Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Label Reading Tips For Product Safety - Tip #3 - The Fragrance Ingredient, A Blanket Statement

Continuing our Labeling Reading Tips For Product Safety Series....

Photo Credit: Chemistry.About.Com

Tip number three, I can honestly say shocked me the most. I've always known the fragrance ingredient was synthetic and should be avoided, but I had no clue that fragrance was in fact a blanket ingredient.

A blanket ingredient made of at least 4000 to 5000 separate chemicals. This important tip should be considered when reading labels. Taking into account WHERE it places on the label (amount), it should be understood that the word "fragrance" contains undisclosed ingredients (chemicals) that may contains substances such as:

Formaldehyde - Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (causes cancer). Causes allergic, irritant and contact dermatitis, headaches and chronic fatigue. The vapor is extremely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat (mucous membranes).

Parabens - Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. They are highly toxic. Parabens are also hormone disrupters and have been shown to be reproductive toxin in animal studies. Parabens have been detected in breast cancer tumors and may cause contact dermatitis.

Phthalates - Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. They are often called plasticizers. Some phthalates are used as solvents (dissolving agents) for other materials. They are used in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, plastic clothes (raincoats), and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes). -  Health risks include; reproductive and human development -

Additionally, symptoms from fragrances, reported to the FDA include headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and skin irritation. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.

Fragrances are considered trade secrets and its ingredients do not have to be disclosed. A good rule would be to avoid products that contain fragrances. Do not be fooled by "natural fragrances". This too, is vague. Besides, there is no such thing as a natural fragrance. The only natural scents there are are essential oils extracted from plants such as lavender and roses by example. Products with natural scents should freely list the essential oils used. By extension, the word "flavor" in an ingredient list, is vague and may possibly be a blanket ingredient like fragrance, whether it is defined as "natural" or "artificial".

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Label-Reading Series on TheOliveParent
The Golden Rule
Levels of Organic Certification
Organic Certifications & GMOs
Ingredient Amounts & Hair Detoxing

Stay tuned for the final tip on label reading!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Label-Reading Tips for Product Safety - Tip #2 Ingredient Amounts & Hair Detoxing

When reading labels, it is also important to understand that ingredients are listed in the order of their amounts. If the first ingredient on the list is water, then water is what you're mostly using. Whether this is good or bad depends on how you expect your product serve you.

This important tip gives you an overall understanding of what you're getting more of. For example the ingredients for Morraccanoil, a popular hair treatment that supposedly contains Argan oil, is listed in this exact order:

With this product you're using more Silicone derivatives (Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone) than you are Argan oil. Silicone is a type (liquid) of plasticizer that give the hair the shiny look and silky feel. Silicone ingredients are occlusive, which means it coats the skin, much like a plastic wrap and prevents the skin from performing its natural duties, specifically the functions of releasing sweat & sebum and absorbing. Prolonged exposures to silicone-type ingredients may include irritation, skin eruptions and hair loss.

From how the ingredients are listed, it would be safe to say that the shiny, silky look promised by the product doesn't come from the Argan oil itself, but amount of plasticizers used in the product. I should state I could not find the ingredient list for Morroccanoil treatment on the official site, instead I found it on retailer's shop.

Another tip....never purchase products without full disclosure of its ingredients and never trust a company that isn't willing to disclose the ingredients of their products.

12401-ProtectHairRepairThe ingredients in the Protect Hair Repair by comparison, gives you a healthy dose of Aloe Vera.

certified organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice
organic fermented grain extract
certified organic rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) seed oil
sclerotium rolfsii gum
citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) fruit extract
certified organic equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract
certified organic urtica dioica (nettle) extract
certified organic arctium lappa (burdock) extract
certified organic rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract
certified organic salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract
certified organic citrus dulcis (sweet orange) essential oil
certified organic pelargonium graveolens (geranium) essential oil
certified organic daucus carota (carrot) CO2 extract
santalum spicata (sandalwood) essential oil

My favorite ingredient in this product is the lactic acid from the fermented grain extract, which is a natural protectant. I use this product for myself and family daily and LOVE the natural shine and silkiness it provides. Notice, there is NO water used. You get full use and benefit from the ingredients as stated on the label. No chemical additives, just food grade ingredients!

Stay tuned for the next label-reading tip!

Hair Detox - De-Plasticizing Your Hair

***Miessence is the world's first certified organic skin/body care. Over 40+ products are certified organic to FOOD GRADE standards, pure enough to eat!***

If you're ready to commit to silicone-free products, use Miessence shampoos, which contain 70% Aloe Vera and 100% toxic-free ingredients, to rid your hair and scalp of these occlusive ingredients.  Your hair detox period depends on the amount of silicone in your hair. You may experience knotty and drier hair. The Protect Hair Repair helps detangle hair during the process and the Clarifying Rinse can assist with stripping your hair of chemical residue. You can speed up the detox process by mixing a Miessence Clay Mask and Shampoo to make a paste. Apply and wash several times to strip the hair of chemicals.

Once you've detoxed your hair, the shampoos will lather more than before and you may find you'll need less shampoo and you'll need to wash less often! Purchase your healthy hair kit here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Label-Reading Tips For Product Safety–Tip #1 #Organic Certifications & #GMOs

file000975761322We’re still working on Tip #1 in our Label-Reading series! In our last post Label-Reading for Product Safety – Levels of Organic Certifications we spoke about the different levels of organic certifications and organic certifying agencies.

With the Golden Rule firmly in place, we’ll look at whether or not a USDA certification means a product is GMO-free.

Many assume that the USDA Organic certification means their product is non-GMO. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard many non-GMO advocates offer the tip that a USDA Organic certification is a way to avoid GMOs. Unfortunately, a USDA Organic certification does not guarantee that the product is, in fact free of genetically altered ingredients.

It’s important to understand how we, and by we, I mean the United States, determines organic certification. Here in the US, organic certification is process based.

To become a certified organic operation, the producer submits an organic system plan to a NOP accredited certifying agent for approval. The producer’s organic system plan includes a description of management practices and physical barriers to prevent contact or contamination of organic crops/ingredients with prohibited substances.  GMOs are prohibited as excluded methods.

To break it down a bit, a organic operation is prohibited from using GMOs as a part of the process/plan, but providing proof that ingredients are GMO free is not apart of that process. In essence, an organic operative’s sole responsibility is to follow the “organic production or handling process” correctly. As a matter of fact, if the certifying agency detects the presence of GMOs, it isn’t considered a violation of the rules, if the process was followed correctly…the manufacturing facility can keep their organic certification status.

NOP Policy states:

Organic producers that implement preventive measures to avoid
contact with GMOs will not have their certification threatened
from the inadvertent presence of the products of excluded
methods (GMOs). Crops grown on certified organic operation
may be sold, labeled and represented as organic, even with the
inadvertent presence of GMOs, provided that all organic
requirements under 7 CFR Part 205 have been followed.

Bit disappointing.

The document is quite an interesting and eye-opening read. I strongly encourage you to read it in its entirety. There are only 20 pages to this document. >>>>>National Organic Program GMOs PDF<<<<<<

Our best bet for a organic, GMO-free product would be be a USDA Organic certification AND a non GMO Project Verified certification for US-based facilities.

Miessence’s food-grade cosmetics bears the Australian Certified Organic logo and certification. The ACO’s standard requires testing for GMOs.

Some basic rules when certifying a processed product:

  • Obtain valid organic certificates for all certified ingredients
  • Non certified ingredients are generally permitted when certified ingredients are not available on the market.
  • Non certified ingredients cannot: be of GMO origin or manufactured using GMO technology, be fumigated or treated with compounds prohibited by organic standard, cannot exceed 10% of other contamination MRL as defined by FSANZ, cannot be irradiated.
  • Onus is [an] operator to obtain and supply ACO with proof non GMO, Irradiation and treatment statements for non organic ingredients.
  • The amount of non organic ingredient(s)  will affect the type of organic claim :
  • 100% certified organic content, label  can state “100% organic” + bud logo
  • 95%-100% certified organic content, label can state “certified organic” + bud logo
  • 70%-95% certified organic content, label can state “made with certified organic ingredients”,  cannot use bud logo but must indicate certification number (ie  ‘ACO  99999P’) (*exception for cosmetics)
  • <70 % certified organic content cannot make any certification claims, can only list ingredients as ‘organic’, cannot include certification number  or bud  logo –

Some of Miessence’s products have the USDA Organic certification, but all of the products have either ACO, food-grade or cosmetic certifications. A guarantee that our products are GMO-free. Our Probiotic Skin Brightener, by example, has both the ACO(food-grade) and USDA Organic certification.

Recently, I announced that I was no longer recommending the KeVita Probiotic Drinks that I promoted a few years ago, due to my discovery of their use of a bio-engineered probiotic strain, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086. KeVita is a USDA certified organic facility. Hereby stressing the vital need for GMO testing in addition to the US organic certification process.

Stay tuned! We’re moving on to Tip #2 in the next blog!

Author’s Note:

I’ve contacted KeVita in December of 2013, as of today, I’ve yet to receive a response to my concerns.



February Promotions: Receive 20% off when you place an order of $100.00 or more. You’ll automatically become a Lifestyle member giving you 20% off of every order, regardless the size of the order, for life! The promotion ends 2/27.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

#Label-Reading Tips for Product Safety - Tip #1 Levels of #Organic Certifications

In Label-Reading Tips for Product Safety - The Golden Rule & Tip #1, the first tip was a recognition that
claims are claims. When you allow this and the golden rule of label-reading to formulate your perception, you can safe-guard yourself against deceptive claims.

The only guarantee of a manufacturer's claims is proof. That proof can be found in an independent third-party certification.

Having said that, it's important to consider two things....

(1) Levels of organic certification

(2) Not all certifying agencies are created equal

Products can be certified organic to cosmetic standards, or food grade standards. The food grade standard is the highest level of organic certification a product can receive. It is the most strict and stringent organic standard available.

Organic cosmetic certification allows for some synthetic ingredients, usually green chemistry ingredients (non-toxic synthetics), however, it's important to know that some certifying organizations do allow chemical (toxic) synthetics ingredients, which brings us to the second consideration.

National Organic Program authorizes a list of agencies that certifies (oversees) businesses, products, producers (farms) etc. You'll find them listed on the label of a certified organic product that sports the USDA Organic logo that may look like this; certified by QAI (Quality Assurance International).

Although the NOP "authorizes" certain agencies to bestow organic certification to qualifying manufacturers, some agencies are more lenient than others in allowing synthetic chemicals in cosmetic standards.

The Organic Consumer's Association has a comparison chart of some of the agencies. The USDA NOP & ACO (Australia) provide the strictest standard, prohibiting toxic synthetics in both cosmetic and food standards.

However, three of the most permissive agencies - allowing for chemical preservatives in cosmetics, such as parabens, hydrogenated oils, phenoxyethanol to name a few, are:

EcoCert (Europe/France), NaTrue (Germany/Europe) & Oasis (US/International).

The Organic Consumer's Association grants EcoCert a 0 out of 5 stars for being the most "permissive and misleading standard out there". A word to the wise, when looking to purchase certified organic cosmetics, avoid products certified by EcoCert or at least look over the ingredient list very closely.

Cosmetics that are certified organic to food grade standards are rare, but available through my shop: Miessence's food grade cosmetics are one of the many reasons I became a representative!

Miessence's food grade products are certified by Australian Certified Organic, a NOP authorized agency. Most of Miessence products are food grade. Here are some of them....

  • Skin Essentials - All four skin types
  • Facial Serums
  • Hand Foaming Soap
  • Hand Cream
  • Body Cream
  • Mouthwash
  • Hair Rinse
  • Protect Hair Repair and more!
Miessence products that are certified to cosmetic standards contain no toxic synthetics. 

If you have a favorite product that you use, but suspect that it may not be safe, contact me for a free product review and comparison with Miessence.

Miessence Promotions:
Become a Miessence Representative for just $11 dollars! Join as a Rep with a Fast Start Pack and get a free Vitality Challenge Kit! Only valid in February.

The next in the Label-reading tips series....Organic Certifications and GMOs! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#Label-Reading Tips For Product Safety - The Golden Rule & Tip #1

Why Read Labels?
  • One-third of all products on the market contain one or more ingredients classi´Čüed as possible human carcinogens. 
  • Nearly 70% of all products on the market contain ingredients that can be contaminated with impurities linked to cancer and other health problems.
  • 89% of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution.
Many assume the FDA's role is to approve cosmetics for sale, in fact the FDA's role is legislating marketing label claims after it reaches the marketplace.
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, cosmetic products and ingredients do not require FDA approval before they go on the market. The exception is color additives (other than those used in most hair dyes). Companies and individuals who market cosmetics have the legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their products.” -
The Golden Rule

The golden rule of label reading must guide your perception and understanding when reading labels. There is no legal definition of the word "natural" or "organic". Therefore....

Tip#1 - Claims are claims.

Claims are merely claims unless they can provide third-party evidence or certifications to back them up.

Think of it like an interview. Would you hire someone who said they had a degree in physics or would hire the person who furnished a degree in physics at the interview? Consider the label reading process an interview prior to introducing it to your body and family. Your trust should be earned by (1) evidence (2) transparency. If you find neither while label-reading, find and reward a transparent, socially-responsible company with your hard earned dollars instead.

If you're looking for true organic products, you cannot rely on an organic claim. Authenticity comes from a certified organic certification.

What Does Certified Organic Mean?

An independent third-party guarantee of an “organic” claim that must comply with stringent international standards, showing and proving an organic audit trail from seed, growing, harvesting, storage, transporting and processing right through to the finished product.

Stay tuned for more label-reading tips!

Miessence is the world's first certified organic skin and body care range - Go on a factory tour and see how our organically certified food-grade products are manufactured >>>> Go On Tour

Learn more about our certified organic ingredients at