Going Green – Personal Products

Do you remember when I asked you guys what natural products you liked to use on Facebook? Well, lots of you gave me some great suggestions and I ran out and bought a whole bunch of hippy stuff and I loved it.

I was all geared up to do a bunch of reviews, but not only am I venturing into an area that I know nothing about, I am the only one testing them. So unless you’re a redhead with normal skin that is not really sensitive (oddly) it may not help you that much, so I scraped the idea.

The most important thing I did find out though is that there is a lot of crap in the things I was using everyday and very little regulation on those things. I also found out that the things that didn’t have crap in them were just as good (if not better in some cases) and cost about the same so why the hell wouldn’t I switch?

Look, I know you’re already being bombarded with people telling you about the things you shouldn’t be doing in your life right now so I’m not trying to add to that here, but I did find these great sites and I wanted to pass them along:

The Story of Cosmetics does a great job at explaining how we’ve gotten to the place we are in the cosmetic industry (warning: it’s a short movie that just launches into playing so if you’re supposed to be working, turn the volume down). It’s a little basic at times but, hey, it can’t hurt and I did learn some interesting tidbits.

The other site is called Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews, although the domain name is cosmeticdatabase.com (they are better greenies than marketers) but the site is incredible. They have a gabillion products where they rate the hazardous chemicals in them on a scale from 0-10. If they don’t have the product they are looking for, you can type in the ingredients and it will list all the nasties that go along with it. I love this site because some of the “mainstream” stuff I’ve been using isn’t that bad and some of the “natural” products I’ve been trying aren’t all that natural. It’s a fantastic resource.

And finally, here’s a great post I found at Working Mom Goes Green that is written by the owner of Bubble and Bee about how to navigate your way through the Cosmetic Database. I found it really helpful especially the tip that a zero rating wasn’t necessarily better than a rating of 3.

You may already be hippy’fied but, if you’re like me, it may take a long time to wean yourself off the products you’ve been using for years and replace them with something better.

So far I’ve cracked shampoo, face moisturizer, body lotion, sunscreen, hand cream, exfoliant, toothpaste, bubblebath, soap and lip balm. I still need to find a good tinted moisturizer with sunscreen and I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that they don’t make an organic anti-perspirant (the whole concept of not perspiring kind of goes against the whole get-crap-out-of-your-body anyway) but if I don’t want to sweat I have to use my pit poison. I don’t care, I need my pit poison. No kumbaya for me yet, but no construction-worker, giant pit stains for me either – I’m okay with that.

I also ordered most of it online from well.ca and drugstore.com and Tara over at maternitique.com was really helpful in suggesting some great pregnancy products too.

How green are you when it comes to these things?

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  • There is an excellent book called Slow Death By Rubber Duck that is now available in the US (amazingly, it's Canadian – I say this as a Canadian). It discusses toxicity in everyday objects, such as BPA in bottles and teflon in non-stick pans. I highly recommend it.

  • Last year, I went on a crusade to find a good aluminum-free antiperspirant. I tried the crystal things (eliminated odor, but I sweated like a construction worker), Tom's of Maine (gave me a horrible rash) and lots of others that I don't even remember.

    One day out of desperation, I used the hubby's Old Spice. It worked great! It's not "all natural", but it doesn't have aluminum in it. It doesn't stain/discolor my clothes, it combats odor, and it's a great antiperspirant. Also, it shares some of its ingredients with Tom's of Maine.

    Just my 2 cents. 😀

  • Hi – great post! I'm always trying to get a little greener in my life.
    As far as the pit stains go, I found that antiperspirants were actually causing them because of the aluminum in them, so I switched to just a deodorant. I actually use Old Spice because I couldn't find a simple deodorant for women. I'm sure it's not as good as something natural, but it's better than putting aluminum on your skin and the pit stains have disappeared!

  • my wife and i started switching everything over several months back and have ALMOST got everything switched to a non-scary product. the scariest part for me was the face care, but the hardest part has been the hair care.

    Facial – we're both using products from the Acure line, which we found at Whole Foods, and is available online. i have very fair skin that is sensitive. it was VERY oily growing up and transitioning into adulthood, with dry patches and a need for moisturizer has not been easy. this stuff is wonderful and i haven't had any problems in the transition. she still has medium-fair, oily skin that's prone to breakouts and really likes their products, too.

    Hair – the Giovanni line of products has been a BIG winner for us. my wife has a short, spiky style, that requires lots of product. their styling paste has been just as good as the redken stuff she was using and is, like, 1/3 the price. i have fine, dry, colored, wavy hair, so i need a lot of conditioning, as well as something to help with body. their regular & leave-in conditioners seem to be just as good as the salon stuff i was using and the root lifter works, while leaving my hair softer than my old stuff did.

    other than those, we use a lot of the Whole Foods 365 line of products. they're consistently good, cheaper than the competitors, and have the "no bad stuff" labels very prominent on the packaging, so it's easy to know what you're getting.

    if you don't know about it, N101 is a great website for finding lots of natural/organic body products.

  • Good point, Kate. I never thought that I may sweat less if I just dialed back on the pit poison.
    I did try a crystal deodorant and I couldn't believe that it worked! How the hell can you rub something under your arm that seemingly doesn't rub off and it stops you from stinking? It was magic. I did still sweat though (obviously).
    I just may try making some of that recipe up and see how it goes — it's always worth a shot.
    Thanks for the suggestion!

  • You may want to consider making your own deodorant. There are lots of recipes online, I've tried this one. The arrowroot has absorbant properties, so kind of anti-perspirant-like.

    Crystal deodorants work pretty well, as does Tom's of Maine, if you're willing to go the deodorant route. One thing to keep in mind is that your body adapts to the products you use, so when you first switch from an anti-perspirant you might find you sweat a lot, but over time you might find you sweat very little at all, and don't really need an anti-perspirant. Or only need one certain days. Of course, you might find you really do need one, everyone sweats differently. But it's kind of worthwhile to figure out what you really need, versus what you're just used to, I think.

    Really, the greenest thing is to use less products altogether. It's good to keep the body's adaptability in mind if you want to try this, and you may find that you don't need to use shampoo every day, or lotion, or other products.

    Anyhow, it's very cool that you're greening your beauty routine. It takes a while to find the products that work best for you, but it sounds like you're well on your way.

  • I go crazy at the thoughts of all the nasty things in all of the products we use! It can be stressful and, like you, I've found the best way to handle it is to make changes where you are able because our health is not 'all or none.' Thank goodness for internet and people (like yourself) who post links to make it easier for everyone to do the same! It used to be the only natural beauty products were those I saw at our local drugstore selling for 3x what the regular version was, and even those weren't always the completely natural alternative!

  • I have gone from one end of the spectrum and kind of back to the middle. I love my Aussie 3-minute miracle conditioner, and it's full of crap. but things that don't stay on my skin for a long time i try not to worry about as much. i did switch to a mineral powder make up and i love it. i also started using food grade almond oil as a moisturizer during my first pregnancy, and that stuck with me. it's so much easier to put on than lotion, which means my whole body gets it, not just legs/elbows/whatever else is scratchy. and it's great for face…it dries up oily areas and moisturizes dry ones.

  • Just a warning about natural toothpaste for your kids. My husband is a dentist and we live near Woodstock, NY. He sees quite a few kids that have grown up using only non-fluoridated Toms of Maine and other brands. They all have tons of cavities. He gave a four-year-old a bridge because her front teeth couldn't be saved. If you don't have fluoride in your water, make sure your kids are getting it from somewhere else. Fluoride isn't poison, it's a salt, and it sits next to oxygen on the periodic table of elements.

  • I have always kept my skincare very simple over the years but today "simple" and healthy has a "new" meaning. Thanks for such an informative post and "links" that I was pretty unfamiliar with.
    It takes awhile to adjust to new products, change is difficult and we are so susceptible to advertisers.

  • this stuff is natural, cheap and they have tinted spf moisturizer, Foundation, and powder
    also coconut oil is nature's sunscreen, and nature's moisturizer, and it has antibacterial properties which is why it's in my homemade deodorant, and so i put it on my face and it drags out all the impurities, so my zits come up, go away, chill out, de-red, and stay moisturized and it can conditioner your hair too
    also what do you used? toothpaste? do you just use baking soda?

  • I'm not green in many ways, but what i DO do is use reusable feminine hygiene products. for me, that means a DivaCup (www.divacup.com; info on this and other cups at menstrualcups.org) during my period and cloth pantiliners every day (you can find lots on Etsy or from manufacturers like http://www.gladrags.com/). I don't think most women even REALIZE how much you spend each year on pads/tampons, not to mention how much waste they put into landfills! It feels so good to walk through the feminine hygiene aisle at CVS and realize i'll never need to buy any of that stuff ever again 🙂

    someday when i finally move out and live on my own and have a decent income, i'll start switching over to more healthy, natural products in other areas of my life. hopefully not TOO far in the future!

  • I'm a Dr. Bronner's (liquid soap), Burt's Bees (face wash, kid wash, and lotions), and Tom's of Maine (toothpaste and deodorant) type of gal. Not all the best, but far from the worst. Now if I could just find a more natural shampoo/conditioner for mine and my daughter's hair type, I would be golden.

  • Hi! I feel pretty good about my recycling efforts and reusing and repurposing items in order to prevent them from landfills so I need to expand my efforts! I started using Norwex cleaning products! Most just use water and the cleaners they do have (cleaning paste-amazing) are made from all natural ingredients and will bioderade in hours versus months compared to normal cleaners! I have fallen in love! Check it out for yourself! Headquarters is based in Canada! My daycare provider actually sells it which is how I got introduced! I particularly love the laundry detergent. I only use 1 tablespoon of it! 1 tablespoon! It conquers the messiest of poop explosions with ease! check it out! http://www.norwex.com. They also have personal care items as well that are European certified! I think you might like this site! Thanks for your information in your blog. I can't wait to educate myself! Love reading your posts!

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