As I continue towards a greener and natural lifestyle I’ve been focusing on my personal care products. I’ve got to be honest, it’s pretty overwhelming once you start digging into what is exactly in the products you use daily. I found through the Cosmetic Safety Database that there are so many dangerous chemicals and toxins that our government has allowed into products that we use daily for ourselves and kids. To get started, I made a list of these ingredients that are on the DO NOT BUY list.
- Fragrance – manufacturers can legally hide hundreds of toxic chemicals in this one word, including endocrine disrupting/potentially carcinogenic phthalates [THAL-ates].
- Parabens – (methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl parabens). These can mimic hormones in the body and disrupt functions of the endocrine system. Research reports that a high lifelong exposure to estrogen can increase breast cancer risk.
- Sulfates – Sulfates are used in products like shampoo and toothpaste. The most commonly used sulfates are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Because sulfates are a foaming agent, experts say they can strip your hair and skin of moisture and important protective barriers
- Nanoparticles – tiny particles which have been shown to cross cell barriers, enter organs, including the human brain. Regardless of outstanding research, common sense tells me to avoid being a guinea pig on this one; driving metals deep into our cells and organs seems like a bad idea (you may have to email the manufacturer to ask if they use nanoparticles).
- Phthalates – Commonly found in nail polish and perfumes, phthalates are a group of chemicals that make products (usually plastics) softer and more flexible. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) as a possible cause of cancer.
- Formaldehyde – is a human carcinogen, and also causes a variety of ailments including skin irritation, respiratory problems, and immune system toxicities. You will not see formaldehyde on the label; it is a contaminant of the manufacturing process or formulation. Be wary of and avoid these ingredients: Quaternium, DMDM Hydantoin, and Ureas.
- Oxybenzone – chemical that is “active ingredient” in sunscreen and many products are shown to produce harmful free radicals and the ability to attack DNA cells. Some studies have shown it to behave similarly to the hormone estrogen, suggesting that it may cause breast cancer.
OK, now I bet your really overwhelmed. But, I’ve come up with ways you can take the information I’ve given you and put it to good use when switching over from chemical filled products to non-toxic ones. Here is how to make the switch to natural personal care products in 4 Easy Steps.
DITCH – Using the Cosmetic Safety Database look up the products you currently have. The database will give your product a score, if you like the score then keep it and if not ditch it.
REPLACE – Start small, switching out a few products at a time such as toothpaste and deodorant. These are simple changes that can be made that will not cost a ton of money. We love Toms of Maine which has been around for over 30 years. They pride themselves on selecting ingredients that are 100% natural, use sustainable manufacturing and packaging practices. Because Toms of Maine is easy to find at most local grocery stores or online at discount prices it’s even easier to make the switch.
REDUCE – I bet once you start looking you will find that many products serve double duty. Do you really need 7 different kinds of moisturizers or facial cleaners? When you simplify you will more organized and actually start using the products you have on hand.
MAKE – You can easily make many personal care products yourself with few ingredients. I make a lot of my scrubs and lotion myself which saves me a ton of money and I know exactly what’s in it. One food product that I like to use in my personal care routine is yogurt. It’s chock full of protein, calcium, vitamin D and probiotics that benefits your insides and can do wonders for your outsides as well.
Yogurt contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, that dissolves dead skin cells. This gentle exfoliation not only helps to create a natural glow and prevent breakouts, but works to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Anti-Aging Yogurt Face Mask
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup oatmeal
- 2 Tablespoons plain Green yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 small egg white
- 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil. I like to use frankincense, lavender or rose for their anti aging properties.
Combine hot water and oatmeal, mix and let sit for 3 minutes. Mix in yogurt, honey, egg white and essential oil. Apple a thin layer on your face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Do you have a tip for switching to natural personal care products? Share it below or join the conversation on our new Facebook group Living Organically with O’Boy! Organic. Our community shares our favorite recipes, green topics, resources, tips and tricks on how to live a healthier life. Hope to see you there!
As a Stonyfield Yogetter I was given the opportunity to partner with Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are my own.