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Link Love Friday

My tree is finally up (and decorated), there’s a wreath on my front door, and I’m planning my menu for Christmas dinner—which is definitely going to include these gorgeous, buttery roasted chestnuts—but I have to admit that I’m seriously behind in my gift shopping.

If you are, too, our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide might help.

In the meantime, I’ve rounded up some nuggets of natural beauty goodness from around the web to share with you. Here’s what I’ve been reading + enjoying this week.

Happy almost weekend, everyone! —Aleigh

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Oh Happy Day: J&J works to revise its formulas

Last November I wrote this post about Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears and how sad some of its ingredients make me.

The update: the company recently told the Associated Press that it’s still on track to reformulate its baby products with safer ingredients by the end of next year. Adult products are on track to be reformulated by the end of 2015. (Here’s a link to the full story via the New York Times.)

This is a really big deal, you guys. It’s not perfect: the company also revealed that although it will phase out 1,4 dioxane, quaternium-15, triclosan, pthalates, and parabens as well as fragrance ingredients, it will keep using chemicals that release formaldehyde “when no safe alternative will work.”

There’s definitely still some work to be done. But the bottom line is that even though the FDA doesn’t heavily regulate cosmetics, we as citizens helped create an important change. And I’m so, so, SO thrilled by the hard work of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group. Well done.

I’m doing my happy dance today. How are you celebrating this news? —Aleigh

(Image via Kables

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6 ingredients to avoid during pregnancy

Now that we’ve all had a squeal-fest about Beyonce and her adorable pregnancy, I thought it would be a good time to share a few thoughts on preggo products. (And also one of the cutest maternity videos of all time. You’re welcome.)

Let’s start with the basics. Your OB will probably tell you to stay away from tuna fish, unpasteurized cheese, lunchmeat, sushi, caffeine, alcohol…the list goes on. But he or she probably won’t encourage you to stop washing your hair or putting on lotion just because you’ve got a bun in the oven–and you aren’t going to hear that from me, either.

There are more than enough things to worry about when you’re preggo, but one thing you can easily do for peace of mind is re-evaluate your cosmetics. After all, anything your body absorbs could potentially be absorbed by your little one, too.

Here are the top six ingredients to stay away from:

  • Mercury. It’s been discovered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in quite a few cosmetics…if you can’t eat tuna or raw fish out of concerns about exposure to mercury, you definitely don’t want to be absorbing them through your cosmetics. Sometimes it’s listed as the preservative thimerosal.
  • Lead. In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 popular brands of lipstick and found lead in 61 percent of them. The FDA has verified these findings but hasn’t taken action. Here’s a quote from the story: “Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, because lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development,” said Dr. Sean Palfrey, a professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University and the medical director of Boston’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

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