Updated: Sep 16, 2019
So you want to detox your bathroom? Or maybe you just want to switch to products that are safe and natural to put onto your skin. When looking to switch all skin and body care products, the initial overhaul can be pretty hefty for some people. That's why I take it in steps, or, if you are further along and want to switch all at once, go for it! My goal in this article is to give you resources, suggestions, swaps, great product options, and encourage you to take hold of your health!
Are my products harming me?
Your bathroom is your sacred cleansing area and you clean your hair and body there, but unfortunately, it can be where some of the most unclean products are. Just a few chemicals in these products can be: parabens, phthalates, aluminum, sulfates, fragrance, triclosan, PEGs, and formaldehyde. These chemicals have been linked to everything from fertility issues, cancer, and asthma just to name a few. There are many more but we will go into those later. However, there are now so many natural and safe products to use. Why sacrifice your health just to have that specific "fragrance" in your hair when you can use essential oils that smell delightful and are good for you? Unfortunately, places like Bath & Body Works have tons of chemicals and fragrances in them. You can smell them when you pass by in the mall!
The EWG says 89 percent of the ingredients in everyday products aren't tested for safety. Wow, that's a lot. It's important to know what to look for in products and what ingredients to stay away from.
Now it can be overwhelming to switch your products, or it can be fun (cause you get to go shopping)! Taking small steps is good when you have a budget and can't buy all the best products. You can however, make lots of homemade items/ DIYs to save money or use some products for multiple things if you need to cut costs. For example to cut costs: use coconut for mositurizing your skin, taming fly away hairs, cooking, oil pulling (for your guns), and making your own tooth paste! A large container of organic coconut oil can last you a while!
If that's not as much of a concern, just start with the products that you use the most. Maybe it's styling gel, hair detangler spray, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, or conditioner. Starting on this journey of swapping out the harmful for the healthy is a process but it's an important one because what you put on your scalp and skin, gets soaked into your body (Usually between 60-70% is absorbed into the blood stream).
What To Look For
Now, unfortunately, when looking for products, you have to learn how to read labels and make sure the brand is not "Greenwashing". This just simply means that a company can be in the practice of making misleading information or claims about environmental benefits of their products, a service, company, etc. It also makes them seem more environmentally friendly then they really are. They will use words like "natural, pure, clean" on the front of bottles, but their ingredients will be anything but from that.
So What Chemicals should I stay away from?
I am going to help you by sharing the worst toxins and chemicals you will want to avoid.
This is one of the most common and misleading chemicals listed in products. It's found almost in all hair and body care products, as well as baby products.
The FDA considers fragrance a proprietary ingredient so they don’t require manufacturers to explicitly state which of the 3,000 ingredients or chemicals they’re using to make their products smell “good.” Many of these chemicals are not safe! Make sure to look on the back of products to see if it says fragrance in the ingredients (usually towards the bottom).
Parabens (Methyl-, Ethyl-, Butyl-, and Propylparaben)
These are among some of the most hormone disrupting chemicals around. These can mimic estrogens and there has been a findings back in 2004 that high levels of parabens in breast tumors have been present. U.S consumer protection groups are lobbying against their use. Many of these are found in makeup items, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and more.
Be sure to keep any eye out on ingredients labels for: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, and Butylparaben.
Phthatlates (Diethyl, Diethyl Hexyl, Dibutyl Phtalate,dii-2-ethylhexylphthalate)
These are toxic petroleum derivatives that are associated with disorders of sexual maturation in girls and birth defects in boys, ADHD, autism, cancer, infertility, and more. They disrupt hormones like parabens do and are known carcinogens (cancer-causing). According to the European Commission in 2018, "Phthalates may disrupt hormones in babies breastfeeding or in utero, particularly during critical development periods."
They are also used in "fragrances" as one of the many chemicals that make up a fragrance. Phthalates are also used to keep plastics flexible and are found in things like nail polish, hair sprays, gels, and lotions. When looking for these on ingredients lists, you may also see them listed as these : DEP, DEHP, or DBP.
Here are some of the chemical names you will find that contain it or release formaldeyde and what to look for on products:
These are found in things like mascara, nail polish, and other body care products. Formaldeyde is highly carcinogenic and is absorbed through the skin and nails. There are much better and safer options for doing your nails and still making them look pretty!
Sulfates- sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate
These chemicals are what make soaps and shampoos lather so good and get bubbly. They remove excess dirt and oil, and because of this, they are very drying to the hair. They act as detergents which are highly irritating to the skin and can make things like eczema worse. This is especially important for babies and kids. It's found in body wash, shampoos, tooth pastes, bubble baths, etc. Stay away when you see SLS!
This is found in most antibacterials soaps and sanitizers as well as some tooth pastes and deodorants. These eventually create drug-resistant bacteria and It can be harmful for kids as it interferes with their immune systems, creating antibiotic resistance. Triclosan disrupts hormones and muscle function and is also a potential carcinogen.
Found in many deodorants, this keeps your body from sweating (which you need to, to detox) and is linked to breast cancer. It also increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease. Stay away from commercial deodorants and opt for healthy organic ones.
DEA -diethanolamine, cocamide and lauramide
These chemicals are found in shampoos, soaps, conditioners, and cosmetics. They are a carcinogen and cause skin issues like dermatitis. MEA (monoethanolamide) and TEA (triethanolamine) are related chemicals to DEA. They can react with other chemicals in cosmetics to form carcinogenic compounds.
Petrochemicals -BHT & BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
These are used in body care products as preservatives and are found in things like diaper cream, lip stick, makeup, and processed foods. They disrupt hormones and are toxic to organs.
PEGs (polyethylene glycol & propylene glycol)
These are used in cosmetics and moisturizers. These will actually enhance the toxic effects of other harmful chemicals because they penetrate quicker and deeper. They can also have high levels of lead and arsenic in them.
Other Harmful Chemicals:
Toluene- found in nail polish
Phenylendiamine (PPD)- found in hair dyes
Coal Tar-found in hair dyes and makeup
These are a lot of chemicals to avoid but it is possible to! There are wonderful options out there and endless recipes for making your own products if you wish.
www.ewg.org has great articles and resources for products and detailed information on specific chemicals if that interests you. They have a wonderful phone app that I use. You can scan an item's bar code with the app and it will tell you how clean a product is and what ingredients are concerns. Think Dirty is also another app that is very similar and helpful at determining if a product is safe if you don't know how to read labels or ingredient names.
You are probably wondering where you can get safe and great general product info.
Here are some resources:
Looking for hair products that will smell and work great? I've got some resources for you!
Make sure to keep your eyes out for fragrance free shampoos and conditioners. Same with your gels and sprays. There are great hair options on the detox market as well as thrive market, amazon, young living, and the list goes on. When shopping in a beauty store or health food store, I like to use the Think Dirty or EWG app. I can scan any product and it will tell me if it's something okay to use or not and will show me what ingredients are questionable. It doesn't always have every brand so you have to learn some of the names of chemicals to look out for, like the ones I mentioned before. For specific brands or products, here are some of the ones I use and like. Again, everyone's hair is different so you have to find what works for you! As a side note, when going to a salon, find one that is more natural minded, or even better yet, do what I do and bring your shampoo, conditioner, detangler, and spray with! They will gladly use it on your hair instead of those other chemical infused products.
Things I like:
For hair Coloring:
Check these websites out if you dye your hair and want to switch to something more natural.
Remember, have fun looking for safe and healthy products for your hair and scalp!
When it comes to skin care, this is one of the most important things I focus on. Whatever goes onto the skin, 60-70% of it gets absorbed. It's so important to be mindful of what you feed and hydrate it with. Everything happening on the outside is a reflection of what is happening on the inside. Healing your gut makes a large difference with your skin issues, as well as many other things like stress, infections, and so forth. I want to focus on leading you to some great, natural, organic, and safe skincare products that you can feel good about using. I make my own soaps, lotions, salves, oils, and balm and sell them here on this website through etsy. They are made with essential oils, goat milk, and many wonderful and pure nourishing oils like coconut and avocado. I personally love bar soaps because they are environmentally friendly as our boxes are compostable, and they last a long time. If you are looking for something else and don't like bar soaps or looking for something different because you have allergies to certain oils, don't despair! For starters, the company 100% pure has wonderful options for skin, makeup, and hair. It's fruit pigmented and smells amazing! I have a dark brown mascara and it smells like chocolate😁
If you are looking for something not so fruity smelling, young living has great products for face and body. Annemarie Gianni is another great skin care line with natural and herbal products.
Dr. Bronner's is a great and clean soap for you and your whole family as well.
Here are some of the links and again, have some fun with it while looking to see what works for your skin!
Makeup & Nail Polish
When it comes to makeup, I don't personally wear a lot but like to when I'm going out somewhere, or for events. Makeup can be a hard switch for some people, especially if they use a lot. Some brands can be expensive so you will have to determine what your needs are and what you use the most of. Savvy Minerals (by Young Living), has a wonderful makeup line that is essential oil infused and completely natural! It's easy to use and works for me but I also use some other brands as well. I like to switch things up and not use the exact same products over and over. It's good to have some variety. Orglamix is my favorite eye shadow choice. They have other makeup as well but they have many colors and fun kits you can try. They also don't have a ridiculous price tag and work great!
100% pure has great makeup options that are fruit pigmented so what's not to love?
Maybe you are looking for something more neutral? Check out WELL People or Lily Lolo. They both have great mascaras and other makeup.
If you are looking for safe and more natural options for nails, 100% pure has some options, as well as piggy paint (kid friendly), and mineral infusions. Just think about when you walk into a nail salon and all the chemicals you are smacked into the face with. It's so strong and that is a warning that something is in those products shouldn't be going into your body. Now if you are going to a nail salon, just bring your own nail polish and they will be happy to use it for you!
Other Nail Polish brands:
ella + mila
Dental, Personal Hygiene & Deodorant
When it comes to what you put into your mouth, it's important because you have taste buds, saliva glands, tonsils, and teeth that all need support! Put down the fluoride tooth paste and opt for something that doesn't contain it and has other cleansing ingredients. Thieves toothpaste is infused with coconut oil and essential oils that help with fresh breath. If you are looking for something different, there are powders that you can use that have bentonite clay in them to help your gums and cleanse gently. Brands like: David's, primal life, dr. bronner's, and the dirt are great options!
Regarding women's hygiene,
Using organic cotton pads, tampons, or silicone diva cups are helpful during a period. Steer clear of the commerical brands like posie, always, etc. They don't use organic cotton and other chemicals are added like aluminum, alcohols, boa, fragrance additives and hydrocarbons. You do not want these going into your body. Plus they are absorbed quicker too when you use these products. Look into using reusable cups or organic products that are safer and won't have the bleaching that create dioxin (affects your hormones and immune system). There are great brands like seventh generation, diva cup, and more! Take some time to research and try some.
Regarding deodorants, I like making my own and finding what works for my skin. I even use coconut oil and essential oil of manuka for my deodorant at times. There are lots of recipes for homemade deodorants, but make sure to see what the ratio of baking soda is. Some people are very sensitive to it and can break out with rashes or bumps. Unscented is always a great option when you have sensitive skin, other wise using something that has lavender and tea tree essential oils in it makes for a great antimicrobial punch!
Some brands for great deodorants (if you need one, some people do not) are: primal pit paste, mother dirt (spray), captain blankenship, kopari, primal life organics, and we also make some deodorants as well on our Eden Wellness shop. It will also take time switching to a natural deodorant. You can even do a arm pit detox (you can find on one of our previous articles) to help prep your pits and skin for more natural products.
Cleaning, Towels, and Rugs
Besides just replacing skin and body care products in the bathroom, what about cleaning it? Opt for healthy and safe options for cleaning the floors, toilets, mirrors, shower, and other surfaces. Vinegar and essential oils go a long way. Otherwise, look into the great resources we have on our kitchen detox article. There you will find great brands that are safe and healthy to use.
If you are a step further and want to continue to make your bathroom even better, look at your towels. They dry your skin when it's wet, so some of the chemicals and fibers can even soak into your skin over time. Same with your rugs. Go for organic cotton rugs and towels. You can feel good wrapping yourself in a clean, chemical free towel. You may spend a little more upfront but they will last a long time. Of course this is all a process so don't feel like you have to do that! I'm still improving things in my house each year. Do what you can with what you have where you are. That's my reminder in life. We are always changing in some way and never staying the exact same. You might not have the finances right now for all these switches and that's okay! Just start with the specific things like body wash and hand soap and find something easy, cost-effective, and safe. You will be glad you did.
Time To Start Swapping!
So now you got the info, knowledge, and resources to start detoxing your beauty and body care products. Where do you start, what do you do first? Go with the things you use every day and that you use the most of. Your skin will thank you. You will feel better, you body will detox from those chemicals, and before you know it, you will like healthier products better then the conventional ones! Remember, don't overwhelm yourself. If you have a little to use up, do it and then switch over to something safe, clean, and refreshing. Remember you are doing this to better your health, help others, and you even help the environment you are in by making the switch. Do some research and get familiar with looking for the ingredients I listed in the beginning of the article. Half the battle is just finding products that are 'truly clean'. Once you take the first step, the second one is easier! I hope you have enjoyed this article and have learned some helpful resources and tips from it. Feel free to ask questions or for recommendations. Lastly, stay tuned for our other detox articles to come!