Monday, December 29, 2008

Guest Blogger: Ann Garrity

Helen here. Since we've been talking green a lot here, did you know ...

"The average woman uses 9 personal care products daily exposing herself to 168 chemicals each and every day."

Ann Garrity made a personal commitment to get rid of all those chemicals by using healthier products. This personal choice led to the development of Organic Diva, a company that promises to deliver non-toxic products.

I met Ann (she's the pres and on the right in the photo below) this past summer through a cousin. We were doing a walk for ALS and since I didn't get as much of
a chance to talk with her as I'd like, I thought it'd be fun to have her guest here at Riders.

Ann will be stopping by later to answer questions, so go for it. Ask away. Please welcome the Organic Diva

Oh, darling, we’ve all been there…some lout to whom you’ve pledged eternal devotion deceives you and runs off with a lesser woman, like say, your sister. Unfortunately that cad isn’t the only one playing fast and loose with the truth these days. That’s right. As consumers demand more full disclosure about the ingredients in their personal care products, cosmetic companies are “spinning” stories faster than mommy spun the beads during your spring break in Daytona.

Trying to get the truth out of some of the companies selling “natural, organic, green, clean, and pure” products is like trying to get a straight answer about where your “funny Valentine” spent last night. But dry your eyes. The following will help you avoid toxic cads and toxic cosmetic companies…many of whom have striking similarities.

They Can’t Commit…
Toxic cads leave their options open. Toxic cosmetic companies do to too. As a result, they won’t sign “The Compact for Safe Cosmetics,” the pledge to not use cancer-causing or hormone disrupting ingredients in their products. Cosmetic companies across the globe have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. Your favorite company can too.

They’re Full of Excuses…
Toxic cads have an excuse for everything. So do toxic companies. They'll explain away unfavorable ratings from the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep Report” (a report that rates the toxicity of cosmetic products) with something like this, “That product review is for an old formulation. We have a new formulation.” Right...Right…Right…

It’s Not What They Say, It’s What They Don’t Say…
A cad frequently leaves out crucial parts of information. Similarly, cad cosmetic companies frequently don’t list all product ingredients (for instance, they don't list phalates, a toxin linked to reproductive problems in baby boys, instead using the catch-all term “fragrance.”) If your lover or your make-up company isn’t into full disclosure, do yourself a favor and say buh-bye.

It’s your lot in life, Darling. You’re no average dolly. As a result, you must demand what you deserve. Teaching your paramour how to treat you is as important as teaching your cosmetic company how to treat you. The bottom line: get a commitment from anyone who plans to move into your medicine cabinet. Here’s wishing you better men and better make-up ahead, darling.

(2008's top seller, Suki's Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser, $29.95)

Ann Garrity is the president of Organic Diva, an online retailer of non-toxic personal care products. Garrity founded the site after a health issue led her to an East Coast physician who insisted she “get rid of every lotion, every soap, every cosmetic you put on your body.” After investing her “life-savings” in new cosmetics from companies offering “natural, organic, pure, green and clean” cosmetics, Garrity was “mad as hell” to find that many of these new products were in fact ANYTHING BUT “natural, organic, pure, green and clean.” Some even contained petrochemicals. As a result, she developed stringent criteria for the products she puts on her bod. After having her sisters pilfer through her make-up bag one too many times, she decided to launch, a retailer that only carries products that meet her non-toxic criteria. She encourages you and anyone with sisters who are known to “lift items” from their make-up to check the site out.

(Jane Iredale Puregloss lipgloss, $19 and 19 shades. And they also carry many Zum soap products.)

To check if the companies in your make-up bag have signed "The Compact" visit Also review The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Report by visiting

And check out the Organic Diva website at:


Playground Monitor said...

Why do I have this sudden creepy feeling all over my body? Must go to and see if I have a cad or a good guy.

Thanks SO much for this information and for warning us about the cosmetic cads in life.


lois greiman said...

Hey Ann, thanks for joining us here in the convertible...and for making us a little more informed.

One of the nice things about being an author is that I sit here in my sweats most of the day sans makeup, but everyone once in a while I do actually try to look human and schlep out into the world. On those occasions I would kind of like to know that my products aren't going to kill me. I'd also like to find makeup that comes in biodegradable packages, but that's kind of a long shot. Any advice on that?

Michele Hauf said...

yeah! I'm so glad you're with us today. About two years ago I went through all my cosmetics. Set them in front of the computer and went through the cosmetics databse with them. Tossed them all.

And yes! I'm so frustrated when you see a company making their label green or putting a few sprigs of leaves on it so consumers think it's organic or natural, but not! Aveeno, who looks like they should be great, has some stuff rating in the 6s!

I'm into Zum, Lush, some Burt's Bees and Badger, and the mineral makeup. I'm proud that I haven't put anything too terrible damaging on my body for a while now. I always read labels. And even let my hair go gray for a year because dying it is chemical insanity. But heck, the gray does nothing for me, so I had to cave on that.

Ladies, if you can't pronounce it, you probably don't want it on your body!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hi, Ann!

I'm not getting out of the house much, so I haven't been using makeup very often. In fact, Mama would be horrified to see the way I usually look when I go to the store. I use what the dermatologist recommended--Cetaphil cleanser and moisturizer. What's your take on Cetaphil? (Actually, I ofen buy the generic version. What's your take on generics that say "Compare to Cetaphil" or whatever, and you compare and find exactly the same ingredients?

When I do use makeup, it's Bare Minerals, which I really like. What's the skinny on that?

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Ann. Wonderful info. Heard on TV the other day to moisturize with olive oil. but ... oh, ick. Any way to make it more palatable? And won't it leave grease spots on my clothes?

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Ann! Thanks for visiting today!

LOL, Marilyn - on the ick factor. Sometimes it feels like we can't do anything right!!

Michele! As soon as I saw the Zum products on their website knew you'd love having Ann here.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Just remembered another question. I saw an interview on TV with somebody who was seriously into makeup, and
the two women gave a timeline for throwing away your makeup--most of it 6 months or a year. Is that necessary? I'm too cheap for that.

Kylie said...

Welcome to the convertible, Ann. Wonderful information. I can't wait to see what I use is/isn't on the list.

As far as throwing cosmetics out after six months...I've heard that too. But geez I don't use enough to make that fiscally responsible. And after all that Christmas spending fiscally responsible is my new mantra, LOL!

(Except I really really need one more 16 piece setting of my new Christmas dishes!)

lunaticcafe said...

Thank you for providing the websites and links so we can check our cosmetics. I am frustrated with all the false advertising out there- my skin is super sensitive and it is so hard to find good cleanser. I'm going to pop over and check to see if Method and Boots products make it on the good list.

Michele Hauf said...

Lunatic, Boots products will surprise you with their awful ratings. I too was tricked by their advertising and packaging.

Method worries me. They claim to be natural, but they don't list ingredients. I use a lot of Method products. What's the skinny on them?

Playground Monitor said...

My son gave me a Burt's Bees travel pack for Christmas. I'm glad to see them on the "good" list.

Organic Diva said...

DWTTD: Great to meet all of you. I can tell you are all discerning divas with impeccable taste (or at least that you'd be a hell of a lot of fun at parties). I am doing one group post. Let me know if I am committing a faux pas. Would not be the first time.

Playground Monitor: Love your name. Where were you when I needed you? Sixth grade was horrible!

Lois: A product with great biodegradable packaging is can plant it in your backyard. A plant will sprout and I promise you won't be arrested. I am a major fan of Suki Skincare. It comes in recyclable packaging. Great, wonderful stuff.

Michele: I can tell you are a Diva in the making. The fact that you are throwing out product ratings tells me you are my kind of girl.

Take a look at the Lush ingredients. They have not signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and we were not able to put them on our site since some of their ingredients do not meet our criteria. It killed me a little--I liked some of their products.

Kathleen: Why do you treat yourself so bad?! Take a peek at Cetaphil at "Skin Deep Report." Based on our criteria we are unable to carry Cetaphil and Bare Minerals. Neither has signed The Compact for Safe Cosmetics. That is the first hurdle to being on our site. I think you can find products that treat you better. Also, using the generic version is just as good as long as the product ingredients do not include any of the chemicals listed on our DIRTY DOZEN LIST (available at our site

Also, I hold onto my make-up as well. The only product I replace religiously is my mascara...every 4-6 months. (I'm a contact wearer...and want to stay one.)

Cindy: I only use Olive Oil for should too. Yes, it will leave grease spots on your clothes...and make your shower floor slippery (I know what I speak of)...

Kylie: Save your money for that place setting...that's the kind of fiscal responsibility I can get long as you invite me over for dinner. The only make-up I replace on a regular basis is my mascara.

Lunaticcafe: I feel your pain. There is a special place in hell for the companies who are misleading women. As for your super sensitive skin, try Suki products. They were developed by a woman with extremely sensitive skin (rosacea, eczema...) We have lots of satisfied Divas who use it. Also, the Keys line you will find on our site was developed by a woman who survived melanoma...very gentle and non-toxic. I'm using their Eye Butter and it butta...seriously.

Michele: I love you. I honestly love you. You are right about the ratings...

As for Method, it is better than most. Their heart and direction is in the right place. There is lots of discussion about whether they are as good as they say they are. Given this discussion, they will have continued "encouragement" to do the right thing. I use some of their products along with Seven Generation and Restore (developed by a great Minnesota woman).

Let me know if you have other thoughts. It's a great day to drive along with you (with the top down) of course.

amy*skf said...

I can't wait to visit your web-site. People think I'm insane because I say I try not to put anything on my body that I can't eat. So, my cleansing cream is Coconut oil, I used to moisturize with it too, but now I add a layer of Burt's Bees.

I get frustrated trying to find pure things to put on my face and bod. I'll definately look at your stuff.

Every year at Christmas I get a boat load of "natural" lotions, that I turn around and give away, I know I shouldn't expose other people to them, but I can't see throwing them out.

I also use Bare Minerals on my face--I really hope they're good, because they're the only thing that works on my skin.

Christie Ridgway said...

I was watching the make-up gal on What Not To Wear and she suggested exfoliating with sugar every night (this was for a young woman with lots of dry skin). I'm going to try it.

I've seen that olive oil tip, Cindy, but just can't make myself smell like it.

This is great info, Ann! Thanks for sharing and riding with us today.

Michele Hauf said...

Any thoughts on Juice Beauty products? I've been eyeing their Organic skin cleansing set because I have problem skin and really wish the pimples would stop. I mean come one! I'm too old for this.

Debra Dixon said...

I love this info! I had no idea I could easily go and check out my products.

I'm going to do that right now. And say buh bye to any toxic cosmetics!!!

Keri Ford said...

Oh, wow. I can sit at that site for hours checking out all the products with all the shampoo, lotions, and makeup. Luckily, I hardly ever wear makeup, cause I have a feeling what I've been slathering on my cheeks isn't good!

Estella said...

Thanks for the info!

lunaticcafe said...

So sad to learn about Boots products, but I am going to try Suki. I also like learning about bio packaging because even if the ingredients are good it can still have a bad impact on our environment. I love the organicdiva website and it will be happily added to my bookmarks! Thanks for all the great info- and thanks Michele for letting me know about the Boots rating.

M. said...

I was appalled to find out how many cosmetics that advertise themselves as 'natural' and for sensitive skin contain formaldehyde, including products intended for babies. (It's that long unpronouncable one that starts with 'q' and ends with '15'). And after many years of using regular deodorant I've developed such a sensitivity to it I have to buy deodorant from the health food store. Let's not even get started on the toxicity of regular feminine hygiene products bleached with Dioxin...

Elle Amery said...

I make my own bath salts, lotions, lip balm, etc., using natural products - in fact, my heroine in my latest book runs her own bath and body products business! So glad you're making people aware.

Organic Diva said...

Love to see that you are all divas! Keep demanding the best for you and the people you love.

Michelle: I'm including a link for you regarding Juice Beauty. They have been in a legal battle regarding whether their product labeling. Check out the Organic Consumer is attached.

Thanks again for letting me ride with you. It was great spending time with you all and I look forward to checking out your work.

In the meantime, please contact me with any questions you have regarding products. We are here to help!

Here's wishing you all a New Year free of toxic people and toxic products. Much Love: AG

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks for visiting, Ann!