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Product Spotlight
Travel Amenity Kits
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We’re thrilled to introduce a skillfully collaborated collection of Bella Lucce’s bestsellers, now offered in TSA-friendly sizes tucked inside chic cotton travel bags. Our new Travel Amenity Kits enable you to take your favorite Bella Lucce luxuries for face and body on the road no matter where your travels may take you. Whether you’re off on an adventure by plane, train or automobile, we wish you happy travels!

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From Morocco With Love

Shop Bella Luccè's nonprofit to discover a treasure trove of handmade Moroccan luxuries and learn how adding beauty to your life can change the lives of indigenous Berber people.
Visit From Morocco With Love.

Latest Obsession
Inspirational Jewlery from LuluBug
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My teenage daughter recently left for a summer service trip to Thailand. I was scouring Etsy for a piece of inspirational jewelry to give her when I stumbled upon LuluBug. I’m smitten with her whimsical, original designs in sterling silver. My Chloe scored a locket that said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams…” but I’ve got my eye on several other pieces as well. Who could resist the “You are my sunshine” necklace?

Ingredient of the Month
Crushed Freshwater Pearls

Crushed Freshwater Pearls: Celebrated by Asian women and ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia for more than 3,000 years, pearl powder has a rich history and a myriad of legendary tales about its use at the Imperial Palace. Created by pulverizing real freshwater pearls, it is reputed to boost skins brightness and is rich in both amino acids and trace minerals.

Find it in: Shiitake & Green Tea Antioxidant Serum, Detoxifying Giinger-Wasabi Masque, Orchid & Crushed Pearl Body Creme

Food For Thought

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

- Steve Jobs

Home Spa Rituals
Lavender- Honey Milk Bath

3 tbsp. Dried Lavender Flowers*
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk or Buttermilk
1/3 cup Honey

Process lavender flowers in a blender until they become a powder, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides as necessary. Whisk together lavender powder, milk, and honey in a glass bowl, then pour into a jar. Before each use, shake the jar and pour half of the mixture into the bath. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes enough for 2 baths.

*Dried lavender flowers can be found in the spice section of gourmet and specialty stores. (Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board)

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Second verse, same as the first…

July 26, 2011

The powers that be in Washington DC recently debuted a piece of legislation which will radically change the natural personal care industry. Well, “debuted” may be too bold a word. Though they formally announced the introduction of the bill with lots of fanfare on June 24th, they didn’t actually make the text of the bill publicly accessible until July 4th. That’s right- while you were busy grilling, enjoying your family and perhaps a dip in the lake on Independence Day (a federal holiday, mind you), Congress quietly released the actual draft of the bill, which unfortunately isn’t nearly as rosy as all of their press made it out to be.

H.R. 2359, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 (full text can be found here) is a reworked version of the failed Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786), which was a failed version of the FDA Globalization Act of 2009 (H.R. 759), which was a failed version of the draft legislation known as the FDA Globalization Act of 2008. There’s lots of history here, but I’ll do my best to be succinct: The Environmental Working Group (EWG) bills itself as a political action committee dedicated to “protecting kids from toxic chemicals in our food, water, air and the products we use every day.” Sounds noble, no? Well, the problem is this: their assertions aren’t really backed by science. They’ve got an operating budget in the millions, which they wield around DC on issues that range from how store receipts are secretly killing you (I’m not making this up) to how we’ve all surrendered ourselves to lead poisoning if we use lipstick. So today I thought it might be appropriate to indulge in a little history lesson…

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In early 2004, EWG launched a new pet project, known as the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. Really, who’s NOT for safe cosmetics? As a new startup in the beauty industry, Bella Lucce eagerly became a signatory to their campaign, which was designed to appeal to cosmetic manufacturers to truthfully label their products and design as safe a product as possible. We were thrilled to sign on, but the mission of CFSC soon began to morph in ways large and small. I sensed they were pitting companies against each other, disseminating false information about “toxic” ingredients unsupported by actual scientific study and scaring consumers in an effort to control their purchasing power. In August of 2008, the CFSC released a letter, urging Congress to pass the newly-proposed-but-still-in-draft-stage FDA Globalization Act of 2008 (a potential disaster for small businesses with little to no benefit in the way of consumer safety). They indicated that not only did they support the legislation as drafted, they wanted to see it strengthened as well. The thousands of predominantly small companies they represented, however, were not consulted prior to the release and hundreds of companies began a rather public uproar about being misrepresented. Many asked to leave the campaign, but their requests fell on deaf ears and their company names were taken as hostages in legislative negotiations that benefited CFSC.

That same month, I made a trip to DC at the invitation of Donna Maria Coles Johnson of the Indie Beauty Network, the first trade group representing small businesses to tackle the issue in DC. Along with several industry leaders, we spent a day in meetings with key legislators, bill sponsors and the FDA, introducing them to the micro cosmetics industry and encouraging them to carefully think through the legislation. We were thankful to have our voices heard and thrilled to see that soon after the draft legislation stalled, having never made its way into a formal bill introduced into the House.

The celebrations of that success were short-lived, however. I flew from South Carolina to Boston in October of 2008 to attend CFSC’s annual meetings in hopes of raising my concerns and getting some clarification. Upon my arrival, I realized I wasn’t the only one- the meeting was full of representatives from agitated signatories who were all clamoring to be heard. So much so that CFSC couldn’t even get through their meeting agenda. I left the Boston meeting without clarification, but with a promise from their leadership that they would soon be in touch with myself and other small business leaders to begin a dialogue. It became painfully clear after flying home that the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics wasn’t really interested in open dialogue, as evidenced by numerous unreturned calls and emails from myself and the industry leaders they promised to speak with.

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In January of 2009, CFSC took another crack at the bat via the formal introduction of the FDA Globalization Act of 2009. This piece of flawed legislation made a few small business concessions in some sections of the bill while calling for legislation in other parts of the bill that would certainly cause the closure of most naturally focused companies manufacturing personal care products on a small scale. In April of 2009, I continued to attempt dialogue with CFSC via a public blog post, asking them to be frank with the public about the source of their funding and the direction of their efforts. Unfortunately, it all fell on deaf ears…again.

In September of 2009, I formally withdrew Bella Lucce’s name as a signatory to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. After receiving my request for removal, Connie Engel (a key player in the campaign) finally asked for that dialogue and requested that I elaborate on my concerns. I did, in a rather lengthy letter, which has never received so much as an acknowledgment from CFSC. Though it took several requests to their senior management to get our name “off the list”, I felt fortunate: several other companies I know had to beg repeatedly to be removed and one even threatened legal action via her attorney after months of being ignored. The FDA Globalization Act of 2009 hadn’t received much of any traction and died a quiet death.

Donna Maria led another delegation to Washington DC in December of 2009, of which I was again a part, in order to meet with legislators about ongoing concerns regarding state legislation and the PR campaign CFSC had launched to scare consumers into believing that cosmetics in this country aren’t regulated, though nothing could be further from the truth. We were welcomed into the offices of the FDA and members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to continue our previous dialogue.

A new year brought a new bill. Taking another bite at the apple, CFSC helped design HR 5786 (the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010), introduced in July. Though the bill was largely just another iteration of previous drafts, it had now been renamed the “Safe Cosmetics Act” in a brilliant PR move. Naturally, when responsible, reputable companies take a stand against the Safe Cosmetics Act, it gives their customers pause. Wait, shouldn’t you be FOR safe cosmetics? Let it never be said that CFSC isn’t a master of massaging public opinion. This time the legislation was accompanied by a video that can only be described as propaganda, produced in conjunction with CFSC- complete with drawings of women getting their hair done at the salon and immediately turning into skeletons. I truly do wish that were hyperbole or jest, but here’s a series of screenshots that illustrate otherwise.

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And back we went to DC in August of 2010, for another round of meetings with legislators, highlighting the lack of scientific support for these regulations and emphasizing how vital the negatively-impacted small business are to the American economy. Thankfully, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 died in committee after a formal introduction.

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As the old saying goes “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” And CFSC is nothing if not determined. Which leads us all the way up to present day and that June 24th introduction of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011. They’re still humming the same old tune- cosmetics are carcinogenic, unregulated, dangerous, etc. Except this time they’ve thrown in a small business exemption in an attempt to quell the public outcry by the small companies you might see on the shelves of Whole Foods or at your favorite spa or setting up shop at your local farmer’s market. And now they’ve fine-tuned their message even more by publicly stating on July 22nd: “hundreds of small businesses have been a part of the process!” Except that no one’s naming those hundreds of small businesses. They aren’t stepping forward with statements of support- I can count on (less than) one hand how many statements of support I’ve seen from small manufacturers who are traditionally at the forefront of natural products. And natural industry trade groups have issued a flurry of statements in opposition (see below for a more comprehensive list, including: National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and the Natural Perfumer’s Guild, along with the numerous microbiologists, aromatherapy experts and cosmetic chemists). So who are these “hundreds of small companies” who are quietly helping CFSC draft this legislation? No one seems to know. Will the real HR2359 supporters please stand up? Let’s hope this isn’t a replay from CFSC’s playbook: using their signatory list to endorse legislation which will decimate those signatories without so much as consulting them first. Only time will tell.

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And if this legislation is designed to promote safe, natural products, where is the groundswell of support from companies who are already making natural products and stand to benefit from a financial windfall by already being in position to sell to the public under these new “safer” regulations? I haven’t seen them- can someone point me in the right direction?

Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Support SCA 2011
by world-renowned aromatherapy expert Robert Tisserand

Commentary regarding SCA 2011 by two small cosmetics manufacturers: Emily Caswell of GCDSpa and Michelle Gilbert of Sarva Soap

“Break Through The Noise”, a video with that dispels several of the myths surrounding current FDA regulations, presented by the Personal Care Products Council, a trade group representing the largest cosmetic manufacturers

Statement of opposition to SCA2011 by the members of Indie Beauty, a trade group representing hundreds of microbusinesses, many of which are at the forefront of the natural product movement (who discovered that 95.9% of their membership who voted in a poll last week are opposed to the legislation)

Statement of opposition by Kayla Fioravanti of Essential Wholesale, one of the industry’s largest private label producers of natural care products and a small business advocate (especially helpful for manufacturers who want a play-by-play of each section of the new bill)

Statement of opposition by Personal Care Truth, a collective founded by two small businesses whose mission is to apply sound scientific principles in the cosmetics industry

A newly formed coalition, the Alliance of Independent Soap & Cosmetics Formulators, has launched a Facebook page aimed at getting the word out about the bill and encouraging activism amongst small companies

A blog by The Natural Bar Soap Company, highlighting many of the serious concerns raised by small businesses in regards to SCA 2011

Susan Apito, founder of the Natural Ingredients Resource Center, takes the bill to task and exposes it flaws in her blog

Dr. Cindy Jones is a noted microbiologist, a cosmetic chemist and a manufacturer of naturally-focused personal care products. She recently blogged about the numerous fallacies embedded in this new legislation

The owner of Samare Botane, a small business importing raw materials and creating their own line of spa and wellness products for more than 20 years published a blog that offers a nice history lesson about this legislation’s precursors and outlines her company’s opposition

Relic Soap, a Michigan-based manufacturer of specialty soaps, shares their fear of being shut down by SCA 2011 in a recent blog post

Sister Earth Organics, a new startup manufacturing natural products (founded by a breast cancer survivor) shares her concerns that SCA 2011 will quash her business before she even gets a chance to get her legs beneath her

The Natural Perfumers Guild had been all over Facebook, causing a ruckus with their opposition to the legislation


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Comments

Thank you for this extremely informative post! We’ll be passing it along. :)

Comments

What a super summary of the events of the past 4 years. Has it been that long? Geesh! Pleased to be working alongside you and others toward the common goal of continuing cosmetic safety without unduly harming small companies without any consumer benefit at all.

Comments

Its hard to fight a big business like the EWG. But our voices will be heard.

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