SW Harmony vs BM Aura vs Mythic paint...

catlinceJune 27, 2011

This has probably been discussed to death, but I didn't see a thread specifically comparing these products. I'm getting the picture that Aura is awesome and amazing. However, it is very important to me to be as non-toxic as possible. I have been using SW Harmony paint tinted to mostly BM colors, but I have fallen in love with some of the Affinity colors from Ben Moore and understand that I have to have them mixed in Aura.

So I'm really debating these products. I don't find myself having to scrub a bunch of walls, and I'm having painters do the work (so I'm not so worried about the application per se). Is Aura really so fabulous and wonderful that it's worth the small amount of VOC that it involves, versus going with a totally zero VOC product? I haven't gotten to sample the Mythic colors, but online there seem to be some good ones, and I'm heading to a dealer tomorrow to get some samples of that. But it seems that the finish of Aura is really something special...depth of color that the others don't offer.

Oh and I should add that my painters are scheduled for this thursday, so I don't have a lot of time to decide or to order specialty products online, etc.

I would so appreciate any opinions!

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This is a subject near and dear to me because I have a child who is pretty chemically sensitive (gets migraines/intractable migraines) so I have to be very careful about stuff I use at home.

No/Low VOC does not mean that it's non-toxic---just means it won't harm the environment. Before I knew this I bought some SW Harmony thinking it would be fine, but I only painted a few sample patches in my kitchen and my son got a migraine.

I did some more research and found out about Mythic which in addition to being no VOC is also non-toxic (apparently you can eat it??). Well, my son had no trouble with it at all. It's very low odor (the SW was not! It stunk!!).

So anyway, if you are only concerned with the paint's environmental impact, SW is fine, but if you have physical issues with chemicals, I'd go with Mythic (I know nothing about BM---sorry). HTH!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 11:26PM
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Intersting - thanks!! Wow, so the no-voc is still off-gassing then? I'll have to find out more about that. I thought I was doing so good by getting that kind. I have three little boys including a baby, and want our air quality to be as healthy as possible (and everything &*(%& off-gasses, so I'm not sure how much difference I'm making).

Ok, I'm going to check out Mythic today and hope I can find some colors that will work...

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 9:18AM
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Full disclosure here...I've been in the business of selling healthy building materials for almost 20 years. I have over 3000 customers worldwide that suffer from a disease called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. These folks purchase products from my company specifically because of their need to eliminate toxic outgassing from the products used in their homes.

VOC's and toxins are two completely separate things. Volatile Organic Compounds are any carbon based molecules that are readily vaporized at room temperature, that COULD react with UV and nitrogen to create low-level smog. The EPA regulates the use of VOC's only because of OUTDOOR air pollution. There is no regulation for VOC's due to any human health concerns. Not all VOC's are toxins. Peel the skin off an orange and you will be releasing 850 grams per liter of VOC's. Walk into a pine forest and you'll be surrounded by the VOC's coming from the pine terpenes. Neither of these are considered harmful.

Typical zero VOC paints can still contain health hazards and toxins. Unregulated VOC's such as ammonia, acetone and butyl acetate are frequently used and do not have to be disclosed. While formaldehyde has been banned from paint, most manufacturers still include formaldehyde precursors. These ingredients will actually create formaldehyde as the paint dries.

The only paint I recommend to my clients is AFM Safecoat. They developed a complete line of paints, stains, clear finishes, etc. almost 30 years ago, specifically to address the concerns of the most sensitive individuals. The mythic product is unproven with my clients. Since its actually made by ACE Hardware, many of my clients are reluctant to even attempt trying it.

By the way, I wouldn't recommend eating ANY of these paints. They all contain acrylic, which is just a liquid plastic. Whomever told you this is OK is completely misguided and should stop spreading this dangerous information.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:35AM
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And here I thought I was so good for buying Harmony:) Thanks for the information ajpace, learn something new every day! I do have one dealer here in Austin for Safecoat. I'll make the drive today and check them out. I'm assuming they can't match colors to other brands...

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 1:03PM
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catlince...The dealer in Austin should be able to help with color matching. I would suggest calling them first, just to be safe though.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:10PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

aj - I'd give you a big ol "Like" thumbs-up button for a great post if we had those here like FaceBook does.

But, I thought the mastermind behind Mythic used to work for ACE. Thought the story was the lead chemist (or some really smart guy like that) left ACE to start his own line of paint -- which we know today to be Mythic Paints.

I could be mistaken, however.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:36AM
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I have used both Aura and Harmony. I like painting with harmony better, but painted with Aura when I was pregnant (windows open) and didn't feel concerned. There are some really pretty colors in the Aura line, and I love BM colors anyway, although right now my home is 1/2 BM, 1/2 SW colors! Like others have said, low VOC doesn't mean it isn't bringing stuff into your home....but you do that everytime you bring new clothing/toys/products into your home. You have to make your own mind up if your family can handle enough chemicals to paint your home the colors you want.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 9:34AM
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Yes, like C2 (made by California), Mythic is also just a marketing organization, their product is made by Ace. Not necessarily a good or bad thing, it simply means their products are made by folks that are also making lots of other stuff with the same equipment. It pays to ignore most of the marketing hyperbole (i.e. claims like non-toxic) and focus on proof of performance - that is, to what extent does the company prove what it says by using third party testing validation like small chamber testing and ASTM VOC testing.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:15AM
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funcolors...The guy who started Mythic actually came out with a paint called American Pride first (also made by ACE). It was sold specifically as a zero-VOC, low cost paint. The product really didn't catch on and they never really took market share away from AFM or the big paint companies. So, he got millions of investment dollars, hired a really good marketing company and launched Mythic. In their own words, they have admitted that American Pride and Mythic are the exact same product. Funny thing is, Mythic is about $15 per gallon more. Also, its now being called "non-toxic". It wasn't "non-toxic" when it was $15 per gallon cheaper and a different name.

Paintguy1... yes, great marketing. That's what a $20M investment will do. Regarding third-party testing...that's all good, but it really depends on what you are testing for. There is no testing protocol for non-regulated VOCs, SVOC's and other hazardous air pollutants that are also toxic to humans. Until this is available, I take advice from my most chemically sensitive customers. They tell me that AFM Safecoat is the only product they can use. I believe them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Degree of Green product rating system

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:06PM
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I just used some Ben Moore Regal Select Paint & Primer on ceiling trim and was really happy with how it went on. Most of the boards I primed anyway because they were raw wood, but I had to send DH back for more and he got a pre-primed piece, which I didn't prime, just painted. I don't see any brush strokes, and I've been really happy with how the Regal Select goes on and covers, both on walls and trim. I don't see brushstrokes on the trim at all (of course, the matte finish and my Purdy Chinex brush probably help with that).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:00PM
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Don't mind me, I'm just making no sense...
I meant to post that reply to another thread & I'm not exactly sure how I ended up back on this one. Sorry, y'all!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:02PM
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Lori A. Sawaya



Darnnit, we SO need one of those buttons on the Garden Web.

Thanks for the great shares aj and pg1 - love hearing all the backstories. Interesting stuff.

I guess that $20 million is helping pay for David Bromstadt as Mythic's spokesperson. Who is uber talented and just cute as a button - money well spent, IMHO. ;)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 7:22PM
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I felt I had to come back and repost since many seem to be doing a pile on re: Mythic paint. I had the choice to use Safecoat, but when I smelled it, it stunk a lot worse than the Mythic. Plus, being non-toxic DOES mean something. I never suggested you should eat it!!! However, if a child/pet happened to get into it and ingest some, they would not be harmed----that is HUGE in my book! They can't label it non-toxic unless it is, so I don't know why they originally left this off the label, but if you have kids, I would think this would be important.

I don't give a rat's ass who makes Mythic, all I care about is that my son doesn't end up in the ER/hospital because of the off gassing. With Mythic I know he won't.

From the level of Mythic bashing going on (esp. from the Safecoat distributer), Mythic must be kicking Safecoat's butt in sales lately ;)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 9:00PM
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scrappy... many aren't piling on mythic, just me :) Are they kicking our butt in sales? not really. We have a completely different customer base.

funcolors... I agree about Bromstadt. He's a great spokesperson and hopefully worth the millions spent.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 12:17AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Oh no, scrappy, I'm certainly not dingin' Mythic. I've never had the opportunity to use it - my favorite flavor of paint for the ultra sensitive among us is ICI's LifeMaster (in eggshell to be specific). The accurate information aj shared about VOCs etc was done well -- and very helpful. He/she was very open about why his/her point of view about specific products might be biased. Understandable.

I've personally shared the Mythic link a bunch of times on the forum(s) so people can check it out and decide for themselves.

There's plenty of paint love to go 'round. Plenty of room for everyone to have and share (respectfully) uber-opinionated-opinion if they want. And the inherent nature of public forums tells us that those opinions can sometimes be opposing.

Which is what makes them such a great resource for learning and exposure to new things, ideas and products.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 3:24PM
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