It was one of my new year’s resolutions to rid my life of products containing parabens and sulfates, and to finally stop buying stuff that had ingredients I can't pronounce.
Publish date:
February 12, 2013
shoppables, beauty, Brooklyn, skin care, all natural, cruelty-free

It was one of my new year’s resolutions to rid my life of products containing parabens and sulfates, and to finally stop buying stuff that had ingredients I can't pronounce. Which I am sooooo gonna get to right after I use up the 342 unopened tubes of lotion I have in my bathroom cabinet. I don’t know how I think I’m ever going to use all these products. I couldn’t get through them even if I lived to be 977 years old!

Why are parabens in literally EVERY SINGLE THING? They are a group of chemical compounds used in beauty products as preservatives, meant to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria, which sounds like a great thing unless you are a person with sensitivities to chemicals. There is also trace evidence that links parabens to cancers, which may or may not be true. I say why take the chance?!

Sulfates ain't so great either -- and they are ALSO in every product you pick up. Sulfates are chemical cleansing agents that make a face wash or shampoo foam up pleasingly. I had a nasty case of peri-oral dermatitis that FINALLY cleared up after I ditched my (super expensive) sulfate-based face wash. I've since learned to fear any product that foams, which is a bummer. I love visual proof that what I'm using is working! It's insanely, strangely satisfying.

So it's really too bad that I still have all these paraben-laden, sulfate ridden products lurking in my medicine cabinet. I told myself I had to use them all up before I can put my resolution into action. (Net result: I am not allowed to buy anything new.)

But of course I can never resist a TRULY all natural, cruelty-free product line. There are so many fake “natural” product lines out there and almost zero federal regulations in place to protect the consumer, who is then tricked into buying something chemical-laden that the company just added lavender oil to and passed off as being “all natural.”

Many products also claim to be cruelty-free when they aren't at all. Many of them buy ingredients from companies that DO test on animals and then sidestep the issue on their labeling. There are no repercussions for companies who flat out lie about their cruelty-free status, so it's up to YOU, the consumer to make an informed decision about what to put on your hot, hot body.

None of these fake "all natural" claims are the case with S.W. Basics of Brooklyn. You may have known of them until just recently as Sprouts Skincare. (Which I thought was a totes adorable name, but I guess they got tres tired of answering the question: “Oh, are there alfalfa sprouts in your face cream?")

I personally would love mashing some sprouts on my face, but I am an oddball. I love a grilled cheese sammy with alfalfa sprouts, it's the best comfort foodstuff on earth.

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn was started by Adina Grigore after she attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and started making her own skincare for personal use. It snowballed, she started Sprout, and here she is today! All S.W. Basics product ingredients are sourced from family farms where they are able, and everything is certified organic and fair trade. Their products come in beautiful glass apothecary jars that can be recycled and reused.

S.W. Basics has a really great, really simple motto: "Fewer ingredients=gentler skincare." You'll see that their products list a max of 5 ingredients each, and it's all stuff you can pronounce. Since I've written previously about my love for home-brew hair care products born in a bathtub, this shit is already my jam.

There are 8 products TOTAL in the entire line, which I love. I am easily confused by giant product lines, and there is almost zero chance that I am going to use a convoluted multi-step program of any sort to take care of my skin. I'm lucky if I can manage to splash a little water on my face before passing out after being at work for 14 hours.

The S.W. Basics site makes a great point here regarding face creams: Immediately stop using your daily moisturizer if it lists water as the first ingredient. Many face creams use water as a base ingredient, and when it evaporates, (as water is wont to do!) your skin is dried out all over again.

They also have 2 body-specific products that smell delicious, thanks to coconut and clove oil. (My 2 favorite smells in the whole world are suntan oil and clove cigarettes, preferably mixed together.)

S.W. Basics also makes a divine lip balm. I am such a lip balm maniac -- I have one in every nook and cranny of my house, car and office. One of the best gifts I've gotten recently was a set of all 4 S.W. Basics lip balms from a thoughtful actor. (A rarity!) It's how I found out about the line in the first place. The lip balms also come in a vegan version, which uses no beeswax.

This is the set I was gifted, which they sell for $15.00. As the package puts it, "It's your ticket to the makeout party!"

Now I just need about 100 people to come over and slather themselves with all this lotion I've been hoarding to help me use it all up. Sounds like a party, right?!

I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison