Everyday we use tons of products with good intentions. We want to be clean, smell good, look good, etc… Unfortunately, much like the food industry, most products produced by the cosmetic industry are complete garbage. Warning: you may find this post upsetting. I apologize in advance and hope you’ll thank me later.
I went almost 3 months without using shampoo. Yup… no shampoo for almost 3 months. Some of you may already be in this place with me. The place where you’ve realized that it might be as important to avoid slathering chemical crap onto your hair, skin, teeth, and pits as it is to avoid eating it.
Some of you are shaking your head in confusion (or horror) because you don’t know what I’m talking about and can’t imagine why I would announce (maybe even proudly) that I stopped using shampoo. Well, the truth is, almost all body care products are full of terrible ingredients. It’s true. I’m sorry… I know how much you might love your salon or Bath & Body Works flavor-of-the month products… but they are full of super crappy ingredients. If you’ve ever read the back of your shampoo bottle while you’re lathering away, you’ve probably noticed that you can’t even pronounce the names of the chemicals on the ingredients label. Should you have to have a chemistry degree to understand the ingredients in your shampoo? I’m thinking no… Did you know that these chemicals are linked to things like asthma, cancer and learning disablilities? Of course not, right? You just want clean hair! Check out The Story of Cosmetics.
Think you’re safe because you’re products claim to be natural, pure, or even organic? Sorry again…. There are no legal standards for these terms in the cosmetic industry. So, what that means is, these companies are LYING TO YOU! Straight up lying. Gasp! Yes, it’s true… many companies have no problem marketing their products as “natural” and taking your money while they are actually poisoning you with synthetic petrochemicals. I know, right?
After reading about the junk in my shampoo, I decided that I had to get rid of it. After all, I had worked so hard to rid the junk from my diet… shouldn’t I apply that same standard to all areas of my life? So, I waited until summer time and threw it out… oh, and I also may have cried a little. I washed my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar all summer long. Unfortunately…this did not work well for me. My hair was greasy the entire time. It was pretty awful… I looked like Kid Rock.
Not good, right? Couldn’t do it any longer. I’ve read that adding essential oils might be necessary depending on your water and / or hair. I considered doing more experimenting with this… but… let’s just leave it at I didn’t.
So what am I using? Currently, I am washing my hair with Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo (Score of 1 on EWG’s Skin Deep Data Cosmetics Base). This was the best shampoo I could find at Target (to my knowledge, anyway). However, I just received an order of some products from Cocoa Pink. (Also recommended by Cave Girl Eats) Their products are handmade and crap-free! I’ll keep you posted with a review of the products in the near future. I still use the ACV (apple cider vinegar) as a rinse– that, I like. But you should totally know that you may be reminded of coloring Easter eggs every time you condition your hair… that could be good or bad… I don’t know. For me, it’s just kinda weird. Your hair will not smell like ACV after it is dry. I hope that is not a disappointment to you.
Coconut oil can also be used as a leave in conditioner on your ends or to tame “fly aways”. Be careful with this though… or you, too, will end up resembling Kid Rock.
Slightly before I gave up shampoo, I gave up deodorant / antiperspirant. This has been tough. Most deodorants / antiperspirants (the kinds that work anyway) are loaded with junk. Namely, aluminum and parabens. In case you haven’t heard: aluminum is bad news– that is, if you are fond of your mind and / or breasts. Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s and possibly breast cancer. As I happen to kind of like these parts of my body, I chucked my trusty stick of Sure deodorant… and, again, may have cried a little.
I tried this rock or salt crystal-thing, Tom’s aluminum free deodorant, and going without. Honestly, I smelled the same with all three… terrible. By the end of the day (and usually before) I smelled like a seventh grade boy after gym class. I wish I was joking. As you can probably imagine, this was not okay with me (or anyone really). Greasy hair and nasty stench? Something had to be done.
I read in a few different places online about people using coconut oil (coconut oil is awesome) and baking soda successfully. So I tried it. This works great! No, honestly, it does! Simply rub a dab of coconut oil under your arms and then follow with a swipe of baking soda and you are set. This does not prevent me from sweating (newsflash: you really shouldn’t prevent your body from sweating anyway)… but I promise you– you will not smell. Not even by the very end of the day. It’s amazing. You can even use the Mary Katherine Gallagher test.
Note: You should probably only do this in private… it makes other people uncomfortable.
Rethinking Facial Cleansing and Skin Care:
You’ll be relieved to know that this one is easy. I use the “oil cleansing method” to clean my face. What? Clean my face with oil? No thanks. That’s what I said at first too. And then I tried it– and it works really well– I’m a believer. You should check out Cave Girl Eat’s post for a great explanation of this method. She convinced me! Plus, she’s hilarious.
I use 1/3 cup castor oil mixed with 2/3 cup sunflower seed oil (possibly the only thing this oil is good for?). I store this mixture in a jar in my bathroom. Using a cotton ball, I smear the oil all over my face. Then, I take a steaming hot wash cloth and hold it on my face for a minute or so– until it cools. I repeat this a couple of times and then rinse the wash cloth and wipe my face clean. It sounds like a lot, but it is really not a big deal. I used to do this every night, but now I only do it a couple of times per week. This method combined with real food nutrition has done great things for my complexion. I happily tossed my many, many face care products into the trash– none of them worked anyway! Yea– no crying!!
Coconut oil is my favorite moisturizer– for my face as well as the rest of my body. Have you realized yet how incredibly awesome coconut oil is? You really can have skin like this…
Are you aware of how horrible flouride is? It is literally toxic waste… literally. It is a byproduct of the aluminum industry. Flourided toothpaste contains 1,000 ppm flouride– apparently, this is enough to kill a child if they were to swallow the entire tube of toothpaste. Consuming part of it can result in acute or chronic toxicity. Excuse me, but what the heck?? Why is this crap in toothpaste? Not to mention public drinking water and dental treatments (but that’s another post)!
What’s that? Your dentist tells you flouride is good for your teeth? Yeah, well, ummmm… no thanks. Call me crazy, but I’m thinking there has to be a better way to dispose of toxic sludge then asking me to swish it around in my mouth a couple of times a day.
For the record, I do brush my teeth. And I do use toothpaste. But I had to get rid of my favorite Arm & Hammer w/ baking soda toothpaste (because it also contains
toxic waste flouride). And, yes, I cried a little.
I’ve read that some people brush their teeth with baking soda and some people even use coconut oil (of course… because it is great for everything). Despite my affection for coconut oil, I do not use it on my teeth. I’m pretty attached to the ”minty fresh taste” when I brush my teeth, so I use Tom’s flouride free peppermint toothpaste. My children prefer the fennel version– I know, bizarre-o, right? Why would fennel even be a toothpaste flavor? And what would have possessed me to buy it in the first place? For the record, I was so focused on the words “flouride free”, that I never even noticed the word “fennel”. (Note: I do not think that Tom’s is the BEST option– but, for now, it is a better option. While it doesn’t have flouride, it still has some junk… like glycerine).
UPDATE: I now use wait for it… baking soda and coconut oil. Sometimes I use Tropical Traditions tooth paste, too… NO JUNK AT ALL… no flouride, no glycerine, no “unpronouncables”… good stuff. However, you should know that you’re not going to find something “toothpaste-y” that doesn’t contain junk. You are going to have to learn to love to brush your teeth without the minty foam… or at least deal with it.
I think that this is enough
devastation enlightenment for one post. Just know this… this is not over. There is more that we need to rethink… like laundry detergent, dish soap, sunscreen…
In the meantime, you could check your products against the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised… but don’t hold your breath.
UPDATE UPDATE: Woo hoo!! We have found a CRAP FREE, FOOD BASED SKIN CARE and COSMETIC LINE. What???? You didn’t think this was possible? We didn’t either, but see this post and prepare to fall in love.