Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dear Burt's Bees: an open letter.

I've used Baby Bee Diaper Ointment on my babies for more than twelve years.  With a little one (or two) in diapers that entire time, that has added up to a LOT of ointment!  I usually buy in bulk, enough to last for a year or more.  When I ran out recently I bought a single new, chubby tube.  It was cute, handy at the store, and I didn't realize it was 1/3 smaller than the last of the tall, skinny tubes I had just emptied.  I noticed the fragrance of calendula when I first applied it, and loved the thought that you had improved your product.  Your ointment has been my go-to for whatever rashes my babies' skin can throw at me . . . and I always see dramatic improvement immediately.

Until now.

I've just struggled with a firey-hot, skin-peeling, angry red rash on my littlest guy for two weeks . . . still using the Baby Bee Diaper Ointment, slathering it on thicker and thicker, thinking it never failed me before, that it must be the different diapers I just bought, and with the addition of calendula to the formula, should work even better.  I tried two different brands of diapers, switched back to cloth, and none of it made a difference.  Two nights ago in desperation, after running out of that newly-purchased tube of ointment, I bought a tube of Bordeaux's all-natural stuff . . . and the rash is gone.  In bewilderment, I found the empty tube of Burt's Bees ointment where I had tossed it into the diaper changing caddy, and read the ingredients, only to discover that comfrey is no longer a part of your formula.  That renders the ointment so much less effective . . . and in this latest case of mine, completely ineffective.  Calendula smells wonderful, has great healing properties, but it lacks the powerful anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties of comfrey.

I'm so disappointed.  (That's an understatement.)  The wonder product I've given as shower gifts (many times) and urged friends to try (many times!) is now unreliable.  Your product size has dropped by 1/3 (local stores now only sell 2oz tubes), the price has increased by 1/3 (now $8 instead of $6), roughly doubling the price per ounce from $2 to $4.  I know that prices are increasing everywhere . . . but the drop in quality combined with the increase in price frustrates and disappoints me.  I'm fine with the economy raising prices . . . but don't short me on quality!  Your customers deserve better than that.  My little ones deserve better than that.  You've lost another customer, as this is the last product change I'm going to risk being snuck in while I'm not looking.  And I'm sad about that.

My experiences with your company have shown a slow but steady shift from truly natural, safe products to less natural, less safe ones.

Your toothpaste, for both children and adults, were our all-time favorites.  When I contacted you about discontinuing them, I was handed marketing-mumbo-jumbo about the products "not being the best they could be".  When I responded with more questions about what really happened, radio silence ensued.  There isn't anything like it on the market, and now I'm making my own toothpaste.

Looking at your creams and lotions, I've watched industrial preservatives (like sodium benzoate) sneaking in . . . along with ingredients I consider questionable (such as soybean oil -- hello, gmo's), and other ingredients that, while not strictly "SLS's", sure act like them, as known skin irritants with unknown long-term risks.  I'm sad that it seems profit motives have pushed your company away from the truly all-natural, edible products with which you began.

And, the final blow: faceless portions of apparently unclothed models for advertising.  Sorry.  I'm firmly against objectifying women to make a profit.  Prostitution lite, anyone?

Happy trails, Burt's Bees.  Adios.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Something I didn't know . . .

I just learned from a gluten-sensitive friend the physiological workings behind the anxiety and depression that can come with gluten exposure.  In susceptible individuals, gluten crosses the blood-brain barrier, and blocks the serotonin receptors.


A depressant drug in every bite.

This, then, makes me wonder if other people I know with diagnosed anxiety disorders could have their symptoms completely disappear if they would cut this scourge of modern frankenwheat out of their diets.  I know it sure does the trick for me . . . I'm so glad to be free of the anxiety, panic attacks, night terrors, and depression.  Yes, it takes some work to go gluten-free, but the benefits stand so tall, it's hard to even count the cost.

I think I need to make up a list, or even menu, of naturally gluten-free meals so those interested in trying gluten-free for a while don't have to go out and buy a bunch of expensive and different things.  I haven't yet found anything like this online, so we'll see.  Anyone interested?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happiness first, THEN Success.

This man has it spot on.  If we don't choose happiness, we don't live it.