I've been reading and researching again. Uh-oh, you know what that means: untangling the truth from the slippery great-sounding trash. Where to start?

Well, you remember the post back in December 2007? The one about exposé books? Most recently I've had my nose in Not Just a Pretty Face, the Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, collecting ammunition for an upcoming trip that will include short stays with friends who could use a little re-education. Hey, I understand that everyone has her own agenda, her own issues that are important. Toxic chemicals are my issue, my priority. And, like any good self-important egotist, I know that my issues are the most critical and everyone needs to be aware of them. Therefore, I need to know what I'm talking about when I suggest to them that they're killing me with their perfume, dryer sheets, hairspray, etc.

Chapter Ten in Not Just a Pretty Face starts with: "Cosmetics should be safe enough to eat," says Horst Rechelbacher, who founded Aveda ....

That's him in the picture. I've been reading everything I can find about him -- what a fascinating individual! If you look at the very first result of that Google search, you'll see it's Aveda's main site. BUT HIS NAME IS NOT MENTIONED ANYWHERE ON AVEDA'S SITE -- NOT EVEN IN THE HISTORY SECTION! So, long story short, he's a famous hairdresser from Austria, makes a boatload of money in Minneapolis, formulates a new hairspray, sells it and makes boatloads more money, talks to his mom who is an herbalist about making healthy/safe/botanical beauty products. He starts Aveda, which is Sanskrit for "all knowledge", in 1978. Aveda grows and grows and grows and everybody loves it because the philosophy behind everything they make and everything they do is "take care -- of the customers, the planet and each other." Horst is very Eastern and mystical that way. He eventually got burned out, I guess, because he sold Aveda to Estée Lauder for $300 million in 1997. He stayed on for a few years, partly to use the facilities and partly because he couldn't start a new company for a certain amount of time (couldn't be in competition with Lauder).

June 11, 2008—New York, NY—Horst Rechelbacher announced the launch of his new certified organic health and beauty brand, Intelligent Nutrients, at a press event in New York City. The health and beauty lifestyle brand, Intelligent Nutrients, was unveiled to the press and beauty industry and includes more than twenty SKUs for launch. The launch collection includes certified organic aromatics, certified organic scalp and hair care, certified organic hair styling, certified organic total body cleanser, certified organic lip delivery nutrition™, and the heart of the line—Intellimune™—an internal/external certified organic super antioxidant seed oil blend and tablets. This is the first phase of an entire lifestyle brand with future products to include skin care, body care, maternal/baby care, love therapy, pet care and INvironmental products for the home.

This new company of his looks and sounds almost too good to be true, but his history and track record say he means it. He's one very smart and caring and alive human being. I hope this current venture is hugely successful.

Before Estée Lauder purchased Aveda, a customer could feel safe using those products. A tiny bit of research, just a wee little look at SkinDeep, reveals that Aveda no longer enjoys it's previous reputation. No, they do not test on animals. That's a good thing. But NO, they have NOT signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics -- neither has Estée Lauder, but that doesn't come as a surprise. AVEDA'S PRODUCTS ARE NO LONGER SAFE TO USE (without checking the ingredients carefully). They are full of "fragrance" and we all know how dangerous that is: phthalates and other neuro-toxins abound.

Do your homework people! Burt's Bees is owned by Clorox, did you know that? And maybe Clorox hasn't dumped crap into the products (I'm not putting any money on that bet), but as far as I'm concerned, I will not give one red cent to the Clorox Company. They are part of the problem and they're busy back-pedaling and green-washing like crazy.

What say you?