Toxic beauty products

Four years ago I bought my last body lotion and body wash. Two years ago, for several months I went “no-poo”. Around that time I also threw all my deodorants in a trash can.

The only thing I have gotten back to is the shampoo. I do, though, try to make it myself every now and then. The rest of the cosmetics are not very welcome on my bathroom shelf, unless I make them myself.

Because of that, I normally try to stay on top of situations in which I may run out of something (and also  because I simply refuse to use the toiletries that are on my husband’s shelf in the bathroom). Funny thing is that he has way more “beauty products” than I do, and he does not have a lot of them, compared to most people.

… but one day it happened, I ran out of my shampoo…

Luckily it was a shopping day. Happy that I didn’t actually have to make an extra trip to the grocery store just to get a shampoo, with my greasy hair tied in a ponytail, I left the house. Because it was pretty late, and we were pretty exhausted from a busy day, we had decided we were going to stop by only one store, not two, like we normally do.

At this point I knew I was in trouble. I knew that the store we were going didn’t carry any of the organic cosmetics, not to mention a liquid castile soap (which I ran out of as well, and which I use to make my own shampoo), but I thought I would be able to find at least one product that has no carcinogens, or allergens in it. I was wrong – I did not find a single shampoo that was below ‘8’ on a scale of toxicity in my “Think Dirty” app – where ‘0’ means “good and safe for use” and ’10’ means “very toxic”.

Don’t you think what has been happening in the “beauty” product market is crazy? Why is it so hard to find something what won’t harm us, and more importantly, our children, in the long run? Why do consumers have to go through such a big hassle to get something that’s REALLY organic and harmless? Why is it still legal to lie to people about your product and not be punished for it?

Do you know that only 10 chemicals are banned in US? “Only”, because for example, in Canada the number of banned chemicals is 600, while The European Union Health Commission banned 1,300 chemicals. Also in US, there is no legal meaning for “Natural” or “Organic”, and companies can say anything they want about their product with no legal consequences of lying. (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4, source 5)

This year’s initial proposal of legislation to update the failed federal law that regulates toxic chemicals (Chemicals in Commerce Act ) is no better than when it was first developed.  The US Environmental Protection Agency would still be forbidden from restricting or banning a chemical solely to protect public health. Instead it would require the agency to take action in a way that is “least burdensome” for the manufacturer, not the people. (source 1, source 2)

In simple words, companies would still be able to keep some of their ingredients hidden from the labels, claiming it as a “trade secret”.

Personally, I am outraged knowing that, but what can I do?  My husband says I can’t change the world.

But I say, if you want to change the world, start with yourself. My world is my family, and I would like to keep them safe and healthy. I know I can’t eliminate all the toxins out of our lives, but I try where I can. I try to be more aware and educated about the toxicity of the cleaning and “beauty” products on the market. I follow:

1. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
2. Safer chemicals Healthy Families
3. Environmental Working Group

I do have two apps on my phone:
1. “Think Dirty”
2. “Skin Deep”
Both allow me to see the scale of toxicity of a cosmetic product by scanning it’s bar code, and give me a “cleaner option” to purchase instead. They are powerful tools to have.

I also make my own beauty and cleaning products. You will be very surprised how super easy and fun it is. AND CHEAP!!!

For example, here is my recipe for a shampoo:

1 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap

4 Tbsp. organic coffee (brewed, chilled), or green tea (brewed, chilled), or coconut milk

1 Tbsp. organic honey

3 drops (or more) nice smelling essential oil (link to a list of essential oils for a certain type of hair)

Mix it all in a jar or a bowl and use it immediately as you would use a regular shampoo. If there is anything left, use it as a body wash.

This is a recipe for one time use. You can make more ahead and just store it in a glass jar or a plastic container in a fridge (for longer shelf life). I mix all the ingredients before I get into the shower. That way I know all my ingredients are fresh, and they still have their valuable properties. This matters especially in case if you use coffee or green tea for the shampoo.

What do you do to limit the toxic chemicals from your environment? Is there a recipe for a beauty or cleaning product you would like to share?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ewa Samples (Mom Photographer), born in Poland but living in US with her family. She can be found on Facebook and blog.

Photo credit to the author.

Ewa Samples

Ewa was born, and raised in Poland. She graduated University with a master's degree in Mass-Media Education. This daring mom hitchhiked from Berlin, Germany through Switzerland and France to Barcelona, Spain and back again! She left Poland to become an Au Pair in California and looked after twins of gay parents for almost 2 years. There, she met her future husband through Couch Surfing, an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals. Today she enjoys her life one picture at a time. She runs a photography business in sunny California and document her daughters life one picture at a time. You can find this artistic mom on her blog, Ewa Samples Photography, on Twitter @EwaSamples or on Facebook!

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