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Follow our journey as we build Puristics, a new brand of anti-aging skin care without harsh chemicals. For us, the past 3 years have been filled with "aha" moments as we educate consumers about label literacy - knowing the ingredients in your beauty products, since harsh chemicals can end up on your skin. We welcome you to learn from our experiences both as businesswomen and busy moms, and please share your own stories, too!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Phew!  It’s the day AFTER Mother’s Day.  I made it another year - - but this year, I’m on top of the world.  For me, Mother’s Day can be the most complicated day of the entire year.  It certainly shouldn’t be because I’m truly blessed with four amazing children.  They’re generally happy, healthy, well-behaved and good students. We live a comfortable lifestyle and never worry about having enough food or clothing.  

Still, telling someone that you love them and trying to demonstrate that love is very tricky business.  I’m sure my kids think that their love for me is understood and that they shouldn’t have to do anything else.  By and large this is true.  And yet, I have always cherished the flower pots decorated with tiny handprints and the poems written by an unsteady hand with a chunky crayon.  Now that my children are older, I wondered if my sleepyhead 18 year old would remember what day it is when he stumbles down the stairs dressed for church or if my younger son would let the Family Guy humor have a rest for the day.  Would the girls snipe at each other over borrowed clothing?  What I learned this year is that all of this and more would happen, and I’d still be able to experience love and gratitude throughout the day.  
Mother’s Day 2011 was a wonderful day for me.  I didn’t get a single homemade card or gift (though I still love those).  There was no burnt toast in bed, no “world’s best mom” mugs and no promises to behave better. Instead, I received the following:
1. After walking around a track all night long raising money for the American Cancer Society as part of Relay for Life, my older daughter met me at 7:30 a.m so that she could come home from school for the day (165 mile drive) so I could spend the day with all four of my kids. They raised $70,000 for the American Cancer Society so I wasn't the only beneficiary of her commitment and energy.  She didn’t complain about her extreme fatigue all day long, even as she struggled to finish her English paper on the Aeneid (it wouldn’t take a night of no sleep to make me complain about that one).
2. My younger daughter had picked up on an off-handed comment I’d made months ago about a particular mom/love ring.  Unbeknownst to me, she’d found such a ring, ordered it (with the help of her father’s credit card) and had it engraved on behalf of her siblings.
3. My older son cancelled his plans with his best friend to search for tools and other cool and utterly useless things at our local VNA rummage sale in order to make his mom smile at brunch (which he helped make).
4. My younger son put on his work boots, grabbed the string trimmer and made our lawn and gardens look as if I’d hired a landscaping company.
5. The hugs were easy and free-flowing, all day.
6. We finished the day eating burgers (grass-fed beef or veggie) outside feeling like spring had finally come to New Jersey.
Yes, they’re all old enough to get along for 24 hours, run a load of dishes or laundry and heat up a cup of coffee for me.  They could have gone their separate ways or spent the day in front of re-runs of Top Gear or America’s Next Top Model.  They didn’t.  They chose me instead and said quiet thank you’s for each and every time I’ve chosen them instead. 
Happy Mother’s Day to all.



Our First Puristics Controversy: What’s Your Opinion?

 Take a look at our magazine ad for Puristics Pure Protection tampons.


Quick . . . does it catch your attention? Do the words and the picture tell a compelling story? 

We recently had a prominent women’s magazine tell us that they had deemed the ad offensive and that they wouldn’t publish it.  I was really astounded.  Sure, it’s direct, but offensive?

I’m a big believer in the power of information -- tell me what I need to know in a straightforward fashion, and I’ll make the best decision for me.  I don’t think feminine protection ads that hint at the issue of potentially harmful chemicals through a picture of a mother and daughter walking on a beach at sunset do enough to tell an important story.  Tell me what is and what isn’t, let me decide and let’s move on.  I’ve dealt with far scarier things than a picture of a tampon, and I suspect you have as well.

In our formal and less-than-formal research at Puristics, we’d always elicited the “ah-hah” moment whenever we’d shown our print ad to any women. Most seemed to come away with the “hmmm, I never really thought about it, but I guess I should” reaction.  Making a simple change in product choice in order to avoid extra stuff in their most private of private parts made complete sense.

Even among teenage girls (who seem to think they’re immortal and believe that consuming Skittles is a suitable way to put more color into their diets), I’ve witnessed many ah-hah moments.  Admittedly, my own daughter isn’t objective, but she is glad that she’s avoiding questionable chemicals in her feminine protection products from the very beginning.

Now I want to know what you think. What’s your take on our ad?  Are you getting the message loud and clear or would you prefer the kinder, gentler take on advertising? Maybe fluffy white clouds, bunnies and singing birds? 

UPDATE:  Check out the alternative we ended up running in this particular publication.  Which do you think says it better or stronger?  Which do you like better?  Either way, I hope you're getting the facts you need to decide.  Now, head over to Facebook and vote!  Here's the link to the alternative and our FB poll:

Puristics Pure Protection advertising


Taking Inventory

We recently conducted a survey of over 600 women in our regional launch markets and asked them about their label reading habits.  We discovered that most are fairly aware of the ingredients in the packaged foods they eat but only a minority of women are aware of the ingredients in their personal care products.  Also, we discovered that, on average, these women put over 20 potentially harmful chemicals on themselves during their morning, getting-ready routine.  If you’ve been following our Pure Talk vlogs, you may have seen Sharon Couto from talk about the inventory she took of the potentially harmful chemicals she applies to her skin each day as part of her skin care routine. 

While I’m generally very aware of the ingredients in what I eat and what I put on my skin, I realized that I’d never taken an official inventory.  So, here’s a brutally honest accounting of the potentially harmful chemicals that went into and onto my body this morning.  I’ve noted in red any ingredients which score a hazard rating of 5 or above on the Skin Deep database*.

Salon style strengthening shampoo: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide MEA, Silk Amino Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Sodium Chloride, Malic Acid, Glycol Distearate, Amodimethicone, Polyquaternium 10, Trideceth 12, Bis Methoxypropylamido Isodocosane, Benzyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, PPG 9, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance (Parfum), Caramel

Highlight enhancing conditioner: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Behenamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cetyl Esters, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Dioleate/Linoleate/Linolenate, Stearyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Lactic Acid, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Glycine, Malic Acid, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower), Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract

Sensitive skin facial soap: Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Maltol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)

Deodorant soap: Soap (Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, And/Or Sodium Palm Kernelate), Water, Hydrogenated Tallow Acid (Skin Conditioner), Coconut Acid, Glycerin (skin conditioner), Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Chloride, Pentasodium Pentetate, Pentaerithrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhyrocinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, D&C Green 8

Toothpaste: Eucalyptol (0.738%), Menthol (0.340%), Methyl Salicylate (0.480%), Thymol (0.511%), Sodium Monofluorophosphate (0.76%) (0.13% w/v Fluoride Ion), Sorbitol, Water, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, PEG 32, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Saccharin, Cellulose Gum, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Titanium Dioxide, Xanthan Gum, Flavor, Benzoic Acid, FD&C Blue 1, D&C Yellow 10

Mouthwash:  Eucalyptol (0.092%), Menthol (0.042%), Methyl Salicylate (0.060%), Thymol (0.064%), Water, Alcohol (21.6%), Sorbitol Solution, Flavoring, Poloxamer 407, Benzoic Acid, Zinc Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Sucralose, Sodium Saccharin, FD&C Blue 1

Puristics Advanced Skin Rejuvenating Lotion: Purified Water, Squalane (Olives), Octyl Palmitate (Skin conditioner), Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Coconut/palm), Saccharomyces Ferment Extract (Hexapeptide-11 [natural collagen builder), Glycerin, Sucrose Distearate (Sugar), Sunflower Seed Wax, Palm Butter, Safflower Seed Oil, Sucrose Stearate, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin (Skin emollient), Glyceryl Stearate SE (Plant based), Tapioca Starch, Hydrogenated Lecithin (Soybeans), Xanthan Gum (Fermented sugar), Rosewood Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5), Sodium Hyaluronate (Natural skin conditioner), Polylysine (Natural preservative), Honeysuckle Extract (Natural preservative)

Puristics Revitalizing Eye Cream: Purified Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (coconut/palm), Octyl Palmitate (skin conditioner), Glycerin, Squalane (olives), Sucrose Distearate (sugar), Sunflower Seed Wax, Palm Butter, Glyceryl Stearate SE (plant based), Safflower Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Titanium Dioxide (natural mineral), Hydrogenated Lecithin (soybeans), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin emollient), Sucrose Stearate, Xanthan Gum (fermented sugar), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (vitamin C), Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), Sodium Hyaluronate (natrual skin conditioner), Arbutin (bearberry extract skin-lightener), Polylysine (natural preservative), Honeysuckle Extract (natural preservative)

Natural deodorant (check out my blog post from last year when I quit using an aluminum containing antiperspirant/deodorant): Propylene Glycol, Water, Sodium Stearate, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice (Aloe Barbadensis), Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) Water (Hamamelis Virginiana), Zinc Ricinoleate, Lichen Extract (Usnea barbata), Glyceryl Laurate, Chamomilla Flower Water Extract (Chamomilla Recutita [Matricaria]), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), Fruit Oil, Lemongrass Oil (Cymbogon schoenanthus), Oils (Natural), Silica Shells

Inhaled steroidal asthma medication:  I take 2 puffs on an inhaled steroid every morning and evening.  While this goes on the pile of less than desirable things going into my body, I have to balance it against the fact that my lung function falls below 70% of normal without it. 

My breakfast this morning was a standard for me:  Coffee (more than recommended), hot multigrain, flaxseed cereal, non-fat greek yogurt and blueberries.

When you think about the fact that I'm pretty far up the learning curve on label literacy, and I chose to use only Puristics skin care products (free from potentially harmful chemicals), it's a bit surprising to see that I racked up 16 or so potentially harmful chemicals.  We'll have to work on Puristics line additions to take up the slack and eliminate the remaining ingredients of concern!  Have you taken your own inventory? How does it stack up?  I'd love to know.

 *We are not affiliated in any way with the Skin Deep database or the Environmental Working Group


Celebrating Remarkable Women: 100 years of International Women's Day

March is Women’s History Month, and today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.  As a woman who majored in history in college and a strong believer in “girl power”, I love an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of women.  We’re doing a better job, overall, of appreciating the contributions of both genders, but the stories of women who changed history can really provide remarkable examples to both boys and girls and make all of us realize that nothing gets done without everyone, regardless of gender, pulling on the same oar.  We all remember the contributions of the “big names” like Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Personally, I’m a fan of the lesser-known women whose contributions were equally great but less publicly visible.  Some of my favorites are (limited to women in the U.S and in no particular order):

  1. Victoria Woodhull:  A suffragette and the first woman to operate a brokerage firm, she was decades, if not a century, ahead of her time.
  2. Kitty Greene:  The wife of Revolutionary War leader, Nathanael Greene, she later influenced and supported cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney.
  3. Abigail Adams:  An important figure in the early development of the United States via her unwavering support of and influence over her husband, John Adams, her efforts to improve educational opportunities for girls and her raising John Quincy Adams among her other children. (Read more about Abigail Adams in Cokie Robert's book Founding Mothers and My Dearest Friend, edited by Margaret Hogan)
  4. Sarah Porter and Sophia Smith:  Sarah Porter founded a secondary school for girls in 1843 which has become a leader in the education of girls (and my alma mater).  Sophia Smith founded Smith College, a world leader in college level education for women.
  5. Clara Barton:  Nurse, Civil War figure and founder of the American Red Cross.
  6. Lillian Gilbreth:  Pioneer in the field of industrial engineering.  Mother of 12 children whose contributions to the world encompassed both her professional life and her personal life. Watch the movie, "Cheaper by the Dozen", to see a humorous account of her life with her husband and her children.
  7. Alice Hamilton:  First female professor at Harvard Medical School and the founder of the field of occupational medicine, making important contributions to the early days of workers’ compensation laws (and educated by Sarah Porter).
  8. Sally Ride:  First American woman to be sent into space.
  9. Elizabeth Cady Stanton:  Credited with beginning the Women's Suffrage movement, along with Susan B. Anthony.
  10. Rachel Carson.  Marine biologist and nature writer, considered a founder of the contemporary environmental movement.  Her book, Silent Spring drew attention to the dangers of many pesticides and led to the banning of DDT.

A glance at the lives of these and so many other remarkable women, both living and dead, reminds us of the incredible power we all possess.  So many of these women didn’t set out to be great women of history.  They simply followed their hearts and did what they believed needed to be done for their families and their communities.  They remind us that our everyday actions can make a difference, even when they are taken on a modest scale.  When we believe that change is possible and take small steps toward better choices, we can become the heroes in our own lives.  What remarkable steps will you make in a most unremarkable way today?


Age is a State of Mind. Being Totally Ageless is Puristics

It’s here!  Puristics Totally Ageless anti-aging skin care products are finally available in stores!  It’s been a long road to get here, but now all of you can try Puristics Totally Ageless, as well as Puristics Pure Protection feminine protection products (read my Pure Talk post on the line) and Puristics Baby (announced in Pure Talk a few weeks ago).  All Puristics products are pure and proven - - free from potentially harmful chemicals and proven effective.  As you might imagine, I’ve been using the full Puristics Totally Ageless line for quite a while now.  In fact, I’ve been one of the principle guinea pigs for all of our formula iterations during the development of Puristics.  I’m told that my skin looks great, particularly considering my fast-paced, type A, 46 years (I’m sure I will live to regret putting that fact on the internet). Our full line can be found on and in Colorado at King Soopers stores.  More stores will follow shortly, and I'll keep you posted!

But, you don’t have to take my word for it.  Turns out that my face is more than “a face that only a mother could love” - - it is more moisturized and the fine lines have been reduced.  We’ve done extensive testing on Puristics Totally Ageless and have the clinical study data to demonstrate that Puristics Totally Ageless Advanced Rejuvenating Skin Lotion measurably reduced fine lines and wrinkles in 100% of women in just 3 weeks.  Additional information about the study can be found on our website,

There are 5 Puristics Totally Ageless products at the moment.

  • Advanced Skin Rejuvenating Lotion
  • Daily Anti-Aging Lotion with SPF 15
  • Night Recovery Cream
  • Intensive Eye Treatment
  • Revitalizing Eye Cream

After washing my face well with a gentle cleanser, I use the Advanced Skin Rejuvenating Lotion and the Revitalizing Eye Cream in the morning and the Night Recovery and Intensive Eye Treatment in the evening.  When the Northeast weather becomes more bearable and I venture outside more often, I’ll return to my habit of daily sunscreen use and apply the Daily Anti-Aging Lotion with SPF 15 every morning.  The SPF is critical for preventing sun-related aging.  Add that to the fact that my family background predisposes me to skin cancer, and there’s no way I’d venture out into the sun without adequate protection.  The vanity + cancer combination is a pretty compelling one for me.  

Our Puristics Totally Ageless Daily Anti-Aging Lotion with SPF 15 uses zinc oxide as the sun protection ingredient.  This mineral sunscreen forms a protective barrier to the sun rather than using a chemical like oxybenzone or avobenzone to provide the SPF.   In a Pure Talk post from early 2010, I talked about the ban on chemical sunscreens at certain environmentally sensitive aquatic areas.  It had been determined that residue from certain chemically-based sunscreens (such as those containing oxybenzone, avobenzone or benzophenone-3) were harmful to fish, corral and other marine life.  The chemical octisalate or octyl salicylate is considered more benign than the other chemical sunscreens.  If the sunscreen that was washing off of my body and being diluted in the water was harmful to the fish, what might it be doing to me as I slathered it all over my skin - - my largest organ?  Science doesn’t have the complete answer yet, so I’m making the choice to avoid those chemicals on my own, thanks.

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