Still using mainstream body care products? From DIY toothpaste to “poetic pits” deodorant, we've got budget-friendly, effective alternatives to help you finally make the switch.
According to the Environmental Working Group, women use an average of 12 products a day, containing 168 different chemicals. Sadly, even products that are marketed as "natural" can still be filled with problematic ingredients. How is that possible? There's a sneaky little loophole called "fragrance" - a catch-all term that allows manufactures to hide what's really lurking in your favourite body care product.
To help make it easier to choose the most body-friendly, non-toxic products we've created a handy little checklist with the top ten ingredients to avoid (plus info on why we recommend steering clear). It can also be helpful to have some specific recommendations, so below you'll find our top picks for hair care products, toothpaste, deodorant, moisturizer, and soap. We're focusing on these since they're the products you likely use the most often, which means your eco efforts will have the biggest impact.
This is often the toughest switch to make, especially for those who are going from anti-perspirant to deodorant. Finding a brand that works for you and your lifestyle/body chemistry can be tricky. Dr. Mist has proven the magic solution for both of us and it's also the one that Amy's husband uses. Amy uses the unscented version whereas Kim prefers the lavender. As a "treat" we use the Living Libations Poetic Pits - a pricier option, but it smells divine (we wear it in lieu of perfume). If you'd prefer to make your own, there are lots of recipes online that contain less than five ingredients, most of which you probably have in your kitchen. A popular combination is coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and an essential oil of your choice. Some people find they react to baking soda, so if that happens you may want to experiment with reducing how much you include. We haven't tried it yet, but we've heard great things about this concotion by The Healthy Maven.
A few years ago we were introduced to the work of Samantha Gladish, a holistic nutritionist who has a special interest in oral health. The first time we met Samantha we immediately commented on her teeth. We assumed she must have had them professionally whitened or used those strips you get at the drugstore, but in fact she uses a totally natural toothpaste that she created herself! It only has eight ingredients (with names you can pronounce) and is free of sodium lauryl sulfates - an ingredient found in most mainstream toothpastes that's on our top ten list of things to avoid. We're total converts! Amy's daughter Mattea loves Salty Kisses too. We've also experimented with making our own toothpaste using Meghan Telpner's four ingredient recipe.
Have you jumped on the "no-poo" train yet? Lots of folks swear that ditching shampoo and switching to baking soda is the key to healthier hair (at a fraction of the cost). You can find more info on the DIY Natural website. Personally we're big fans of Morrocco Method. Their products are raw, vegan, paleo-friendly and free of all nasties. Plus the company was founded by a "hair shaman" who used to do Jackie Onasis's hair. He cuts and treats hair by the moon phases too if you want to get really into it! Making the hair gel switch was the hardest thing on this list for Amy to do. Amy's curly hair needs just the right product to prevent her from looking like Kramer from Seinfeld. She tried at least half a dozen organic brands before a colleague finally put her on to the Morrocco Method products. Their "Blood of the Dragon" hair gel works great. The real testament is that Amy's curly-haired husband has also made the switch and he's not an easy sell when it comes to ditching his mainstream products!
Soap should be one of the easiest products to switch out since natural soaps abound and we have yet to try one that doesn't work. As long as it is not leaving you stinky then you're probably good! In fact, you may want to consider lathering up less since Vitamin D that is produced on the skin's surface takes 24 hours to absorb into the body. If you're washing all over on a daily basis you may be literally washing away your vitamins! Try just washing the parts that are prone to smell or to bacteria build-up and consider leaving the other areas of your body (like your forearms and legs) for a weekly soap-up. Want to make your own soap? Wellness Mama has oodles of info on their website, including several different recipes (you'll also find advice on how to make other body care products, including deodorant, shampoo, and face masks).
Our grandmother was a Mary Kay rep which meant we grew up slathering all kinds of frighteningly toxic creams and lotions on our skin. Nowadays you'll find us using some version of cocoa butter and shea butter, like Samantha Gladish's Love Your Body Butter or Parkdale Butter. When it comes to face cream we've switched to Argan Oil (Kim uses Sola Balancing Face Oil) or occasionally other serums like those from Audacite. But aside from the deep winter months when the wind and air take a beating to our faces we figure our skin shouldn't need anything if we're staying properly hydrated. ;)
Looking for more tips on how to green your personal care products? Join us Thursday, April 14th for our free Eco Woman webinar.
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Kim & Amy Sedgwick love to discuss sex, periods, and all the other things we’re not supposed to talk about. The co-founders of Red Tent Sisters and ecosex.ca, they’ve been featured in every major Canadian news outlet and have become a trusted resource for women seeking natural (effective!) birth control, a more joyful sex life, and an empowered journey to motherhood.