Author Archives: Cheryl David

About Cheryl David

Cheryl David is the creator of The Holistic Chick blog. Her interests in Real Food, Handmade Cosmetics, Gardening, Health, Cooking and Holistic Living. When she isn't working full time at the nations largest automobile association, she's writing to educate others about the simple steps we can take to live healthier from a whole body aspect.

Fair Trade

What Is Fair Trade Certified?

Organic Natural Green Living





What is Fair Trade Certified?

Just the other day I was in my local organic grocery store, taking up space in the coffee/tea aisle, trying to figure out which coffee I was going to purchase.  I had read October was Fair Trade Month, so instead of grabbing my usual ground, I decided to read some labels. I saw the Fair Trade USA label several times.

Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA  (image by Wikipedia)

First of all, an entire section of tea was distracting me.  Pumpkin Spice tea?  Apple Cider tea?   No, coffee.  I needed to focus on the coffee.  There was not as much coffee as there was tea, but the tea section was definitely more shiny and sparkly.  All those boxes and canisters with pretty pictures of flowers and herbs with stunning colors…the bags of coffee weren’t as lavishly decorated, but many of the brands I was staring at had Fair Trade labels on them.  Initially I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention, I am more than aware of green-washing and to be honest, third-party certification doesn’t sell me, any more than products calling themselves “natural” when a quick glance at the ingredient list says otherwise.  Or using that pretty, soft sage-green color to lead us to believe that product is natural and healthy.

What Is Fair Trade Certified

What Is Fair Trade Certified

“The Fair Trade Certified label helps you make choices, with the confidence that your product is socially and environmentally sustainable. While best known for coffee, Fair Trade Certified has grown to encompass many products, from tea to chocolate to body care to wine. Choose Fair Trade products to vote with your dollars and make Every Purchase Matter.”

Click through for a full list of Fair Trade Certified Products.

I digress.  This isn’t about design, this is about the choice I was about to make regarding my coffee:  did I want to take home a pound of coffee that was tended to and harvested by workers who were no better than slaves, who worked insane hours for little money in return, who didn’t have the resources for medical care and education, on a land that was heavily fertilized by toxins and clear cut of trees to make room for some coffee plants?  Who suffered day in and day out so I could have a cup of coffee?

See, these things matter to me.  I don’t want the pleasure I get from a delicious cup of coffee hampered by the fact the bean came from a farm which took the place of a forest.  The thought of someone suffering hardships so I can have a cup of coffee doesn’t sit well.  It is not an idea that is difficult to imagine, one only has to look at our own history before the Civil War  to realize what the fair trade marketing concept is trying to accomplish.  In the USA, slavery was made illegal with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment.  Other countries are not so lucky, there are still workers out there, harvesting ingredients for items we use every day and not getting paid for their work, they live in horrible conditions, they are exposed to toxins and pesticides, the list goes on.  We cannot lose our humanity in the food we consume.

Visit Fair Trade USA for updates and events, as well as their list of Fair Trade Licensed Partners and check out and share this video that does a nice job of explaining the benefits of Fair Trade Certified products.



The Fair Trade Coffee I found?  Caffe Umbria’s Terra Sana Blend.





A Natural Winter Dry Skin Solution: Yamerra 100% Shea Butters

A Winter Dry Skin Solution

Winter dry skin can best be protected with natural products, which can actually heal your skin, instead of offering temporary relief.  Ingredients found on most over-the-counter moisturizers, such as alcohols, only give a temporary relief of dry skin.  Your skin feels softer but for a moment, but has it healed?  Did you wonder why most over-the-counter moisturizers came in large pump bottles?  Because reapplying is what keeps us purchasing the product over and over again.  If our dry skin was healed, would we continually shop to find that one moisturizer that will solve the problem?  Before I turned to natural products, my winters were spent collecting bottles upon bottles of lotions and creams, each with their own claims of healing dry skin. There was a natural solution for my winter dry skin out there, I simply had to find it.

A Trio of Yamerra Hair and Body Butters, from L to R:  Ladies Night Lavender, Sultry Mango, Be Bodacious Tangeringe Grapefruit

SAVE YOUR WINTER DRY SKIN:  A Trio of Yamerra Hair and Body Butters, from L to R: Ladies Night Lavender, Sultry Mango, Be Bodacious Tangerine Grapefruit

Yamerra 100% All Natural Hair and Body Butter as a Winter Dry Skin Solution

Natural products for winter dry skin can actually heal your skin.  For example, Yamerra 100% All Natural Hair and Body Butter works amazing on dry skin as well as hair.  The ingredients are simple:  the Yamerra Ladies Night Lavender contains 100% Organic Shea butter, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, essential oils of lavender, patchouli and vanilla,Vitamin E.  I use it on my hands and feet (before putting on socks) before bed and not only do I wake up to soft skin, but the smell is dreamy and relaxing.  The Sultry Mango, with its gorgeous orange color, contains 100% Organic Shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, mango butter, cocoa butter, essences of mango, orange and pineapple, a hint of patchouli, bergamot, vitamin E.  This too can be used in hair, and it gives your skin a natural glow from that amazing orange color.  The most refreshing is the Be Bodacious Tangerine Grapefruit.  I put it on my horrible dry legs after I shower and I am moisturized all day, until I wash it off.  The ingredients are luscious:  100% Organic Shea butter, sweet almond oil, nettle herb, essential oils of tangerine, grapefruit, magnolia, patchouli and vitamin E.

Bottom Line:  Read Your Ingredients

There is no reason to have to suffer from winter dry skin, for fall into the trap of purchasing inferior products that only give temporary relief.  Read and know your ingredients.  Products containing urea and/or alcohol are not going to soothe and heal your dry skin.  Use balms, butter, lotions and creams with minimal ingredients to help your winter dry skin.

Safe Cosmetics

Organic Natural Green Living


Ensure your using Safe Cosmetics starting with Powder, Lipstick & Lotion

When I think about what I’m using on my face, and whether the products have safe ingredients, I immediately think of the make-up bag I carry with me for touch-ups during the day. Powder, lipstick, lotion, and essential oil for a quick pick me up, and so on.

My make-up bag is full of safe cosmetics I simply cannot live without!

In my life, my on-the-go safe cosmetics are more than what I have at home.  Since I often will walk out of the house with nothing but a moisturizer on my face, the rest comes later.  Based on this, I am going to start our detox process with those necessities because it is a small place to start, and we should start somewhere.

First: Powder, the base for safe cosmetics

When shopping for Powder look for:   Talc.

If a mineral foundation has talc in it, its almost guaranteed to be an irritant, especially for acne prone skin as talc and cornstarch clogs pores. When I first used a mineral foundation I broke out in red, oozy welts and my face never felt clean.  That’s when I looked at the ingredients of the product, the first was talc.

Another important feature to look for is if the product has micronized minerals, which means the minerals are ground really super fine.

These can get into your eyes, your lungs and can fill up your pores.  I have heard many stories of friends coughing while putting on their makeup!

Also, be mindful of  ease of use.

Personally, I do not walk out of the house without it because my oily nose will break through whatever is on my face eventually.  Mineral powders are all the rage, yet can be messy and I do not even want to think of the carnage if a lid comes off in my purse.  There is a new generation of lids out there, which click shut, which will alleviate said carnage, but I am not one to carry my foundation around where ever I go.  Once I put it on in the morning, that container and the kabuki brush stays at home.  That is just way too much to carry, and some of those jars can be bulky.  When I started using vegan mineral powder foundation I was still using a brand name pressed powder for touch-ups, which was also considered a “mineral” powder, yet had talc listed as its first ingredient.  I hated using it but I needed something.  Then I found a Pressed Powder, in the same colors as the foundations!  Even better, there are refills for the compact so you are only buying the compact once.  That solved the pressed powder problem.

Many mineral powders come loose, which means you have to carry the container and a kabuki brush.   A quick Google search will find you purse sized, or even retractable kabuki brushes.  Shake out well after use.  I personally use a non retractable brush, when I am through touching up I shake it out good and put it in a small cloth pouch.  That way I don’t have to worry about contamination.  When it comes to your foundation to carry in your purse, I recommend one of two things:  order a smaller jar to keep in your purse only, or order a small empty jar and tap in the powder from your jar you keep at home. (Those new locking  jars are great for purses).  A small makeup bag to keep your foundation and your brush (and maybe a mirror) can keep your tools together and make touch ups quick, easy and non messy.

If you think about it, I apply my foundation once a day, but I touch up several times, which means the products I am putting on my face I am using over and over, so the less chemicals the better.


Second: lipstick

When shopping for Lipstick look for:  absence of carmine, which is ground up beetles, used mostly in red lipstick colors.

I have found plenty of organic balms and lip gloss but I was not having any luck with organic lipstick.  I have used plenty of brands, some that were spendy!  I started out with a tinted lip balm that worked even better than my standard drug store lipstick: great color, long lasting, not greasy and full of skin loving things and the prices were fabulous.  I carry two lip balms, a lip-gloss and a lipstick in my purse and if I could hug my lip products, I would. Etsy[dot]com is a great place to start, simply put organic lip balm, organic lipstick or whatever lip product you are looking for in the search and you’ll have a wealth of items on your computer screen.  Some shops have samples you can order for around one dollar!  If you do not have an Etsy account, I strongly suggest signing up for one.

Also, look for lip products that have as much natural goodness in them as possible.  Women consume somewhere around 4-5 pounds of lipstick in their lifetime, its been said, so if we have a tendency to eat or lick off our lipstick, then reapply countless times during the day, the more close to nature the product is the better.  Thankfully, organic lip products are very easy to find.   What sounds better, a lip product with beeswax, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, hemp oil, and maybe an essential oil or two, or a lip product with lead, alcohol and other ingredients you cannot pronounce?  There are organic lip products out there with very few ingredients.  One of my favorite lipbalms (has no color) contains fruit and nut oils, beeswax, essential oils, olive oils, flavorings or essential oils.


Third: lotion

When shopping for Lotion look for:  the smaller the brand the purer the products, I have discovered.

I cannot stand  dry hands and soap in the ladies bathroom is super drying.  Also, I work in an office environment with a no fragrance rule, a rule I agree with given the toxic chemicals lurking in commonly in fragrances.  Two months ago a co-worker who was sitting a good 50 feet away from me put on some foul smelling vanilla lotion.  It was not a “real” vanilla smell, it was sickly sweet, made my eyes water and I got a horrible headache.  Another co-worker became ill from the smell and had to go home for the rest of the day.  The acceptable lotion product at work is unscented and available at any drugstore, but is not what I want to use on my hands as it contains benzyl alcohol, dimethicone and other nasties.  Also, I cannot tell you how many tubes leaked in my co-workers purses.  My solution was a solid, all natural, organic lotion bar with natural scents, like lavender or lemon.  So rich and thick, I could use them sparingly without fuming up the office and making my co-worker sick.  Interestingly enough, one day my hands were itching, and without thinking about it, I grabbed my lavender lotion bar and put it on my hands, not realizing the entire section I worked in smelled like lavender.  I apologized for using it, but all I got were compliments as to how the “air seemed to get fresh all of a sudden”.  My co-worker with the sensitivity was not bothered by the lavender at all, because she said it was not perfumy, it was actually refreshing!  Even better, no toxic chemicals.

Some of the best lotions I have found come from small home based businesses and are made by hand.  I have one homemade lotion that only has a small handful of ingredients in it, all of which I can pronounce!  I have a handmade lotion bar that contains Avocado and Apricot Oil, Aloe  Butter, Mango Butter, Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Beeswax, Pure Lavender Essential Oil and that is all.  Its crafted in small batches and is lovely.  Hop onto your internet search engine and pop in “Handmade Lotion in (add your state)” and see what lovely cottage based industries pop up.



Safe Cosmetics

Solid Leak Free Lotion!


These three things are the foundations of my safe make-up bag that I take with me to work, and these items were the beginning of my change to non-toxic products.  I finally got used to reading labels on food products, to check for sodium levels and for artificial sugars, I had no idea I would be pouring over ingredients in my cosmetics, but what I learned has changed the way I see myself and how I choose to take care of myself.

The change is not stressful; in fact, the transition from toxic to safe cosmetics is not difficult at all.  I find it is interesting and fun because of all the natural ingredients that can benefit our health, not damage it.  I never thought lipstick could be so cancerous, or that lotion could damage cells.  Using organic, natural ingredients will make a difference in how you feel about your body, and how your body feels.  We are bombarded with pretty ads and fancy marketing regarding products that are supposed to make us look and feel younger, yet the chemical composition of said products are taking our health away from us.  We need to take our health and well being back, and it is easy!

Tune in next time when I help you make over one product that leads to using your safe cosmetics, and gives instant gratification:  soap.

Cheryl David is a writer who is detoxing her entire life, not just make-up,  one flaxseed at a time.  Her mission is to show everyone the benefits of being more aware of what we put in and on our bodies. Follow the journey at The Holistic Chick Blog or check her out on Facebook.

What steps are you taking to ensure you’re using Safe Cosmetics?