I’m cutting to the chase here. I realize sunscreens and their bad chemical raps has confused, and possibly scared, us all. I, myself can’t keep Avobenzone straight from Oxybenzone, but I know I don’t want either of them in my sunscreen. Especially not my kids’ sunscreen. Same goes for paraben, phthalates, PABA, nano-particles and aerosol.

Is your head spinning yet? Has searching the EWR made you more confused?

Just buy this. It’s vetted and it works. I’ve tried all the “safe” ones and Thinksport wins.

It absorbs fast and easily. It truly stays water-resistant for 80 minutes. I like that it has a higher SPF than most– and your kids won’t look like they’re wearing kabuki makeup.

More of my sunscreen favorites here.


It’s so true that parents tend to be more relaxed with their second child. For example, when I dash out with my two year old, I stash a single diaper in my purse and go. My husband lets her jump from heights that scare even me. But ok. Tummy ache? Fever? I don’t even have the pediatrician on my iPhone favorites list.

But sometimes my laissez-faire attitude fails us.

The first offense was a few weeks ago with chewing gum. My little one, sitting in the shopping cart at the grocery store, all cherub cheeks and doll eyes, wanted a piece of the bubble gum I grabbed at checkout. I should have known better, entertaining her with my epic bubble blowing skills. Of course she’d want in on that action. So I tried to explain that she couldn’t swallow it. It’s not food, I spoke slowly, wondering if a: she could grasp the concept of putting something delicious in her mouth without the purpose of ingesting it, and b: could she actually *just* chew it.

I’ll bet you know how that story ended.

That’s why when said toddler wanted nail polish, I hesitated. No way could she keep those pudgy little fingers out of her mouth. So we negotiated one tiny sky blue pinky nail. If she ate it, I reasoned, it wasn’t a lot of surface area, and at least it was non-toxic kid polish.

But I cringed when I couldn’t pronounce the ingredients listed on the bottle.

Enter Kid Licks, the utterly genius nail polish made from organic food. Totally edible. Nothing you can’t pronounce. For example, here’s the ingredients in their red polish: water, organic beets, organic acacia, organic corn starch, citric acid. That is all.

Plus, the polishes are vegan, non-GMO and cruelty free.

It’s like a new beauty frontier!

When I realized I had no less than ten small tubes of Aquaphor around the house, in every purse and in the glove compartment of my car, I resolved to go greener.

This lovely balm is an all-natural, oil-free alternative to petroleum jelly. Use it exactly the same way you would use it’s less natural counterpart: on dry skin, cuts, diaper rash, cuticles, eczema—on anyone, anywhere, really.

Made with food-grade edible ingredients and no harmful chemicals. It’s also not tested on animals.  You can buy three for less than $15 on Amazon.


I can’t get my girls out of the pool this summer. I would never spoil their fun, but I’ve been cringing inside at the thought of all the chlorine saturating their beautiful, silky kid hair.

Then I discovered this amazing shampoo. Unlike most swimmers’ shampoos that use icky sodium thiosulfate to remove chlorine, Malibu C contains only natural ingredients. It’s gentle on hair but feels totally luxurious. Great for both kids and adults, it made my hair soft and shiny, too. What’s more is that it protects hair between shampoos by infusing it with powerful antioxidants.

Derived from coconut, loaded with rice and flax proteins, plus vitamin B5, Malibu C Swimmers Wellness shampoo is also free of sulfates, parabens, gluten and sodium chloride. It’s the only shampoo I’m using on my kids all sumer.

And for $15 it’s a no brainer.

P.S. I still hate getting my hair wet so I’ve been logging my time in the pool wearing this miracle swim cap— under my SPF 50 sun hat.

That’s my littlest one safely soaking in the sun. I just love that picture. She’s not even two there but doesn’t she have the calm of an 80 year-old on that raft? She kills me.

I take sun protection very seriously in my house. Both my girls know the routine: sunscreen stick on face, “sun lotion” all over body, SPF shirts and hats. Non-negotiable. Like me, my daughters are very fair and burn in a matter of minutes.

I know how confusing the safety of sunscreen can be these days. The difference between what is organic, green and non-toxic can make your head spin. That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce new BeautyMama contributor, Melissa Schweiger Kleinman. I met Melissa after I fell in love with her bookBelli Beautiful: The Essential Guide to the Safest Health and Beauty Products for Pregnancy, Mom and Baby. Melissa’s beauty expertise runs deep—she has written about beauty for national magazines and websites, including Marie Claire, Shape and Women’s Wear Daily to name a few, and was the beauty editor for Sephora.

I love Melissa because she names names—I just buy whatever she says. Her book is like an index of the best and safest makeup and skincare, head to toe. So much easier than shopping and searching the EWG!

So without further ado, here is Melissa’s golden sunscreen advice:

On the heels of a new report from the CDC that melanoma rates have tripled in the past three decades, sun protection has never been more important. I’ve been religious about using SPF 30 for over a decade now. But it was more for vanity back then than anything else. I realized my skin just looked better without all those brown spots. Plus my skin is on the paler side, so I always had to burn before I tanned, with the actual bronze lasting a matter of days before it peeled off.

My daily SPF in my late 20s and early 30s was a chemical sunblock. It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I rethought which type of sunblock to use—mineral or chemical. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are considered mineral or physical sunblocks. They basically act as a mirror and reflect the UV rays away from your skin. The skin does not absorb these types of sunblocks, as they just sit on the skin’s surface. Chemical sunblocks work by converting the UV light into safe red light, but they do get absorbed into the skin. The benefit of chemical sunscreen is that it cosmetically looks better, leaving no telltale white finish on the skin.

While there is no scientific data showing chemical sunscreens to pose any real danger to our health, I still opt to use mostly physical blocks. My skin is very sensitive and since chemical sunscreens do get absorbed, they can cause allergic reactions in the skin. In the end, you need to choose a formulation you can feel good about applying every day with no issue. As Dr. Darrell Rigel, one of the dermatologists I work with at Schweiger Dermatology Group, says: “The best sunscreen for you is the one you’re going to use.”

Here, my picks for the best performing and best feeling SPFs:

For Mama

Face: MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 30 Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB and Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense.

Body: Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 and Elta MD UV Pure Broad Spectrum SPF 47.

For Kids

 Babo Botanicals Sport Stick SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen.

Body: Honest Company Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30.

Melissa’s Sun-Safe Tips

• Seek shade whenever possible. Find playgrounds that have shade tents for the kids.
• Wear hats! I love this chlorine-resistant bucket hat from Coolibar.
• Invest in some chic UPF clothing. I would buy the whole collection from Mott50 if I could. I especially love their lightweight cardigans.
• If you’re applying a spray SPF, make sure to apply two coats. You never know how much is ending up in the air and not on your skin.
• Make slathering on the SPF a non-negotiable for your kids. It should be as automatic as brushing their teeth in the morning.
• If you let your kids apply their own SPF (highly recommend the stick kind), they’ll actually look forward to doing it.

Melissa Schweiger Kleinman is the director of content and communications at Schweiger Dermatology Group and the author of Belli Beautiful: The Essential Guide to the Safest Health and Beauty Products for Pregnancy, Mom and Baby.

Ok, so you know how you have a medicine cabinet full of Rx’s and remedies you may or may not use all the time? But they’re there, as they should be, for that one day (or middle of night) when you really, really need that (hopefully not expired) cough syrup from that brutal cold you had last winter.

Well, I feel that way about my “hair cabinet.” I’ve got mousses, gels, smoothing creams, heat protectant spray, hair spray, shine serums, dry shampoos and leave-in conditioners I can’t live without, at least some of the time. And this difficult-to-categorize hair wax/pomade has had a permanent spot next to my Living Proof family for a while.

It’s a wax but with a not-too-waxy consistency that becomes soft when you work it between your fingers. It’s made up of a scant six ingredients, half of which are coconut oil, canola oil and beeswax, so you get a big dose of shine. But here’s what’s key about this product: it provides light hold. You get definition and control without losing softness. So your hair moves and isn’t weighed down. Too vague? Here’s how I use it:

-to tame and add texture to a fresh blowout that might be too bouncy or big.

-to keep fly aways down when wearing my hair back.

-to tame my girls’ fly aways.

-to get that “second day hair” look on any day.

Oh, and I used it on my husband on Halloween to force a side-part  on his very short hair.

Make sense? You might have to try it to really understand. It’s one of those products you don’t realize you need, no matter your hair type. And then, one day, you experiment with some giant hot rollers and your hair is as big as Texas and you thank your stars you’ve got this little green jar of magic to turn your hair from Dolly Parton to Daryl Hannah in Splash, in a flash.