I embrace the fact in life that we get what we pay for when it comes to what we consume. Sometimes it makes great sense to invest wisely for the long term, while other times the product won’t have a great shelf life and therefore it pays to buy cheaper. However, when it comes to putting things on your largest and most permeable organ of your body, this is where money should be well spent.
When it came to Dylan, we “started off in a way that we intended to go”. Meaning, from the moment of birth we only used all natural body products and oral care. I had read the laws concerning labeling and found out that any company can say that they are natural or organic. I found this out personally after my newborn got a chemical burn from The Honest Company’s diapers. From there, I began to buy baby products from natural food stores like Newark Natural Foods Co-Op and the like. However I never implemented a full out system to upgrade Michael and I…until now.
After watching this entertaining and informative video of what happens to your body when you quit using common body products, I decided to amp up my natural product purchasing quest that I started over 6 months ago. Truth be told, I was a little overwhelmed. The choices of products are endless, and you have to find what works for your personal body chemistry. Yet because most of these products are artisan made, they can be more expensive than their cheap chemically filled counterpart so it can be a challenge to experiment. Just how was I going to begin the process of changing approximately 8-12 body products + cosmetics over to 100% chemical free? I had already gone through 2 different all natural deodorants and didn’t like either. I had to come up with a system to narrow my search to as few products as possible and keep within my budget…this is how I did it:
Buy one product at a time.
As I would begin to run out of a product, I would start to research a natural alternative. I would do this through YouTube holistic gurus and perusing store aisles when I was out and about for other things. If something would catch my eye, I would look at the label and take note of the company. Amazon was also very helpful with product reviews. A combination of the aforementioned, coupled with patience, would bring me to my next step;
Narrow the selection to the top three products.
Everyone will have their own criteria but mine often times included smell and price. What can I say, I’m simple like that! By the time that I had my selections narrowed, the product had met all of my smell, price, and ethical criteria, so I elicited one other must: Joy. Would the product bring me joy to use? Did it stimulate my senses it will be the first things that I see in the morning? Don’t discount this important aspect of any process. A life without joy is meaningless. Even if I am just talking about toothpaste.
Finally, if I just couldn’t make up my mind because I felt that I had picked the top three products of all time, I would then…
Purchase the least expensive of the three.
I don’t have sensitive skin, and not much bothers me but that isn’t true for everyone. Plus, taking into consideration my long journey to finding a wonderful natural deodorant, I know that sometimes products just don’t work out for our chemistry. So I did what I tell my horse owning clients to do when they are looking to better their horses’ health: start with the least expensive option and then work upwards.
Note: To minimize waste, do what cosmetic counters do for their tester products to keep the product contaminate free. Sample with q-tips, cotton balls, etc. This way if it doesn’t work out, you can pass the product along to a friend for them to try. You just may introduce them to their next life long product! At the very least you are introducing someone to a whole new way of living and may start them out on their own journey.
Lastly, part of being an informed consumer is knowing how much this product costs on average. So this step and the last step go together…
Search for coupons, rebates.
Your computer comes in handy here as you can open multiple tabs for the product to see how much different retailers sell it for. Make sure to include in your search iHerb, Amazon, drugstore.com, as well as the product’s website. While on the product’s website, see if they have a distributors list of stores that they may stock in your area.
Personally, I began the above process with my most used products; toothpaste, face wash, deodorant. (Michael is still on the chemical train for now…but baby steps) Below is my ride or die/tried and true for the top three important products thus far:
Toothpastes often have aluminum included in their ingredients. There is also very controversial information now a days on fluoride being found to calcify the pineal gland. I have had excellent dental health by using natural toothpastes as well as oil pulling with coconut oil
This paste will not suds up and may take some getting used to, but most natural cleansers won’t suds up like the chemical versions. This is because companies add sulfates to get their products to lather because most consumers associate suds with clean. When in fact, the lather is just bogus as it isn’t the real cleaning agent in the first place, just an additive.
My Face “Wash”:
I actually don’t use a face wash per se, I use the oil cleansing method, or OCM. If you have sensitive, dry, or acne prone skin then this may be the method for you. What I like about this method is that there really isn’t a need for a moisturizer when you’re done cleansing. It does double duty. That’s money and time saved!
I recently purchased a 4oz bottle of sweet almond oil with blueberry seeds after using all of my vitamin E oil. So far I like it enough to repurchase it in the 10 oz bottle. When I’m done with my face, I rub the excess into my cuticles.
I grew concerned when a lot of the ingredients that are in traditional deodorants were found increasingly linked to breast cancer. The arm pits are close to very important nodes in our body and I needed to change what I was using quick. Enter Weleda products…
I love this stuff! It took me nearly a year, but I have finally found a natural deodorant that works. This deodorant hasn’t quit on me once. Not even after mucking 5 stalls, scrubbing 10 water buckets, rearranging the tack room and a good ride on Scarlett all while wearing 4 layers of clothing. This is a spray in a glass bottle. Totally reusable and recyclable.
We become what we put in and into our bodies…
Does this all seem like a lot of work for some toothpaste and deodorant? If it does, then I encourage you to look at the label of your most common personal products and then Google just one of them. Odds are the chemical has been tied to cancer, cognitive or reproductive disorders. Remember just how permeable and how large an organ our skin is.
Now that you have the former CEO of ExxonMobil as the head of our – already under funded EPA – we truly are on our own when it comes to keeping ourselves safe. I know that the video indicates that we need to start with our Government, but I personally disagree. We will create change in our laws eventually, but for now I think that the greatest change starts with our personal responsibility. Taking the time to research and then purchase only from companies that are doing clean business will get the other guys to take notice when the difference hits their bottom line. I believe that will create change a lot faster than any change in the law would take.
“Because women are the primary consumers of many personal care products, they may be disproportionately exposed to these chemicals,” said study lead author Kim Harley, associate director of the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health. “Teen girls may be at particular risk since it’s a time of rapid reproductive development, and research has suggested that they use more personal care products per day than the average adult woman.” – Excerpt from This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Switch Or Stop Using Cosmetic Products
All is not lost though, there just happens to be a plant, a fruit, an herb, or a combination thereof on this planet somewhere that gives us an alternative. All that it takes is just a few simple processes to find them. More than likely we would only have to do so once or twice before we found brands that we can love for life. I know that it’s worked for me! It just so happens to be worth it because;
After just a three-day trial with the girls using only the lower-chemical products, urine samples showed a significant drop in the level of chemicals in the body. Methyl and propyl parabens, commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, dropped 44 and 45 percent, metabolites of diethyl phthalate, used often in perfumes, dropped by 27 percent, and both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36 percent. – Excerpt from This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Switch Or Stop Using Cosmetic Products
Next up for me is replacing the few cosmetics that I use to all natural. Now that I am aware that my favorite lipstick more than likely has lead included in it’s ingredients, it’s time to change that too. For help in that process, I’m going to be looking to Holistic Habits YouTube channel for recommendations. She has beautiful and entertaining videos on all things living holistically.
I’m not sure that I will ever surrender my signature scent, Coco Chanel’s Mademoiselle, but by eliminating as many chemicals that I can in areas that matter, I feel that I’m doing my part for myself, my family as well as the planet.
I’m a mother, wife, instructor and author, and I want to teach others that simple living is possible. All that it takes is some curiosity with a dash of discipline and you can live cleaner, healthier, and with more money in your account than you’ve had in your adult life. How do I know? Because I’m doing it.
And you can too.