Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Exposed: Cosmetics That Won’t Poison Your Body with Chemicals

When Terri Bly read Mark Schapiro‘s book (Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power) and found out the cosmetics industry is completely unregulated—that the products women absorb through their skin and lungs often contain chemicals that are banned in the European Union—she was appalled. She began to search for organic beauty products online, and found them—with limited success. There was no single umbrella web site where people could go and fill all their beauty wants in one shot.

So Bly got some family members to loan her some money, and was able to get “support from WomenVenture, an organization that helps women succeed in business,” to start, an organic cosmetics supplier.


Slick new online store brings together a global roster of beauty companies selling natural and organic cosmetics, body and hair-care products. You’d never guess orders were being filled in the basement of a Mendota Heights home.

Often at midnight.

Web site founder Terri Bly’s life was already full. She had a husband, two young daughters and a career she loved, working as a clinical psychologist for Personnel Decisions International. Then, she found her calling.

Bly read “Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power” by Mark Schapiro and “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry” by Stacy Malkan. As someone who had always loved makeup and creams, she felt compelled to do something.

“I always assumed someone was regulating chemicals in beauty products, but there’s no regulation. I started to feel a little helpless,” Bly says. “We focus all this energy on helping people deal with the aftermath of cultural complacency. I wanted to be more at the root level of this — empowering people to prevent problems rather than trying to get them to reverse bad behavior, which is so much harder.”

Bly makes a concerted effort to eat organic. She recently switched to green household cleaners. But until last summer, she had never even sought out eco-friendly beauty products, let alone considered selling them. Once she started searching online, she was able to find brands she believed — but not all on one Web site and not with a platform that looked professional enough to compete with heavy hitters, such as Sephora.

“I don’t want to position myself as a concerned mom,” Bly says. “This is a business. My goal is to bring this stuff mainstream.” makes a case for each brand featured. Santa Verde lotions are aloe-based. Logona lipsticks are made with vegetable oils.

“We’ve been programmed into thinking performance should come first and at the expense of everything else, including our health,” Bly says. “There are a lot of great products that maybe don’t stay on quite as long but aren’t putting chemicals into our systems.” The Web site launched in July after just a few months of planning.

Read the whole article here.

Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Pancake

When most people think pancakes, they think breakfast. But for Amy Halloran, breakfast is only the start.Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, is a self-described pancake connoisseur. From a young age, she was entranced by the magic of bubbly batter rising to fluffy cakes on the griddle. Over time, her love of pancakes developed […] Read More..

Inside the Rise of the Local Grains Movement

Our daily bread. Breaking bread together. Bread and butter. These are all common phrases that reflect bread’s foundational role in our diet and in the building of our civilization. The stored energy of grain first allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to building settled communities—even great cities. So why in an […] Read More..

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..