory irritation, neurotoxicity, and cancer. Also, we don’t know about you, but definitely don’t want to think about dead bodies when we’re going through our beauty routine. 

6 / Coal-Tar Dyes

They are a byproduct of coal processing used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Coal-tar dyes are known carcinogens, and colors may be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and some contain aluminum (a neurotoxin). This is a huge concern when used in cosmetics that may be ingested (i.e. lipstick).

7 / DEA Compounds (Diethanolamine)

They are used to make cosmetics creamy or sudsy, such as for moisturizers and shampoos. They cause mild skin and eye irritation. DEA can form cancer-causing nitrosamines and is also a possible hormone disruptor. In high dosages, it may cause liver cancer and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid.

8 / PEG Compounds (Polyethylene Glycols)

PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs opens the skin’s pores, allowing harmful ingredients to penetrate more deeply. PEG and other “ethoxylated” ingredients (which usually have chemical names including the letters “eth”) may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane (similar to SLS).

9 / Petrolatum

Petrolatum is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers. It is also used in hair care products to make your hair shine. Look out for the terms “petroleum” or “liquid paraffin.” It is a petrochemical and possible carcinogen, and it can be contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and 1,4-dioxane.

10 / Parfum/fragrance

Apart from being used in perfumes and deodorants, they are used in nearly every type of personal-care product. Of the thousands of chemicals used in fragrances, most have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. These are often irritants that can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms and worse they have been associated with cancer and neurotoxicity.

11 / Siloxanes

Ingredients ending in “siloxane” make hair products dry quickly and deodorant creams slide on easily. They are also used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments to soften and smoothen. For example, cyclotetrasiloxane is an endocrine disruptor, which interferes with human hormone function. It has also been linked to possibly impairing human fertility, causing uterine tumors, and harming the reproductive and immune systems.

12 / Triclosan

Triclosan is used mainly in antiperspirants, deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers as a preservative and an antibacterial agent. It can pass through skin and can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. There are plenty of non-toxic deodorants to chose from! Check out this, this, and this.

Still looking for more information? Here are some of the most helpful comprehensive lists: 1/ The Never List 2/ Dirty Ingredients to Ditch 3/ Think Dirty, Shop Clean 4/ Tips for Safer Products 5/ We All Deserve Better

And, if you’re looking to replace some of your current products with non-toxic ones, check out our Instagram. We’re constantly sharing our favorite brands and products!

Disclaimer: All material on The Care Counter website is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet or other health related program.

Allow me to (Re)introduce Myself.

IMG_3523Care Counter started as a means to better understand health and wellness – particularly when it comes to what we put in and on our bodies and the effects not only our body, but also our wellbeing. And, our hope is that these discussions will help people along the way.

We, at Care counter, make a lot of decisions in our lives based on facts, for example, when it comes to our health and beauty routine. We feel like the more information we have, the better decision we can make for my body and mind (however, this also may be routed in our anxieties and the fear of the unknown… more on that later).

But on the flip side, we equally value other people’s experiences and stories. So, here at Care Counter, we hope to weave the facts in with stories to make our health and wellness decisions a little bit easier.

Thanks for following along!

PS: Check out more on our Instagram while we’re getting the site up and running.