What’s the first Earth Day you remember? I’ll tell you mine.

It was 1990; I was in Grade 9. There was a big event at a park in downtown Albany, NY, and I was very excited to go. And I had also just gotten my period for the first time. Obviously, I was mortified and I didn’t want to leave the house. But I had read 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. When I was fourteen, see, the Earth was barreling toward Hell in a hand basket. It was. And I was going to fight it.*

So I mustered my courage and left the house and went to the Earth Day event downtown. It was a gloriously sunny, warm day. And I wore a big red sweatshirt because OMG I had my period and people might notice. I shvitzed and shvitzed as I walked around looking at all the tables and buying hemp necklaces and collecting pamphlets and trying very hard to barely move my legs at all.

Yes, Earth Day has always been special to me.

book cover imageIn honour of today’s Earth Day, I’m going to pick up a copy of There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, by Gillian Deacon. It’s about how to avoid toxins in body-care products, which is something I’m even more interested in learning about now that there’s a four-month-old who, in addition to puking on me daily, seems intent on  sucking on my hands constantly and occasionally on my neck. So rather than using no moisturizer on my cracking cuticles, at least overnight, I’d like to learn more about what might not kill us both. Also, I’d like both for my lips not to be chapped and to be able to kiss that baby all over pretty much all the time.

As it happens, Penguin Canada, publisher of the book, invited me to participate in the blog tour for it, and I’m very happy to offer up a wee DIY excerpt, along with a chance to win a copy of the book with a rad lip-gloss prize.

Make It Yourself: Moisturizing Mask
Excerpted from There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon (Penguin Canada). Copyright © Backbone Inc. FSO Gillian Deacon, 2011

(Greek yogourt is also very moisturizing and can be used as a base for this mask.)
1/2 medium to large avocado
1 to 2 tbsp honey (5 to 15 mL)

Puree ingredients together in a blender or whip by hand.

For dry, sensitive skin, add one tablespoon of oatmeal and one tablespoon of water.

Mix together into a smooth paste and apply to the face and neck area, leaving on for about ten minutes.

eco kiss kit image

Hm. Seems almost too easy.

Now for the giveaway! Note that it’s open only to residents of Canada. One lucky Canadian resident will win a prize pack of There’s Lead In Your Lipstick and an Eco Kiss kit from Saffron Rouge (total retail value about CDN $48.95).

You have three chances to enter! (Note: you must leave a separate comment for each chance.)

  1. Leave a comment here about anything related to DIY skincare or toxins in body-care products or your first Earth Day memory.
  2. Tweet the link to this contest and leave a (separate!) comment saying you did so.
  3. Share the link to this contest on Facebook and leave a (separate!) comment saying you did so.

The contest ends at noon (Pacific time) on Friday, 29th April, after which I’ll use a random-number generator to pick the winner.

Good luck!

Here’s the whole blog-tour itinerary:

April 11 Rayment’s Readings, Rants and Ramblings
April 12 My Ever Expanding Library
April 13 Jacob’s Beloved
April 14 Bella’s Bookshelves
April 15 Cindy’s Love of Books
April 18 Rowangarth Farm
April 19 Lost for Words
April 20 Curled Up With a Good Book and a Cup of Tea
April 21 A Bookworm’s World
April 22 You’re right here!
April 25 A Mom After God’ Own Heart
April 26 The Literary Word
April 27 Just a Lil Lost
April 28 In the Next Room

* Twenty-one years later I can see no evidence the Earth has escaped the hand basket; it’s just a much longer trip than I’d thought it would be when I was a teenager.

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I so remember the red sweatshirt.

Also, having done extensive “research” (i.e. believing much of what I read online) with regard to toxins in kids’ products (and my own), I will share this bit of insight: Pure petroleum jelly is awesome. M’s pediatrician is very conscious of toxins in kids’ products and he recommended petroleum jelly in lieu of moisturizer when M’s thumb was cracked and raw from all the sucking. I wanted something that would heal/moisturize his thumb, yet that I didn’t have to worry about going in his mouth. It’s a neutral, so if the baby ingests a little, no harm. If you buy a pure PJ with no additives, then you know exactly what you’re getting.

As a result, I use it on his hands/body when dry, on my own and on my lips instead of lip balm. I find it works just as well (if not better) than expensive and fragrance- and additive-filled products. Yes, there’s the “ick” factor, but you can get past that.

On another note, big fan of the California Baby products for shampoos, etc.

Sue Sinclair

We are currently investigating several natural and organic lotions and potions for Raspberry Kids. We’ve tried and tested several and I’ve read a significant amount of labels, met with local experts on the topic and continue to read up on the ins and outs of body care products. Some of it is absolutely jaw dropping!

Thanks for the opportunity to comment!

Sue Sinclair

We’ve got a few that we are really excited about. Some local and some from further abroad. In fact I just bathed the kids with one brand and have been really pleased with it. We’ve never carried “lotions & potions” before but we feel very strongly about using organic skin care products, shampoos etc. and have always used these with our kids. I read the Virtuous Consumer prior to launching Raspberry Kids and was absolutely mortified.
Stay tuned!


I try to use natural products whenever possible (especially lotions- your skin is like a sponge!) I am going to be an aunt for the first time, so I have encouraged my sister’s baby shower guests to choose natural baby products.


This is one of the reasons Peter and I like to make our own soap – partly because it’s fun to make, but also so we can relax, knowing exactly what went into it. My favorite discovery about the commercial soap industry was that they often strip out the glycerin (natural product of soap-making, and the stuff that moisturizes) from the soap to sell to you as moisturizer because they make more $$ that way. Also note that most commercial soaps aren’t labeled as “soap” because they are actually detergents, they’ll be labeled “Beauty bars” or “cleansing bar” etc.

Scary that our toiletries aisle has become such a minefield eh?



I’ve had to quit using most conventional body care products because the fragrances in them give me migraines. The more I hear about what else is in them the more I’m glad that happened.

Heather T

I used to buy every kind of moisturizer out there, & never really had good results. Then I read articles about the products that were in those moisturizers and was horrified. I now use simple grapeseed oil and/or coconut oil and have amazing skin…and a healthier outlook!
heather at timm dot ca

Heather T

Here is my tweet about your contest:


Honestly I think Burt’s Bees did it for me. Once I started thinking about what was in the other lipglosses (of which I use abundantly!), the same attitude starting sinking into other parts of my life. Everything from the carbon imprint of an imported banana (very low if brought on a boat!) to the candy I eat, to my my lipgloss of course. I think the first step is awareness!


I have tweeted the link! You can find it from @serosity ( Lead in my lipbalm, carbon footprints in my fridge. Enter to learn more! http://bit.ly/hygQUJ )


I’ve recently started worrying more about what’s in products now that my kiddies want lip balm and other products. And they’re quite young. Haven’t done my research at all, but I’d be happy to educate myself with this book.


Reminds me of a book we had in my youth which inspired my sister and I to whip up all kinds of potions and masks using honey, yogurt, mud, oatmeal, cucumbers and whatever else we could find in the yard!

There’s little on the house or body that baking soda, lemon juice (or vinegar!), and olive oil can’t fix! And drinking enough water. That’s really the key for the chapped lips and dry skin.

Of course, I still use commercial not-especially-organic sunscreen, lipstick, and mascara when I want too. I’m not vigorously doctrinaire, but honestly feel that these eco-friendly solutions are better for my family (and cheaper!) than other options.

And if you’ve never done a baking soda-vinegar drain-fizzy or hair cleanse, you are in for a treat!

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