Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Freak Out.

I don't use a lot of beauty products or wear much makeup. In fact, on a daily basis I don't wear makeup and use just a couple of things. Ever since I read 'Slow Death by Rubber Duck' a year ago, I've been trying to reduce my chemical load. So no microwaving things in plastic, less takeaways, no polystyrene and when I have to buy a drink out I choose one in glass which I then recycle. Obviously this is not fool proof and I still consume large amounts of plastic encased products. The supermarkets wrap half their fresh produce in plastic too, so its hard to avoid. Tinned fish has a layer of plastic inside the tin. But I try.

Recently a friend was searching for more environmentally and health friendly shampoos. I suggested the shampoo I've been using for years, only to find that the nasty things in that shampoo (marketed as both organic and natural) made it one of the most dangerous things I own! In fact, I would have been better off washing my hair with dish detergent as that would have been safer! This started me thinking. If I've been buying 'natural' and 'organic' products for years (and at higher prices) but they are far from that then I've been cheated and its possibly been bad for my health. If you want to check out your own products you can type the name into this data base here and it will give your product a rating from 0 (safe) to 9 (run away!). My shampoo was rated 8 and my body wash was rated 9! And both had the (I now know meaningless) words 'natural' and 'organic' on the label.

I eventually came across this book in an effort to better inform myself as to what I'm sticking on my head, skin and lips:

This book is well written and understandable. It has lots of links and suggestions for safer alternatives. So I decided to try some new safer (hopefully) products.

Left to Right:
Olivia's Oasis Olive oil soap - this brand's other products don't look so safe, but the soap is a simple mix of salts, olive oil and water. It works too and isn't drying like liquid body wash can be. Smells a bit like old olive oil though the smell doesn't stay too long on your skin.

Tom's of Maine Deodorant - Not too bad. I still sweat (apparently sweating is normal!) and by 8-12 hours later I'm a little stinky. If I were to be going out in the evening, I'd re-apply it. In tropical Singapore, I'd reapply at lunch-time. I'm not majorly stinky, but we shall see, as it may change over time. I've been using this for 2 weeks only. I've tried natural rock crystal deodorants before but those really don't work for me. So I hope this works. I don't want to put aluminium under my arms anymore.

*EDIT* - tested the deodorant on a very hot day (30+ C) walking outdoors and was not stinky. This is good stuff.

Jason Aloe Vera Gel: So my previous aloe vera gel (labelled '100% pure aloe vera') contained formaldehyde in two different forms. Formaldehyde is used in laminate (yellow) glue and preserving laboritory specimens. I don't think it should go on your face. This aloe vera gel is a nice texture (not too sticky) and absorbs well. Good body moisturiser.

Green Beaver Green Tea and Aloe Face Moisturiser - My previous facial mositurisers are okay in terms of chemicals, but are not great for my skin, as they makes my face alternately oily and dry. This moisturiser is light and absorbs really easily. I've very sensitive skin and to have a moisturiser not burn my face is amazing. Plus this makes my skin soft and smooth. I'll be buying a few tubes of this to take back to Singapore.

Jason Sea Fresh Toothpaste - I love the taste of this toothpaste. I actually feel more motivated to brush my teeth because of it! It has a slightly bitter taste like chinese herbs that little kids may not like (the company makes apple flavour and mandarin or something for kids). My previous really famous brand toothpaste contains Triclosan which is a nasty anti-bacterial that has been linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. It is also bad for the environment. When you stick something in your mouth, you want to be sure its safe.

And shampoo you ask? I'm trying the bicarb soda and apple cider vinegar method. I'm slowly weaning my hair off shampoo entirely by alternating shampoo (don't worry, I switched brands to a less toxic one!) with the soda and vinegar. My hair seems to be responding okay, but by the second day of soda and vinegar washing it's looking a little greasy. My scalp though is loving the less severe conditions and is slowly regaining its moisture balance. The vinegar smells pretty strong though so I've been adding a few drops of lavender oil to mask the smell. If you want to try the soda and vinegar method there is lots of info here. I hope one day to be poo-free!

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