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Green Product Reviews

Nature's Gate Shampoos & Conditioners

Review Summary
Great shampoo that smells good, too!
The organic varieties are certified organic with ingredients grown from a family-run farm
Rather expensive, but most organic body products are

We used to use Nature's Gate shampoos and conditioners growing up.  We'd go to the tiny neighborhood natural grocery store in my New Jersey hometown to get it, and on the way out we'd get a small mint-chocolate square that came with a trading card of an endangered animal.  I think they were called Environmints, and I'm not sure they exist anymore.  I kind of miss the days of the small natural grocery stores in the days before Whole Foods...but, that's a tangent and I digress.

My favorite shampoo was always the Herbal one.   It's not organic and it does contain some less-than-green ingredients, but it's certainly better than most of the typical shampoos and conditioners.  I love the smell of the Herbal shampoo, especially on a cold day.   The non-organic products are cruelty-free and vegan.  

Now, there are a variety of organic shampoos, conditioners, and lotions also available from Nature's Gate.  Their certified organic and locally grown ingredients come from a family owned organic farm in California on land dedicated to growing Nature’s Gate botanical essences.  The farm's water source comes from the winter rains and snow of the Sierra Nevadas.... read more

Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Baby Diapers and Wipes

Review Summary
As effective and absorbent as traditional disposable diapers and the wipes do the trick!
More eco-friendly than most disposable diapers, but still will not decompose
A little more expensive than non-green options

Seventh Generation Diapers

We put the Seventh Generation Diapers through three tests:... read more

  1. The Pee Test.   To pass this, it just needs to hold a small amount of pee without leaking.  If a diaper can't pass the basic pee test, it's a useless diaper.  The verdict?  Passed.  
  2. The Poop Test.  Can this diaper contain a mass quantity of baby poop?  (In this case, some of the messiest baby poop known to man: blueberry poop.)  Some diapers regularly cause leaks down the leg and up the back.  How did Seventh Generation do?  Passed.  And the wipes did their job as well.  
  3. The Overnight Test.  We cloth diaper most of the time, but we do use disposables overnight because all of our cloth diapers result in a pee-soaked baby in the middle of the night, sadly.  How did Seventh Generation do with this test?  Passed.  

SPAritual Vegan Nail Polish

Review Summary
Nice color and it feels, looks, essentially acts like regular nail-polish, but it goes on a little thick...
It's vegan! Also it's DBP, formaldehyde, and toluene free!
It's pricier than your conventional Wetn'Wild but on par with other high end nail polish companies like OPI.

I really like this nail polish. The color, The Giving Tree, is amazing -- and they have tons, both bright reds and pinks as well as earthier tones. It's been on for a day now and I have not gotten any chips. I put on two coats like the directions suggest and it looks great and even better, my nails feel stronger!

... read more

Annie's Simply Organic Macaroni & Cheese

Review Summary
A cheap meal!

Sometimes I crave the junk food of my childhood, even if it's kind of gross.  I loved Kraft Mac and Cheese as a kid and most organic varieties of boxed mac and cheese just didn't do it for me.  I tried all of the Annie's varieties and while they were good, they didn't satisfy my craving of the old-fashioned boxed mac and cheese...until I found this one.  It takes me back to my childhood, without all of the gross ingredients associated with typical boxed macaroni and cheese. The ingredient list is refreshingly short.   I also gave some to my nine month old, and he loved them as well.  ... read more

Simple Green Naturals Carpet Care

Review Summary
Works well, scent-free
eco-friendly packaging and ingredients
Reasonably priced

What's a more perfect way to test out a green carpet cleaner than on cat vomit?  After my cat threw up on the carpet, I immediately grabbed the Simple Green Naturals Carpet Care bottle.  I hadn't used it before, so I thought this would be a good way to put it to the test.

Well, it worked like a charm.  Cleaned it up, left no stain, and that was that!  AND, it has no scent, which made my husband very happy.   No complaints!

Simple Green Natural Carpet Care is water based and doesn't contain chlorine. It contains some plant-based ingredients, including one derived from palm seed kernels and another derived from chicory root.  They have a full ingredient list on the label, which I think is very important because even many green products don't have that, which always makes me question its greenness!  It also has not been tested on animals.  ... read more

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Surface Scrub - Geranium

Review Summary
Effective, effective, effective!
Made with oxygen bleach, no chlorine, no phosphates!
A few more bucks than its non-green counterparts

At the risk of sounding totally gross and revealing the fact that I am horrible at keeping house, we had some olive oil build-up on the counter next to the stove.  We had a leaky olive oil container, and I'd clean it sort of half-heartedly, and before I knew it, we had a sticky, olive oily mess.  When I got the Mrs. Meyer's surface scrub, I figured that the olive oil gunk would put the scrub to the test.

The verdict?  My counter is olive oil free.  This is far more effective than using the baking soda/vinegar mixture that I fall back on, yet it isn't as toxic or stinky as Comet or Ajax.  ... read more

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Hand Soap - Geranium

Review Summary
Effective hand soap with a pleasant scent!
Biodegradable, cruelty-free, and the scents come from essential oils
Comparable to other similar soaps

Love to wash my hands with this stuff!  

As soon as I smelled this, I put the other liquid soap we had in the downstairs bathroom in the cabinet.  It has a light, floral scent, and it's not at all over-powering or artificial smelling.  My husband, on the other hand, thinks it has an "old lady" smell to it.  Bummer for him, because I buy the soap in this house!  Call me an old lady, but I think it smells quite pleasant.... read more

green start™ children's books: "Little Helpers"

Review Summary
Adorable, durable kids books with cute illustrations
Made of 98% recycled materials, a "green" message, environmentally themed activities at the end
A little more expensive than similarly sized books, but worth it

When I saw these books at the toy store, I couldn't resist buying one.  First off, they're made of 98% recycled materials.  They're also more durable than most kids books.  Not as durable as a traditional board book, but far more durable than a regular paper book.  I can actually read this to my 9 month old without worrying that within the blink of an eye he'll destroy the pages.

... read more

Method Cucumber All-Purpose Spray Cleaner

Review Summary
Moderately effective, but the scent is overpowering and artificial smelling
Not as green as they make themselves seem
More expensive than similar products (i.e., Seventh Generation)

Method products have sleek packaging and branding and they're available almost everywhere these days, touting themselves as an eco-friendly alternative to cleaning products.  They're extremely popular, too.  Unfortunately, don't count me among the people who love Method.  After trying their cucumber all-purpose spray, I was not impressed.

I couldn't stand the smell.  It was overpowering and awfully artificial smelling for a "natural" product.  It was effective enough, but I just couldn't get past the smell.  

While it is biodegradable and nontoxic, when putting the brand into the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database, the results were less than impressive.  See the results here.   (This website is an excellent resource, by the way)... read more

Global Balance Lemongrass/Lavender/Ylang Ylang Moisturizing Liquid Soap

Review Summary
Soap smells so good that I want to eat it!
Hasn't been tested on animals, and the ingredients are biodegradable
Less expensive than many of the other soaps sold at Whole Foods

I love Global Balance soap and the lemongrass/lavender is my favorite.  I bought it at Whole Foods and it is actually made

 in my city, Newton, Massachusetts.   I love that I'm supporting a local company making natural alternatives to traditional products.  But above all, this stuff smells AMAZING!  I currently use it as hand soap in the bathroom, but I think I might start using it as body soap in the shower.  ... read more