After visiting with a kiss-happy grandmother, a Highland mother was left wondering if it was the lipstick worn by the grandmother that caused her then 6-month old daughter to break out in hives on her forehead.

“I wondered if there was a connection to the hives and the lipstick grandma was wearing while she smooched the babies. I began to read online and talk to others about personal care products and ingredients. What I found out was literally horrifying,” says Carrie Bourgo. “Not only did I find out that common allergens can be found in a variety of personal care products but most, if not all, common personal care products contain known carcinogens and skin irritants.”

Bourgo and her family switched to Arbonne’s skin care products and makeup because they never triggered a reaction. Their personal care products do not contain PABA, Formaldeyde-donating preservatives, Parabens or Petroleum based ingredients. They are also vegan and gluten-free, which is important to Bourgo because she has life-threatening reactions to both dairy proteins and gluten.

Ursula Cooper, operations manager of Navii Salon Spa in Schererville, says the majority of the product lines in the salon are as organic and chemical-free as possible.

“The reason why we carry natural make up is people of all ages and skin types can use it. Healthy minerals heal, soothe and calm the skin – not irritate it. It also corrects many skin challenges such as acne, rosacea, melasma, eczema, etc.,” says Cooper.

Navii Salon carries two make up lines: La Bella Donna and Bomber Betty.

Bomber Betty carries lipsticks that are paraben free, made from natural plant waxes and are infused with green tea extract, Vitamin E, Shea Butter and aloe. The powders are talc-free, fragrance free, dye-free and non-comedogenic.

La Bella Donna is a mineral makeup line created from four ingredients: Micronized Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Bismuth Oxycloride and Iron Oxides.

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Reva Salon and Spa in St. Joseph, Mich. also carries a mineral make up line called Glo. The formulas are talc-free, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic making it a great choice for those with sensitive skin issues such as acne or rosacea. Although the manufacturing facilities for Glo are not gluten-free there are only five products in the entire line that contain gluten-derived ingredients. For example the Precise Micro Lipliner contains hydrolyzed wheat protein which contains properties for improved lip hydration and moisture content.

“We only carry Glo and those that use it, do like it. We use it for our wedding parties and our facials,” says owner Kristy Sandmann.

Elle Salon, located in Michigan City, is an Aveda-concept salon. Since 2000, Aveda has increased its purchases of organic raw herbal ingredients and organic essential oils from 20%-25% of total tonnage to more than 90% for both. Aveda uses plant-based alternatives to parabens, the line is also talc-free and offers nine sulfate-free skin cleansing products. Although Aveda products are not certified vegan, most of the products contain no animal-derived ingredients.

“We carry a mascara called Mosscara because it’s made with Iceland moss and a reconstruction shampoo made with quinoa – I think that’s really cool. I’ve used Aveda products for about 10 years now. I love it and I trust it to use on my kids,” says owner Elle Hook. “I think our clients love the line because of the integrity of the products. It makes your skin glow and you just feel beautiful. We’ve been here since 2006 and most of our clients have been with over 10 years.”

Chesterton resident Hallie Orgel knows all about botanically-based skin care products because she makes them. After Orgel graduated from college she worked with an herbalist for a year and learned about plants and their healing properties.

Orgel, owner of The May Box Botanicals, makes a lip balm containing local bees wax from a berry picking farm in Chesterton that she personally strains herself - the wax doesn’t undergo bleaching or refining treatment. There are also no chemical preservatives in the lip balm as the bees wax has its own antimicrobial properties.

“I add vitamin E which is a natural preservative. The essential oils that scent this lip balm are Sweet Birch and Douglas fir, native aromatic trees to our region. Sweet birch smells like wintergreen and Douglas fir is a type of pine. I have never encountered a combination of these scents in any other product line,” says Orgel. “I research all of my ingredients heavily because social and environmental health issues are important to me. None of my ingredients contribute to rainforest deforestation or child labor and all of my packaging is environmentally friendly.”

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