Vegan Beauty Products

One of the many trends in cosmetics and personal care products in recent years are vegan beauty products.  Many companies, particularly those that fall into the spectrum of ‘natural’ and organic tout their products as being vegan.  While this is helpful for people who live a vegan lifestyle, it is not always an indicator of quality to those buying natural and organic products.  In some instances the word ‘vegan’, just like ‘gluten free’, is nothing more than a ‘creative’ marketing tactic.  What exactly are vegan beauty products, what do they offer, and what does this mean for natural and organic cosmetics and beauty products?

VEGAN

The word vegan is used to describe a person that does not eat or use any animal products.  Similar to vegetarians, vegans do not eat meat, however, the philosophies diverge as vegans do not eat any other animal products, which include food and cosmetic ingredients such as butter, beeswax, lanolin, lactic acid, and common ingredients like cetyl alcohol and glycerin.  Therefore, vegan beauty products are primarily plant based and may contain some synthetic ingredients.  Many vegan friendly beauty products are cruelty-free, meaning they not only contain to animals products but are not tested on animals.

VEGAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS

‘Vegan’ doesn’t mean ‘chemical free.’ The quality of ingredients depends on the product, as many companies offer products specifically for their vegan customers.  Many of the products featured in Label Poise are technically vegan, but some are not the best quality product available.  Determining how ingredients are derived is impossible, unless it is specifically labeled or you contact the company directly.  The cosmetic industry has overall moved away from using animal derived ingredients, opting for plant derived, however some ingredients are animal or petroleum derived.  Some ingredients, such as lanolin and beeswax are easily identifiable to avoid.  The main concerns are in facial cosmetics, such as lipstick, lip balms, eyeshadows, and some foundations, and some hair and skin products.

A conditioner formulated specifically for vegans.

Lanolin is not as common as in the past, but it is still used in many lip care products, including some that are 99.9% natural, which is not a misnomer but lends to the ambiguity of the word ‘natural.’  Natural has no set definition.  Though many tend to think of ‘natural’ as plant based, the term holds no definitive meaning.  Beeswax is likely one of the biggest culprits, as it is heavily used to replace synthetic emulsifiers and thickeners in natural and organic products.  Beeswax can be found in many lip balms and skin products, though it is not as common in hair products.  Some products, such as nail polish, use ‘vegan’ as a marketing tool.  Though the products are vegan, nail polish is essentially paint, i.e. chemicals, solvent, and mineral pigment, which typically requires no animals.  Though some may have used animal additives in the past, most nail polish brands, even the mainstream ones, are vegan.  The difference is that only some of them choose to label or market their products as vegan.

Vegan beauty products are great not only for vegans, but for all consumers who want to ensure that their products do not contain animal products.  My preference is for ingredients that are plant derived, though it is difficult to be certain that some ingredients are not derived from animal or petroleum sources if not specifies.  Beeswax is not one of my favorite ingredients, nor is lanolin, so this aligns with some of my preferences though the motivation is not the same.  As long as the product meets my label poise and is a high quality product, vegan beauty products are friend and not foe.  Several of the products reviewed (Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner, Carter Nail Polish, Evvie Nail Polish) on Nature’s Pulchritude are vegan, just by chance!  Look out for more posts delving into vegan beauty products!

 

Do you use vegan beauty products?  Why?  What are some of your favorite products?

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Content Request!

Here at Nature’s Pulchritude, our goal is to educate you on the various nuances of the beauty products and food that you use and consume.  Nature’s Pulchritude has several features that we believe helps to enrich our pulchritudinous readers.  However, we want to make sure we are meeting all of your needs and answering all of your questions!  Please answer the following questions in the comments to allow us to better meet your educational needs on ingredients, products, and nature.

What are your favorite features on Nature’s Pulchritude?

        • The Biosphere Weekly
        • Friend or Foe? (Ingredient Feature)
        • Pulchritude Critique (Product Reviews)
        • Label Poise (How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels)
        • Pulchritude
        • Educate Yourself (Varies, including current series on Preservatives)
        • The Globes

What is your least favorite feature on Nature’s Pulchritude?

        • The Biosphere Weekly
        • Friend or Foe? (Ingredient Feature)
        • Pulchritude Critique (Product Reviews)
        • Label Poise (How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels)
        • Pulchritude
        • Educate Yourself (Varies, including current series on Preservatives)
        • The Globes

What topics would you like discussed in the near future? (i.e. In depth analyses of specific ingredients, GMOs, agriculture, product formulation, insight into the environmental programs of beauty and food companies etc.)

Are there any products you would like reviews of; or featured in our Label Poise (How to Read Cosmetics Ingredient Labels) series?

Thank you for reading and sharing your feedback!  Please feel free to share any other tips or suggestions to enhance your experience at Nature’s Pulchritude!

Zoya Evvie (Swatches & Review)

Brand: Zoya
Color: Evvie
Collection: Designer Fall 2012 (NYFW)

ZoyaEvvie2NP

This is one of my favorite Fall/Winter colors.  It is a nice muted take on deep green, almost reminiscent of the shade of green used in army fatigues.  Zoya describes Carter as a “dark smoky grey cream with strong teal green undertones”.  This shade was custom-mixed for designer Peter Som’s runway shows during New York Fashion Week.  Zoya polishes are Big 5-Free (Toulene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Dibutyl Phthalate, Camphor).

Product/Formula

The formula on this was very good.  It is a simple creme and the formula was not too thick or too thin, which can happen with creme shades.

1 Globe

Zoya Evvie
Zoya Evvie

Application

I applied 2 coats for full coverage.  The application was very good, was not streaky, and evened out well on the nail.

1 Globe

Color

This color is deep yet has a grey overcast to it.  It is truly a lovely and unique shade.  This shade looks slightly darker on the nail than in the bottle, but it does not lessen the appeal of the polish.  It is cool toned, but would work with all undertones.

1 Globe

Zoya Evvie (Shade)
Zoya Evvie (Shade)

Wear

This polish wore very well.  After 5 days of wear I only had minor tip wear.   Zoya states that you can get up to 14 days of wear if you follow their instructions and use their base and top coats.  I used a different base and top coat and still had pretty good wear.

0.95 Globes

EnviroFactor

Ingredients: Butyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate Nitrocellulose, Acetyl Tributyl Citrate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Ste[a]r[al]konium Hectroite, Acrylates Copolymer, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer

As aforementioned, this product does not contain toulene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate, or camphor.  Some of the ingredients it contains are toxic to the lungs and nervous system, which is not at all surprising considering it is nail polish.  It is best to polish nails in a well ventilated area and do not inhale over an open bottle.

0.9 Globes

 

This polish is a keeper and a Nature’s Pulchritude All-Star.  Not only is it a great product, but it does not contain any of the common chemicals used in nail polish that are known to be toxic!

4.85/5 Globes

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XII

Two weeks ago I told you about my Label Poise experiment, where I was on the hunt for a lotion that met my standards.  Out of about 50 products, I found 1 lotion that was somewhat suitable.  Many of the lotions I expected to have better ingredients, based on brand recognition and marketing, did not.  I was almost surprised.  This one of the lotions I expected to have good, if not great, ingredients.

The Label

LabelPoise12

The Ingredients

Water (Eau):  Safe!  Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in any moisturizing product.

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil: Safe!/Beware!  Soybean oil is used as an emollient and emulsifier.  Produced from soy beans, this oil may be genetically modified, contaminated with pesticides, and thus contain a lower linolenic acid content.  A source of origin would clarify this. Other than GMO and pesticide contamination, soybean oil is not known to be toxic or carcinogenic.

Cocoglycerides:  Beware!   This ingredient is used as an emulsifier, emollient and thickener.  It is made of mono-, di-, and tri- glycerides derived from coconut.  Cocoglycerides are deemed safe for use by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review at presently used concentrations (0.4 – 14% for all products reviewed during 2006-2008), however, it does not have a MSDS.  This ingredient may very well be Safe!, however, that determination cannot be confidently made until there is toxicology information released for cocoglycerides.

Glyceryl Stearate:  Safe!  Also known as Glyceryl Monostearate, this ingredient is typically derived from vegetable sources such as palm kernel and soy oil, and is the glycerol ester of stearic acid.  It is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, lubricant, and decreases the ‘greasiness’ of oils.  It is believed to form a barrier on the skin to decrease moisture loss.  In pure form is is a slight skin irritant.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity. This ingredient is considered “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA.  (MSDSMSDS )

Dimethicone: Beware!  Dimethicone is a synthetic chemical polymer siloxane derived from silica.   They are used as a skin conditioning agent and form a protective barrier on the skin that prevents moisture from leaving or entering, which can be harmful to skin.  Dimethicone is the 5th ingredient in this product indicating its (quantity) in the formula.   (MSDS)

Glycerin:  Safe!  Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Cetearyl Alcohol:  Safe!  Typically naturally derived from Coconut and Palm Oils (though it can be derived synthetically), it is a mixture of Cetyl and Stearyl fatty alcohols.  This ingredient acts as a thickener and moisturizer in personal care products.  In pure form,  this ingredient can be a slight skin irritant and permeator, and is toxic to mucous membranes.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity.  (MSDS)

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate:   Safe!  This ingredient is an ester of plant derived lactic acid and a fatty acid (stearic acid) that has been neutralized by sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate.  Though it is commonly used in food products, it serves as an emollient, emulsifier, and conditioner in personal care products.  It is typically used in concentrations of 0.5-10% by weight of the formula it is in.  This product is available EcoCert (international organic certification), though this product does not indicate that this ingredient is organic.  In pure form, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate is a slight skin irritant and is not believed to be toxic.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity.  There is some small incidence of allergies (contact dermatitis) to this ingredient.  (MSDS)

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil:  Safe!  Sunflower Oil is comprised of triglycerides (esters of glycerol and fatty acids) and has high Vitamin E content.  It primarily acts as an emollient and assists the skin in retaining moisture.

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter):  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the nut of the Shea Tree and is used for its moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil:  Safe!  This ingredient is made by pressing macadamia nuts and is used for its moisturizing and emollient properties.  If you are allergic to tree nuts or macadamia nuts, Beware!

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice:  Safe!  This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract:  Safe!  Oat Meal Extract is used for its anti-fungal, anti-inflammation, and believed beneficial properties for the skin.  It is typically used in concentrations of 1-10% by weight of the formulation.  It is not believed to be toxic.  (MSDS)

Cucumus Sativus (Cucumber) Root Extract:  Avoid!  Little information is available about Cucumber Root, there is plentiful information about Cucumber Fruit Extract.  The CIR does not have Cucumber Root listed with 7 other cucumber derived ingredients, therefore as a precaution this will be labeled Avoid! due to lack of information.  Please note that it may not be toxic in any manner, but there is no information to support that claim.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate:  Safe!  Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is an oil-soluble Vitamin C ester.  It has a high lipid (fat) content and is believed to bind to skin better than Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid).  It is believed to improve collagen production, have high antioxidant activity, and clarify and brighten skin by preventing pigment formation. It is typically used in formula in concentrations of 0.5-2% by weight, but can be used up to 10%.  Avoid!  if you are weary of the ‘brightening’ and prevention of pigment formation caused by this product.  (MSDS; MSDS)

Tocopheryl Acetate:  Safe!/Beware!  Tocpheryl Acetate is has antioxidant properties and can penetrate skin cells. It is generally regarded as safe however I saw some information (not on a MSDS) linking it to cancer so use your best discretion. (MSDS)

Retinyl Palmitate:  Beware!  Retinyl Palmitate is an ester of Retinol (Vitamin A) and palmitic acid (fatty acids of palm oil).  It is readily absorbed into the skin where it is converted to Retinol.  It is believed to add in collagen production, though it is concerned less effective in quantities lower than 20%, which is likely the concentration (<20%) in this product.  This ingredient is suspected to photomutagenic and forms free radicals.  It is also a suspected carcinogen and developmental toxin.  It may be toxic to the liver, central nervous system, skin, and gastrointestinal tract in pure form.  (MSDS)

Fragrance (Parfum):  Beware!  Fragrances are often synthetic. Though they are low in concentration in the product, here is still a small chance of having an allergic reaction.

Carbomer:  Beware!  Used as a thickener, typically at very low concentrations. This ingredient is not toxic, but can be slightly hazardous upon skin contact.  Concentrations likely not high enough to be hazardous.  (MSDS)

Methylchloroisothiazolinone:  Beware!  This ingredient is a preservative that is a known skin irritant, sensitize and allergen, as well as lung and eye irritant. It has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is not known to be a carcinogen, though it is a skin sensitizer that can cause rashes and eczema in certain individuals. Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). No individual MSDS found.

Methylisotiazolinone:  Beware!  This preservative is a known skin irritant, sensitizer, and allergen; lung and eye irritant. Methylisothiazolinone has been linked to allergic contact dermatitis was named Contact Allergen of the Year in 2013. It is also believed to cause burns in pure form. This ingredient is also believed to be cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) and neurotoxic (toxic tot he nervous system) based on various studies, though information has been refuted due to the low exposure based on quantity in cosmetic formulas. It is not known to be carcinogenic. This ingredient is one of many that have been used to replace parabens. Methylisothiazolinone is also very toxic to aquatic organisms in pure form. Limited to no greater than 0.0015% in rinse of products in EU and US (in conjuction with Methylisothiazolinone 3:1). (MSDS)

DMDM Hydantoin:  Avoid!  This product is a used as a preservative and prevents (or slows) microbial growth in personal care products. This ingredient works by releasing formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) to kill or prevent microorganisms. In concentrations over 0.2% it is suspected to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant and may cause contact dermatitis.  (MSDS)

Sodium Hydroxide:  Beware!  Also known as caustic soda or lye, this ingredient is likely used to aid surfactants or increase pH. In pure form it can be dangerous, toxic to eyes, lungs, and skin, though it is typically used in low concentrations in personal care products. (MSDS)

Ingredients in this product has slightly changed!  New ingredients are in bold, removed ingredient is struck-through (via company website):

Water (Eau), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cocoglycerides, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract, Cucumus Sativus (Cucumber) Root Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Fragrance (Parfum), Carbomer, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisotiazolinone, DMDM Hydantoin, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, BHT.

Though they are at the end of the list.  Tetrasodium EDTA and BHT are not ingredients you would want to use!

 

Nature’s Pulchritude Verdict:  I would not purchase this lotion.  It may be an effective moisturizer but it does not meet my Label Poise.  The 3 of the first 5 ingredients are okay, with Cocoglycerides and Dimethicone being ingredients you should be cautious of (Beware!).  I am not big on soybean oil and not knowing the source of origin of the soybeans (GMO or organic) does not make me willing to compromise.  The biggest concerns within this product are Cucumber Root Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, and Methylisotiazolinone.  This product is listed at 97% natural and paraben free, despite the fact that ‘natural’ is an arbitrary term and the replacement for parabens can be a skin allergen and carcinogenic (formaldehyde releaser).  Though Cucumber Root Extract sounds innocuous and safe, that does not mean that it is.  The fact that the product has been reformulated to remove the Cucumber Root Extract solidifies my stance on categorizing ingredients with no available information as ‘Avoid! ‘ as a precaution.  The added ingredients are preservatives.

 

Would you buy this lotion?

Do Natural/Organic/Environmentally Friendly Products Work As Well or Better?

I’m sure those of you that follow Nature’s Pulchritude may wonder if this is a legitimate question.  It is!  There are a lot of sales on natural, organic, and environmentally products this week in honor of Earth Day, which is a great opportunity to try new things and replace products that may have undesirable chemicals in them.  While we clearly advocate for the use of natural and organic personal care products, not all products are created equally.

From my experience, the following products have worked better than conventional products: lotions, creams, and butters; nail polish; shampoo and conditioner.  On the contrary, I am not particularly fond of several of the natural and organic lip balms I have tried.  Two areas I have not really explored are conventional makeup (mascara, foundation, eyeshadow, blush, etc.) and cleaning products (laundry detergent, hand soaps, etc).  While there are several brands that offer naturally and organic beauty products, do they work as well?  Can they achieve the same effect as someone’s favorite lip gloss or mascara without the chemicals?  I have seen several great reviews about natural lipsticks, all of which have been by the same brand.  I’ve intentionally avoided some ‘environmentally friendly’ cleaning products, primarily for health and hygiene reasons.  While I, like many of you, am very conscious of the ingredients in my products but want the products to work well and serve their purpose whether or aesthetic or hygienic reasons.

 

Do you think natural, organic, and environmentally friend products work as well?  What category of products need improvement to compete with or out perform traditional products?

 

Earth Day Challenge

 

I challenge you to celebrate Earth Day today by simply being conscious.  Conscious of all the things that you do that require a natural resource and/or negatively impact the environment.  Some environmentally friendly activities have become common: reduce your water, electricity, and gasoline usage; reuse or recycle; eat locally etc.  Today I challenge you to dig a little deeper.  While all of the aforementioned things are important to do to help conserve natural resources, they are just the tip of the iceberg.

Where does your electricity come from?  Chances are it comes from a fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas), which are the biggest threat to the environment and their use are causing anthropogenic climate change.  Where do your produce, meats, and packed foods come from?  Unless you are buying local, chances are it is being shipped using fossil fuels–even if it grown organically.  Where is the fabric from your clothes sourced?  Hopefully its not from recently converted forests which caused species loss, but agricultural land, even though that too is likely shipped using fossil fuels.  Where do the ingredients in you personal care products come from?  If they are natural ingredients, they grew somewhere.  Even if that natural ingredient was grown organic, it was likely shipped, manufactured, and distributed using fossil fuels.  Synthetic materials are no better as they are often manufactured using fossil fuels too.

Think about the computer, tablet, smartphone or other gadget you are reading this very post on.  What is in that electronic device?  Minerals, hopefully sourced from stable regions.  Mining is one of the most environmentally damaging practices that exist.  Those minerals are then transported, processed, and manufactured using fossil fuels, and hopefully involved no human rights abuses.  What about the electricity or battery that is allowing your computer, tablet, or phone to function?  That, too, is powered by fossil fuels and other natural resources.  My point is for you to really think about the role the environment and its resources enrich your life and how in turn you or the products you buy are reciprocating that enrichment.  Today I challenge you to live consciously in honor of Earth Day.  Hopefully this will not be a one time state of consciousness, but a lifestyle change.  After all, we cannot appreciate Nature’s Pulchritude if nature is continuously degraded?

Earth Day Sales and Deals!

CVS

NPCVSEarthDay

Buy $30 worth of ANY Shea Moisture, Nubian, etc.  products and receive $10 of Extrabucks Rewards for your next purchase.  See add for all brands and full details.

Zoya

Buy 6 – 24 Zoya polishes and receive a 50% discount applied to your cart when you use code ZDAY2014.  Send Zoya unwanted or empty polish bottles from other brands only so they can dispose of them according to EPA standards.  Offer is NOT contingent on sending in unwanted polishes. For more information visit Zoya’s blog.

Saffron Rouge

Enjoy  20% off select items and colors from select brands.  Starting Saturday, April 19th through Tuesday April 22nd EST, all Earth Day Sale items will be marked down 20% off. Simply add the item to your cart and the discount will be applied. Quantities are limited, and all sales are final.

 

Aubrey Organics

“This weekend we are celebrating Earth Day 2014 with an amazing website-wide sale: SAVE 25% on ALL Aubrey products! Stock up on all your favorites like our newly repackaged shampoos and conditioners, or our top-selling skin care systems, now formulated with clinically proven ingredients.  And remember: Enjoy FREE shipping on all orders of $25 or more for even greater savings!*
*Offer is good through 11:59 PM Tuesday, April 22, 2014 and cannot be combined with other discounts. Web orders only, please.  FREE standard shipping applies to contiguous U.S. only (lower 48 states); no P.O boxes.

 

This is a great way to check out various natural and organic products!

What natural and organic products will you be buying?

Pulchritude: Avocado Tree

Best known for its fruit, the avocado tree is native to Mexico and central America.  The avocado is the primary ingredient in guacamole, and its fruit is often added to sandwiches or pressed for its oil for culinary and cosmetic purposes.  The avocado tree (persea americana) classified as a flowering plant as the same family as cinnamon, its fruit is botanically classified as a berry.  Avocado trees grow as large as 66 feet tall, with leaves that are 4.7-9.8 inches in length.  Its flowers are small and greenish yellow in color, growing between 0.2 and 0.4 inches in width.  The undomesticated avocado, criollo, is believed to have originated in Puebla, Mexico.  Presently there are 2 classes of domesticated avocado cultivators, A and B.  The most popular avocado is an A cultivator, Haas.  Avocado oil is highly regard for its believed moisturizing and regenerative effects on the skin.  The oldest known evidence of avocado use dates back to 10,000 B.C. based on finding in a cave in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico.  The Aztecs are believed to have used avocados to make guacamole by at least the 1500’s.

Healthy Playoff Snack: Guacamole

It is playoff time in both the NBA and NHL.  What better way to enjoy watching a game, your favorite team (or least favorite) play than with good people and good food?!  Guacamole is a delicious all natural snack that is high in vitamin B5, B6, K, and Folate.  It can be paired with organic tortilla chips, plantain chips, or added as a condiment to various foods.

NPGuac

Guacamole

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
Recipe Courtesy:  Alton Brown

Ingredients
  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Directions
  1. In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat.  Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.
  2. Using a potato masher or pastry blender add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash.
  3. Fold in the onions, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.  Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice.
  4. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

I really enjoyed this recipe.  It was full of flavor and had a nice amount of heat from the jalepeños.  Any of these ingredients can be purchased organic.  As with any recipe you can add or decrease the quantities of the ingredients to your personal taste.  I made this recipe twice with 1 avocado so I divided the quantity of each ingredient by 3 with the exception of the cilanto, garlic, and onion, of which I used the amount listed, and jalepeños of which I added in one 1/2″ thick slice (jar).  I did not drain the lime juice from the avocados, but be sure not to add too much lime.  You can use any type of onion, I used a red onion, but a white or yellow onion would also complement the flavors of the guacamole.  Be sure to dice the onion to a desirable size, preferably small.  This recipe should last between 3-5 days, refrigerated, before turning brown.