From The Vault: The Whole(some) Truth

Don’t believe the hype.

These days, big brands are falling over themselves to prove they are toeing the planet-friendly line and sticking to wholesome products – and that’s good for everyone (when it’s not a lie, of course). Over the last 4 years we’ve been keen to champion the companies choosing the natural and sustainable over the artificial & toxic. Here are 6 posts from our archives where we ask – is it natural?

I purposely put all of the prominent, still-independent brands in this list because I want to tell their stories. But this isn’t a story about small vs. big, small being good and big being bad.

All the independents listed below are big companies, but they have the ability to uphold higher standards and work within their missions because they aren’t beholden to the intense scrutiny of the money managers.

Just for fun, can you guess which ones they are?

The Stories (And Money) Behind 10 Of Your Favorite Organic And Natural Brands

We use conditioners to keep our hair healthy, sleek and shiny. Or just to avoid looking like the Scarecrow from Oz.  Whether you’re a daily conditionista or someone who simply smooths it on once or twice a week, you’re going to want to keep it organic.

Why? To avoid the common ingredient in conventional conditioners called Lauramide DEA. It strips away important amino acids like serine, histamine and other hair and skin proteins. This can leave hair feeling dry and unmanageable – creating the need to use more conditioner. Who knew hair conditioner could be so conspiracy-theory! While the debate continues to rage about how conditioners will eventually destroy us all, we’ve got you covered with products that won’t.

6 Best Organic Hair Conditioners

Greenpeace recently reported that clothing items bearing the logos of 14 global brands – including Adidas, H&M, Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch – have been found to contain nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), chemicals that can break down to form the hormone-disrupting substance nonylphenol (NP). Just this morning, Reuters released the news that Nearly 300 Cambodian workers fell sick this week at a garment factory producing goods for Swedish fashion brand H&M.

14 Fashion Brands Test Positive For Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

A Perfume Organic offers four scents, each for $65: Green, Urban Organic, Perfumed Wine-Rose and White Magik. Green is rose with hint of chamomile; Urban Organic is lemon with ginger and grapefruit; White Magik has white flowers with spearmint; and Perfumed Wine-Rose is berry, crisp apple and peppers. I have to be honest – with my history of fragrance headaches, I approached these perfumes as one might approach a root canal. You know you gotta do it, but you just want it to be over with. Commence crushing headache, right?

Cue the ringing of church bells and throwing of confetti! Nary a headache did I have with these scents. They smelled fresh and botanical. If you want to smell like fruit, you smell like fruit. If you want a hint of floral, it’s there. My favorite was White Magik for its sage and spearmint “aftersmell.”

A Fragrance Without The Fragrance: Organic Perfume Review

There are a lot of eyeliners on the market, with pencil, liquid and cake eyeliners being the most popular. The only true skill you need is a steady hand, and what I mean by that is the steadiness it takes to make your eyes look superbly lined and cat-like, without appearing like something The Joker may have applied!

The trick to lining your eyes is to start small. Do little dashes along your lid and then blend with a brush to avoid that weird eyeliner strip of flesh – you know, when there is a space of flesh between your eyeliner and your actual eye. Start from the middle and do small strokes, front to back. Short strokes, small dots even, can help you look more Catwoman than Scary Makeup Clown.

Five Of The Best Natural And Organic Eyeliners

Take a stroll through the cereal aisle and you’ll see box after box of sugary confections that look more like desserts than breakfast. Of course, all of those glazed mini cinna-buns and marshmallows are clearly not healthy, but what about the whole grain oats, shredded wheat and flax flakes? General Mills’ Oatmeal Crisp Crunchy Almond is “whole grain guaranteed,” but the ingredients include brown sugar, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and honey, making it 27% sugar. Kellogg’s Raisin Bran may be mostly wheat flakes, but it still has just as much sugar as Lucky Charms at 19 grams. In contrast, Kashi 7 Grain Whole Puffs has zero grams of sugar, and Cheerios have just 1. Check out this chart at Harvard School of Public Health to compare dozens of varieties.

10 Health Foods With More Sugar Than A Coke

Images: stublog, kaibara, kaibara87 and

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.