Read the Ingredients: Propylene Glycol

Happy Thursday, friends!

Today, I'm beginning a new series called Read the Ingredients, where I will research and discuss common ingredients found in health and beauty products, as well as food. Basically, I'll pick an ingredient, let you know what I find out about it, and talk about whether or not it's a health risk.

First up to the plate: Propylene Glycol...

Image of PG via

Image of PG via

Propylene Glycol is a common ingredient found in liquid and cream products. It is technically an antifreeze, but the not the kind of scary antifreeze that comes to mind when someone says...well..."antifreeze."

1. Propylene Glycol is an antifreeze agent.

However, do not confuse it with its highly toxic cousin, Ethylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is not immediately toxic when you come into contact with it. Ethylene Glycol is used in radiators to help them maintain a certain temperature. Veterinarians often see pets who have been poisoned by ethylene glycol, because it has a sweet taste and pets may drink it if it's spilled on the floor.

2. Propylene Glycol is a byproduct of fossil fuels.

It is known as what's called a "third product." Basically, it begins with propene, which is then converted to propylene oxide, and then water is added, and you get propylene glycol. If sustainability is really important to you, and you want to stear clear of the fossil fuel industry as much as possible, then you may want to skip Propylene Glycol.

3. Propylene Glycol has been classified by the FDA as safe.

The FDA has said that propylene glycol is "generally recognized as safe" for food and other products. The FDA isn't foolproof by any means, and they don't always have everyone's best interests at heart, so I would take their classifications with a grain of salt. But do what's right for you and your family.

4. Propylene Glycol has been given a score of 3 by the EWG.

I personally trust the EWG more than I trust the FDA, and even though 3 is more toxic than 1, it's still considered a "fair" score. The only rub is, there is little to no clinical research done on propylene glycol's safety for humans. Most (if not all) lab tests have been done on monkeys, rats, and other test animals. 

5. Propylene Glycol can be a skin and eye irritant.

It is also used as a penetration enhancer, meaning that if it is, say, in your moisturizer, it is used to make the other ingredients penetrate deeper into the body. This doesn't sound too bad, but if some of the other ingredients are causing your skin to be sensitized, then the propylene glycol is only helping them along.

6. Propylene Glycol could be toxic to Infants.

Our kidneys and liver do the work of ridding our bodies of toxins. Infants' kidneys and livers don't work as well as ours do, so they have a harder time ridding their bodies of toxins. So pregnant ladies, nursing mamas, and mamas in general, be on the lookout for this ingredient in your health and beauty products, as well as the products that come into contact with your baby. 

I'd also note that if you have poor liver or kidney function, you should be aware of potentially harmful products that come into contact with your body. Good apps to have that can help with this are the EWG app and the Think Dirty app. If your products are in their system, they will tell you what the ingredients are and if they're harmful or not.

As always, don't take my word as law. I actually like researching this type of stuff, so I'm happy to share what I find, but always do what works for you. If you happily use products that contain propylene glycol, more power to you. To each his own, as they say!

I hope this post has been helpful, and if it has, feel free to let me know of any ingredient you'd like me to research for future posts!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Interracial Couples are Inspiring

Today, I wanted to talk about something that doesn't get enough attention in mainstream media or film, but is very much a reality for millions of people all over the world.

Let's talk about Interracial Couples. 

According to Pew Research, 12% of newlyweds in the U.S. married someone of a different race in 2013. Also according to Pew Research done in 2015, about 7% of the U.S. population is multiracial. 

I'm sure those numbers have gone up in the last two years, but with numbers like that, why do we still see so few representations of interracial couples and multiracial families in movies and television?

Most Rom-Coms feature both a white male and female lead, or a black male and female lead. Rarely ever do you see leads of different races, unless the male lead is Will Smith. Seriously. When was the last time you went to see a romantic comedy with a male lead who was white, and a female lead who was black? Or Asian? Or Hispanic? 

Obviously, my husband and I are in an interracial relationship. Our son is biracial. And while companies like Target and Ikea are quick to include multiracial people in their TV ads, movies and TV shows are slow to this kind of progress.

That's why I appreciate music artists, such as Adele and Ed Sheeran for diversifying their music videos. 

Has Adele ever dated a black man in real life? The world may never actually know. But the male lead in this music video is black, and while many people may not think much about it, I appreciate it. I like when artists use subtle ways of showing that people of color are worthy of love, too. People of color are beautiful. People of color are funny. We are intelligent, talented, good cooks, good parents. We have relationships too, and not just with other people of color. 

I especially love Ed Sheeran's music video because it features a woman of color. If you ever see black and white interracial relationships represented in film and television, it's usually between a black man and a white woman. Now, it is true that black men are more likely to date and marry outside of their race than black women are, but there are still black women who do. Rarely ever do you see a black woman as the love interest in film. If you do, it's always some kind of forbidden love type of vibe, which pretty lame, if you ask me. 

The main reason for this is because white women are still considered to be the standard of beauty. Don't get me wrong, I know many beautiful white women, and am now related to some by marriage. White women are beautiful, but they should not be the standard that every other race of women is measured against. 

The fact of the matter is, the percentages of interracial relationships and multiracial families are steadily growing, because race shouldn't be an issue when it comes to dating. Everyone has physical qualities they prefer, but to exclude an entire race of people based solely on their skin is so ridiculous to me.

I would like to see my relationship represented in mainstream film and television. I would like for my children to grow up knowing that multiracial families are just as "normal" as any other color of family. 

It all starts with the viewer. Production companies are not going to make films that they don't believe will sell, and they don't believe movies featuring couples of different races will sell, especially if there isn't a big name like Will Smith involved. White viewers usually aren't lining up to see movies (or TV shows) without a predominantly white cast. Why is that?  

Tell me, what are your thoughts? Have you ever dated outside of your race? What do you think about it's place in mainstream media? Let's discuss!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Springtime Fashion Favorites

LesLeigh J. Springtime Favorites

Warmer weather is slowly but surely starting to stick where I live, and I am SO excited about it. I am not at all a cold weather kind of gal. Like, snow is cool for Christmas and all, but after that, give me blue skies and sunshine all day, everyday. 

With the warm weather showing up more often, I'm looking forward to pumping up my wardrobe with a few new tops, dresses, sunnies, and sandals. Plus, a cute handbag never hurt anyone. 

I love off-the-shoulder tops and dresses for Spring. I think they're fun and flirty, and they work well for a date night with your man, or a day out with the fam. You can even switch out some flat sandals for some wedges to take look straight from day to night.

My favorite shoes in this collection are the Jeffrey Campbell Rodillo wedges. He came out with them last year, and I didn't get a chance to get them, but I might this year! He also has a new, similar looking sandal out called the Rayos wedge. They have that same razor-cut design to them, but the pattern is a little different and I am LIVING for it. 

I also love the mint green, floral tee. It's a nice way to be casual and look like you actually tried with your appearance at the same time. It would be great with some distressed shorts and Birks.

Now I'm off to convince my husband that I absolutely NEED $150 sandals. It's life and death, folks.

What are you looking forward to when the warmer weather hits? What's your favorite item in this collection? Let me know!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Movie Monday: Moonlight

Via

Joshua and I went to see Moonlight on Friday evening, and my goodness, it was such a good movie.

It's the first film I've ever seen where the movie isn't built around a leading actor, but rather the lead character. The lead character, Chiron, is played by three different people, and somehow each of them manages to capture the essence of the character. They really do make you feel like you're watching the same boy at three different stages in life. They all portrayed Chiron excellently, using the same facial expressions and body language. It feels like you're a part of Chiron's life, watching him grow into a man along the way.

As far as the cinematography goes, this film was beautifully perfect. The lighting and the camera angles help to tell the story with incredible detail. It's not an overly-produced film, meaning there aren't car chases and explosions, or lots of CGI graphics. Even still, you're totally enveloped into the story, feeling every scene and not just watching it. 

The score was so well-composed, evoking the proper emotion with every scene. It built the drama in all the right parts. The lack of sound was impressive as well. There were moments where all you could hear was breathing, or the slamming of a door, or the waves in the ocean. It allowed you to feel the weight of the scene, as if you were there in the movie, but the weight wasn't so heavy as to drag you down.

The story was so beautiful and so poignant. It takes you on a non-traditional journey of self-discovery. It truly was deserving of Best Film at the Oscars. It was so good, that I'd go see it again.

It's a movie that I never thought I would have been interested to see a few years ago. I mean, it's a complicated story, with aspects of the black community, poverty, drugs, and the LGBT community. But I am so glad that we went to see it. All things considered, it is one of the best, most artistic and creative films I've ever seen, and I have seen a lot of movies in my life.

If you haven't seen it, please make plans to go see it before it leaves the theaters. You won't be sorry.

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

H2O...

H2O

Today, I want to talk about water.  

I know, I know, boring topic. But just hear me out, pals. 

The human body is made up of about 60% water. Sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less, depending on how much you weigh and your lifestyle. Even so, more than half of our body is made of water, and still most people are dehydrated. 

We just don't drink enough water. And why should we, when there's so many other fun things to drink? I mean, there's soda, energy drinks, and don't even get me started on the alcoholic beverages.  

Well, for starters, we need water to live. And not just to remain alive, but to thrive. We lose water all the time. When we sweat, which is all the time, even if we don't notice it. When we cry. When we pee. And while we're on the subject of uh...eliminating waste, we also need water to poop regularly.  

Yes, I went there. The more dehydrated you are, the harder it is for you to poo. I learned this when I was pregnant. TMI? Alright then, back to my point.  

On average, we are supposed to be consuming about 30-50% of our body weight (in ounces) of water a day. So if you weigh 100 lbs, you should be consuming 30-50 ounces of water a day. Now weigh yourself and try to remember the last time you drank half of that number, in ounces, of water in one day.  

I for one know that I suck when it comes to drinking enough water, so I've decided to challenge myself. I'm a competitive person, and when something is a challenge, I like to do my best to rise to the occasion and be a conqueror.  

So, I did what any health-conscious millennial would do: I downloaded an app!  

This app is awesome. My husband actually showed it to me back in January, so I have to give him credit for finding it. It's called My Water Balance, and I love it because you can add in other beverages and it will add the amount of water in that beverage to your total amount of water for the day.

Basically, there's water in everything, so you don't actually have to consume straight water in order to get your ounces in. Don't get me wrong, you still need to drink good ol' fashioned H2O on the regular, but all 30-50 ounces doesn't have to come from straight-no-chaser water. 

I've challenged myself, starting Sunday, to drink nothing but water for 40 days. I will allow myself to cheat on Friday evenings with one non-water beverage, but mostly, I will be drinking water. They say it takes around 40 days to build or break a habit, so that's why I picked that number. 

I have many motivations for doing this. I mean, I need to be healthier over all, but also, dehydration contributes to a lot of health and beauty problems. Skin problems like acne, dryness, or overactive oil production can all be symptoms of dehydration, and there isn't a moisturizer or serum on the planet that can cure you like drinking water can.  

So there it is. I've put it out there for all to see, so I'm hoping that will keep me accountable!  

Are you drinking enough water? If so, how do you stay motivated to do so? Let me know! 

Cheers, 
LesLeigh J.  

Clean Beauty Spotlight: Bio Seaweed Gel Polish

Clean Beauty Spotlight - BSG

Yo and hello, Pals! It's been over a week since I posted last, and for good reason. My husband, son and I were all sick last week, and when you're taking care of a sick baby and you're also sick, there's not much time or energy for anything else. 

Luckily, we're all through the woods, and I'm back today to discuss one of my favorite beauty finds. I discovered Bio Seaweed Gel last year, and I absolutely LOVE them! They're products are awesome, they work, and they allow me to do my own good-looking manicures at home. 

I don't know about you, but I've been to my fair share of nail salons, and pretty much every single one I've been to has bit the big one. They usually don't comply with the health code like they're supposed to, i.e. reusing emery boards and other tools and not cleaning stations after they finish with someone. Many times, they've been rude to me. And often, I'll bring in a picture of a design I want, which usually isn't difficult and I know full well it can be done, and they will tell me they can't do it. Not to mention, they almost ALWAYS cut my cuticles (both fingers and toes) when I go. Fun Fact: they aren't actually supposed to clip your cuticles because your cuticles are what protect your nail bed from infections and fungus. 

Anyway, I was pregnant, and I'd had enough of paying for crappy (and potentially hazardous) salon service, so I decided I would find a gel nail polish that I could use at home. That's how I found my hero, Bio Seaweed Gel.

Bio Seaweed Gel Starter Pack

BSG is Big 5-Free, meaning their polishes don't contain any formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, BHA, or solvents. To my knowledge (and correct me if I'm wrong), they are the ONLY 5-Free gel nail polish out there. If you've been following me for any amount of time, then you'll know that my motto is the less chemicals, the better. BSG works for me because they're healthier for my nails than traditional gel polish, but they're also effective like traditional gel polish.

Bio Seaweed Gel Unity All in One Polish

When I first started using BSG, I purchased their starter kit. They no longer sell the one I purchased, but it came with four polishes (of your choosing) and a UV/LED light. The four that I picked were all from their UNITY All-in-One collection. The intention behind that collection is that you only need to use the color polish, no base or top coat. I don't know what anyone else's experience has been with this collection, but the UNITY polishes last way longer with a base and top coat. I purchased the base and top coat before Christmas, and the difference in lasting time is like night and day! 

Bio Seaweed Gel Top and Base Coats

I purchased my base and top coat as a set (because it really will save you money). I got the No-Sanding Base and the No-Wipe Top. The base is true to it's name; you don't have to sand down your nail for it to grip. But the No-Wipe Top will definitely smudge (or pickup lint) right after it cures if you don't wipe it. I just use some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and give all of my nails a quick wipe down, and they aren't sticky anymore.

I'd like to try their nail lacquer, since they have some that coordinate with their gel colors. I'm also looking into sculpture gel, just to give my nails a little bit more durability.

This post is in no way sponsored by Bio Seaweed Gel, and I paid for all of the products mentioned with my own money. Sharing is caring, and I wanted to help a sister out if you're in need of an at-home manicure solution.

What's your experience with nail salons? Do you enjoy them, or do you prefer to DIY your manicure/pedicure? Do you like gel polish or do you prefer regular lacquer? Let me know!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains reward links. If you click on the link, you will get a discount on your purchase, and I will also receive a discount reward because you made a purchase.*