100% Pure Vegan Cosmetics in Annapolis, MD

20141115_141926    I stumbled upon this  100% Pure  shop in the Annapolis Mall, in Maryland.  They sell vegan cosmetics and lines for skin care, hair and nails, and makeup brushes, and also baby and children’s products.  This shop has only been open a month or two, but I was told they have plans to open 20 more stores around the country.  I bought the Vanilla Bean Nourishing Body Cream for $17 and I do like it a lot.  They’ll give you a product sample if you ask, so that’s something to take advantage of.  They have lots of products and I’ll be trying more.  Be warned that various items do contain honey, but many of their other products are indeed vegan.  Please note there is also a very nice Lush store in this same mall, and that some vegan lines like Too Faced can be found at the Sephora store.  And all products can be had by mail order online.  You can listen to my podcasts on vegan makeup  and  vegan personal products on this site, or on ITunes, Stitcher, and other podcatchers.

Tints of Nature Hair Colour – bad reaction to hair color

IMG_2148    Postscript dated 05/01/15.  I have stopped using Tints of Nature with foils, and I no longer use it at all, not even the semi-permanent colors, for the following reasons.  Am going to cut-and-paste some comments from a professional here now:  All their comments are in bold before the next poscript.  Am switching to organic henna, people.  Henna often contains pesticides so it’s imperitive that you use ORGANIC henna.  Do your research.  Supposedly, Mehandi and/or Ancient Sunrise is/are good, not sure.

I do not recommend that company, as they use PPD in their regular color and I prefer that my clients not be dead. They also promote false truths like:

“PPD does not accumulate in the body.”  This is not only false, there is no way to remove it once it has entered your system. That’s why it’s called a “cumulative” allergen. It accumulates in your system.

“Use a pharmaceutical grade peroxide.”  This makes absolutely no difference. It’s a statement made to make people have a sense of security about the product. It shouldn’t be necessary. 

“Lowest possible amounts of PPD.”  If this were true, how am I able to run a salon with absolutely NO PPD? 

This is not a trustworthy company.  I have a spanish medical journal that tested several large companies for presence of PPD in color that claimed to be free of the diamine.   Several of the colors showed that it was PRESENT.  

The semi-permanent color you used has AZO dyes in it. You are currently lucky enough to not be reacting to this. This is what clothes are dyed with, as it was originally a textile dye. It’s the same Diamine in Goldwell’s Elumen, and Clairol’s Jazzing.

Foiling is not a safe way to apply PPD, as the molecules that you are allergic to are microscopic. Every time your hair gets wet, you will rinse diamines, or dye. With a semi-permanent color, even if it’s AZO, you are doing the same thing. Does that make sense? Permanent dye cures, and once faded, is done releasing dye. The same with a semi-permanent dye. You may be setting your self up for an AZO reaction. It could be the next time, or in 100 times, or it could be in 1,000 times. There is no way to predict.

Remember, this company loves to promote the 60% organic side. What about the 40% chemical, or “synthetic” side? I enclosed the full ingredients for you. You can google each of them if you like. There are more sensitizers in there than just the AZO dyes, like triethaolamine, Peg-100, And the preservatives are formaldehyde based. I thought you would love that one…

Postscript dated December 16, 2014.  Regarding the post below, I did end up having another allergic reaction to the Permanent Tints of Nature hair color–this time a rash spreading across my face.  Went to dermatologist and was told I was very possibly allergic to a chemical commonly known as PPD, p-Phenylenediamine.  PLEASE BE AWARE that PPDs are cumulative, meaning they build up in your system until your body says “enough” and you suffer an allergic reaction, which can be severe.  If you’ve had a mild allergic reaction, such as an itching scalp, please be aware that in time, you could have a severe reaction, and some people are even hospitalized.  And then you can also suffer reactions from the steroids and creams they will put you on to treat your initial allergic reaction to the hair color.  This is what happened to me.  The steroids lowered my immune system to the point where I caught colds and was on multiple antibiotics for sinus infections, etc.  Urinary Tract infections can result from steroid use also.   And the Metronidazole cream (also known as Flagyl, Metrogel, Metro_____ and several other names) caused me to break out severely–it was unbelievable.  And I developed Rosacea from the steroids, which is very common.  Unfortunately, neither my doctor nor my dermatologist warned me of any of these side effects to the steroids.  I have come up with my own regimen and my face is back to normal, but it took months and a lot of research.

I found Tints of Nature’s ingredients statement online (scroll down to About PPD’s).  In a nutshell, this statement claims that TON permanent colors are still safer than many commercial brands:  The maximum amount of PPD permitted to be used in hair colours is currently set to a maximum level of 2% in hair colourant products. In keeping with our mission to create products that are as natural as possible, our Natural Black (1N) is the only colour that uses 2% PPD, and the average percentage of PPD across our colour range is only 0.42%  However, the statement also says that TON SEMI-Permanent Hair Colour Ingredients are free from PPD’s and PTD’s, etc, with a link to the full ingredients list for the SEMI permanent color.  PLEASE BE AWARE, THERE ARE BAD CHEMICALS IN THE Tints of Nature, and again, I had a very bad reaction after only using highlights.   The semi-permanent color will last for about 12 washes, which is tricky since I wash my hair every day, and this is where the nasty chemicals will leach into your skin.  Doing highlights is a great way to let some gray in, and still retain a bit of color, but I would do them with ORGANIC henna from now on.     When I was a kid, older women had gray hair, and it was normal.   And gray hair doesn’t mean we have to go around looking like we have a Brillo pad on our head either.  Check out my Pinterest board on beautiful gray hair worn with style!  Scroll  bottom to see latest photo of transitioning.

ORIGINAL POST of June 12, 2014:    I tried the permanent color by Tints of Nature Simply Healthier Hair Colour, and, after several colorings had a very bad reaction to it.  I did podcast episodes on vegan cosmetics and vegan personal products, but switching to cruelty-free and vegan hair color took me longer than it should have.  Despite several conversations with my hairdresser about getting vegan products in, no progress was made.  About a year ago, right after having my hair colored at the salon I’ve been going to for ten years, I got what I thought was hives on top of my head.  I tried to figure out if it was just stress or the hair color, and then went to the doctor, but she couldn’t see any visible hives (even though my head itched).  I then had an uncomfortable discussion with my hairdresser where I asked if she washed her brushes and combs in between clients.  Since then, I’ve had these invisible “hives” every now and then, but thought it was stress.  Then two months ago, immediately after a hair coloring at the salon, I got for-real hives on top of my head.  I tried taking Zyrtec, and spraying my head with Benedryl spray about 20 minutes before my evening shower, to no avail.   Went back to the doc and this time there were visible “hives” and she put me on a steroid pack of pills, like the kind you go on for poison ivy.  The technical diagnosis is Contact Dermatitis from exposure to allergens/hair color, and you can see it all over the internet.  The doc also told me if I ever used that hair color again, it would be a lot worse.  Allergic reactions like this can be cumulative–progressively worse each time.  I told my sister about this, and she said she’d gone to a salon and had the same reaction.  She even had these same little hives travel down to the area around her right eye, and that clinched it for me, because I also had little spots traveling down to my right eye.  Browsing online, I found lots of stories like mine, where the hair color they’d been using for many years now caused bad reactions.  And of course, with anything like this, the cause can be a mystery for a while.  I wondered if it was stress, or the unusually-heavy pollen this year, or the fact that my husband sprayed ant spray outside the house, or a combination of all three, etc.  It was a relief to finally solve the case of the “hives.”  On top of all this, I knew I should have tried harder to switch to a cruelty-free and vegan hair color long ago.  No innocent beings should suffer unspeakably-cruel and unnecessary animal testing so I can cover up some gray.

Despite having a 48-hour patch test with no reactions, I still reacted badly to the hair color once it was applied to my scalp.

Salon Negotiations:  If you want to have your self-purchased organic henna color applied at a salon, say, at the same time you have your haircut, you might need to negotiate with your salon.  I’m lucky that my hairdresser was willing to let me bring in my own vegan hair colors.  And she had to learn the product, and she stores the unused product in a cabinet until I see her again.  She suggested that she would take $2 off the price of my usual hair-color-and-cut appointment, and I agreed.  I guess most of the cost is in the labor, and she probably buys her regular hair colors inexpensively and wholesale.  I also factored in that Diane had not raised my salon fees in about five years.  There may be other factors to consider, and you must figure out what’s right for both you and your hairdresser.  I do feel that if your hairdresser is unwilling to work with you, you must then figure out a different path to take.  Also, many, many women color their own hair with organic henna successfully at home, or with the help of a friend.  Please be aware that non-organic henna contains pesticides and may cause reactions.

More photos below, but I want to thank my hairdresser of 12 years, Diane J. Trice, of Diane’s Designs,  305 N. Aurora Street, Easton, Maryland, 21601.  (410) 820-8516.

IMG_0203   Had hair cut short on December 30, 2014, to get rid of a lot of the old colors.


IMG_0071  In an effort to stay away from products tested on animals, I tried various vegan deodorants on the market, and they all came up short.  I was ok with the crystal deodorant I had been using, but then I saw online that it’s actually made of a type of aluminum.  I looked on Pinterest for homemade deodorants and noticed one common recipe coming up with rave reviews by different bloggers.  So, I had all the ingredients, and gave it a shot, and . . . it works like a charm.  I didn’t go as far as one person went, where she didn’t bathe for a few days and it still worked.  However, I did wear it when I went to walk dogs at the Humane Society one hot, sunny, still Thursday afternoon.  After the 5th dog, I was standing in the shade, perspiring away.  When I got home, I went to change my shirt and gave myself a sniff . . . . no odor at all.  It’s like a neutralizer, I guess.  Even my shirt still smelled good and clean.  I changed it anyway since it drives my own pup nuts to smell a bunch of other dogs on me, but I wouldn’t have had to otherwise.  So, it’s cheap, it’s healthy, it takes 5 minutes to make, and it reduces the chemical soup we all find ourselves in by the time we put on our pajamas.  It’s also a form of activism where we are not supporting the systematic torture of the innocent.  What’s not to like?


1/4 Cup organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil
1/4 Cup baking soda
1/4 Cup corn starch
10 drops of essential oil  (optional).  I used Aura Cacia Organic 100% pure essential oil of grapefruit peel.  To avoid any possible sensitive skin reactions, omit the essential oil.

In your smallest saucepan, heat the coconut oil on low, and don’t walk away.
Once the oil is melted, take it off the heat  (it will melt very quickly, in about a minute).
In a small mixing bowl, dry whisk the baking soda and corn starch until well combined.
Optional:  once the coconut oil has cooled a bit, add in 10 drops of scented oil and stir  with a wooden spoon.
Pour dry ingredients into the coconut oil and stir well.
Pour into a small, heavy glass jar and chill in the fridge if you like.
Once the coconut oil is set, place the jar in your bathroom, ready to use after a shower.
After a shower, rub the deodorant all around each underarm, in a wide circle.  I use somewhere between 1/4 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon per armpit, maybe closer to 1/4 teaspoon, I don’t know.

Notes:  This coconut oil melts at 76 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is good to know in case your house is kept at 80 degrees or above.  My house is kept around 76-78 degrees, and so I keep my jar in the medicine cabinet, which is slightly cooler than the bathroom itself.  It’s a great consistency when I go to use it, soft but not liquid, and it blends right into damp underarms right after a shower.  Dr. Bronner’s Unrefined Organic Virgin Coconut OIl is also Fair Trade, but there are a couple of other brands.   Instead of the essential oil, you could put in a couple of drops of Tea Tree oil, if you want extra anti-bacterial properties.  For safety reasons, I suggest a little 8 oz. canning jar.  I happen to be using a 4 oz. wide-mouth jar from Penzey’s.  It’s important to note, that if you go cold turkey off commercial antiperspirants, your armpits will possibly stream sweat for a few days, cleaning the pores out.  For me, this tapered off and stopped pretty quickly, and then I wondered why I hadn’t done this years ago!

Nubian Heritage Soap

I’ll start this post by saying not all Nubian Heritage soaps or other products are vegan, unfortunately, but these three are.  And they are very nice soaps, especially when the dry air of winter is upon us.  For my favorite, I’m torn between the Coconut and Papaya with Vanilla Beans, and the Carrot & Pomegranate with Calendula Extract & Cranberries (see photo below), but I also like the Raw Shea Butter with Soy Milk and Oils of Frankincense and Myrrh (perfect for Christmas).  All of these would make great stocking stuffers and are somewhat affordable at around $5 per each 5 oz. bar when bought singly.  I like that there is no plastic wrap on the soap bars, as it’s better for the environment.  I found these at Whole Foods, but they are also sold in stores like CVS.  I checked these soaps out on Skin Deep and their toxicity rating is 1/3 that of Ivory Soap or Dial Soap.

The ingredients, for example, in the Coconut and Papaya soap are:  coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, palm oil, coconut milk, papaya extract, Vitamin E, vegetable glycerin, essential oils and vanilla beans.  These soap boxes say “Ethically Traded Ingredients,  Sustainably Produced,  No Animal Testing” and they have the Cruelty Free bunny logo, and a tiny circle that says “Organic Ingredients.”  I emailed the company, which has a very minimal (too minimal) web site, with almost no information.  To their credit, I got several prompt replies, including a spreadsheet that was a bit confusing.  Here are their two different replies to my question asking which of their products are vegan:

Nubian Heritage wrote: “Hi Amanda, Many of our products contain silk, so we wouldn’t consider the line vegan. We can send you a list of ingredients, if you please email [email protected]. Thank you.”

Our products are vegan and contain no animal ingredients or by-products, with the exception of our Goat’s Milk and Chai collection, and Black Seed and Honey Collection.  Kind regards,   Carly Tineo| Retail Customer Service Team Leader|Inside Sales Representative | Sundial Creations, makers of SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage brands | 631-842-8800 M-F 9:30-5 ET| [email protected]| www.SheaMoisture.com|www.NubianHeritage.com

So, my conclusion is that these three extra-nice soaps are vegan, but I would look closely at any other Nubian Heritage labels.  Maybe it is their lotions or shampoos that have silk in them, which would be weird. One caveat is that I tried the Indian Hemp with Haitian Vetiver lotion and I had to throw it out, as neither Lars nor I could take the strong, odd smell of it.  And I like Vetiver (not everyone does).  Maybe this sounds like a strange review, but until we get clear labels on products, questioning what’s in things is part of the process.  Why are there animal products in Corn Flakes and many other popular cereals, for example?  I don’t know, but when I find something I like, I’ll post it here, and hopefully build up the Beauty and Personal Care category on this site in the New Year, including cosmetics.

Crazy Rumors Vegan Lip Balm

I first heard about Crazy Rumors vegan lip balm on one of my favorite podcasts; Midwest Vegan Radio.  I went to two health food stores but could not find them,  and every single lip balm they did have contained beeswax.  In the end, I found these at Whole Foods.  And I really like them a lot!  I apply lip balm over my lipstick all day long, and can say after a couple of months of using this product that it does not clump up.  It’s light and smooth and smells great too.  Great for boys and girls, men and women, these are also going in the Stocking Stuffer category on this site.  Fun flavor lines include Perk (coffee), Brew (tea), Fresh Squeezed (citrus),  A La Mode (ice cream), and Soda Pop.  They also have Hibiskiss feminine lip balms that are tinted, but I haven’t tried these yet.  The regular lip balms are $3.99 at Whole Foods in Annapolis, and $3.29 on the Vegan Essentials web site.  Ingredients include jojoba oil, extra virgin olive oil, shea butter, soy wax, stevia, natural and organic flavors, etc.

p.s.  I also bought Merry Hempsters brand Vegan Hemp Balm in Vanilla flavor, but it went rancid on me, yuck.

Vegan Nail Polish, and Nail Polish Remover

It’s time to start thinking about Stocking Stuffers!   I’ve tried three different vegan nail polishes and Zoya is my favorite so far.  I also like the No Miss brand.  The Zoya colors I’m showing here are Caitlin (the smoky medium purple) and Grace (the shell pink).  They are non-frost colors, which I prefer, and the company maintains that they are “vegan friendly.”  These colors are respectively chic and natural, but with 300 colors, they get as crazy as you wanna be.  Regarding nail polish remover, I don’t buy the Zoya nail polish remover because it does have formaldehyde in it.  I do buy the Almost Natural Polish Remover by No Miss, the ingredients of which are listed as:  Fruit acid solvent (Methyl-Pentan-2 One, multi-fruit acids), amber acid (derived from plant lichens), deionized water, vitamin A, natural vanilla fragrance.

p.s.  I did write an email to the Zoya company last September and received this prompt reply:  Good afternoon,  Yes! In addition to being Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, and Camphor free the nail polish is also vegan friendly! Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns that I can help with!  Thank you,  Danielle LaGrange, Elite Salon and Spa Coordinator,  Art of Beauty, Inc. 

Desert Essence Organics Lotions and Creams

Here’s the first post for this new category of Vegan Beauty and Personal Care.  I heard about these vegan lotions on a wonderful podcast I stumbled upon in itunes.  It’s called Midwest Vegan Radio, and I think they have 15 episodes so far.  They were really talking about the Perfect Pistachio Foot Repair Cream but then when i went to Whole Foods, i also saw a variety of Desert Essence Organics hand and body lotion flavors.  I ended up choosing Sweet Almond flavor and I love it.  it smells better than Jergens and doesn’t have all the toxic stuff in it.  I mean, the first three ingredients are aloe juice, sweet almond extract and shea butter.  Do I want to see radish root, jojoba, vitamin E and honeysuckle in my hand and body lotion?  You bet I do!  The 8 oz. tube of Hand and Body Lotion was $8.99, but it was also $8.99 for the 3.5 oz. tube of Foot Cream, so beware the price difference.  This product line is 100% vegan, and wheat-and-gluten free.  And importantly, no petroleum products!  Their manufacturing supports wind power.  Desert Essence Organics has all kinds of other products (such as sun screen, face cream, lip balm, etc.) and I’ll be trying more of them.   There are no parabens, no sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, no phthalates, no artificial fragrances or colors, no silicones, etc.  The skin is the largest organ in our body and it absorbs whatever we put onto it, into our bloodstream.  That’s why medicine and nicotine patches are so effective.  p.s.  The pistachio foot cream really does smell delicious too.