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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dying to be Beautiful?

Do you ever stop to think whats in the products you slather on your body and face every day? Go right now and pick up your bottle of shampoo or face cream and read the ingredient list. Can you pronounce any of the ingredients? Do you know what any of them are?

 If your like me, you choose products based on how good they smell to you. When you see fragrance/parfum listed as an ingredient, what you are actually getting is a combination of hundreds of chemicals, most of which are derived from petroleum or by chemical synthesis. It won't matter how good you are at reading labels, because the precise ingredients that go into "fragrance" are kept a secret.

You might feel better knowing that Health Canada systematically tested fragrance ingredients for safety in your personal care products. But they don't.

On the other hand, Environmental Defence and the Environmental Working Group tested perfumes, colognes and body sprays in their new report, Not so sexy: the health risks of secret chemicals in fragrance. They found most brands had on average 10 sensitizing chemicals. It's these sensitizers that can trigger allergies and asthma, and cause headaches, wheezing and contact dermatitis — better known as a rash.

Other ingredients in your products are known cancer causing agents, are related to developmental/reproductive toxicity, can contribute to allergies/immunotoxicity, and may contavene  violations, restrictions & warnings on use of these chemicals because of contamination concerns and occupational hazards.

This wonderful site allows you to type in the name of your product and gives you a breakdown of the ingredients and how harmful they are. Cosmetics Database - Cosmetic Safety Reviews

Go here to read the complete breakdown of what is in my bottle of hair conditioner. Blech...and thats just my hair conditioner. I use on average, eighteen different personal care products each and every day. Talk about a toxic overload! Adding insult to injury, most of these products are packaged in plastic and you know how I feel about plastic. Read my post The Plastic Diet if you haven't already.

So what can you do? Don't worry, there are lots of natural alternative solutions. Most of what you need, you can find in your own kitchen.

Here is a wonderful site with all kinds of natural recipes for shampoo, conditioner and hair dye
Pioneer Thinking

Here is another great site with lots of recipes for skin care recipes and remedies

Just google "natural recipes" for whatever product you want to replace and you are sure to come up with all kinds of hits. By being proactive and choosing to make your own beauty products or by buying products that list only natural ingredients that are packaged and produced in healthy, sustainable ways, you will be doing your part to keep yourself , your family and the environment as healthy as possible.

An interesting personal story. Years ago, I was in a car accident and was in too much pain to work. I went to live with my grandmother for awhile as I had no income. She lived in an old farmhouse with copper pipes. I found when I took showers there my hair was turning green from the old pipes. It made me not want to shower at her house anymore. There was a beautiful small river nearby and I took to swimming there every day, as being weightless in the water was my only relief from the pain I was in. For a whole summer, I swam every day. I never once used any form of soap or shampoo. I had stopped showering at my Grans as well. Now you would think after months of not using any kind of soap that I would stink and my hair would be a greasy mess. On the contrary, even though all I did was float in fresh water and dry off in the sun, my skin and hair were sweet smelling. My hair was its healthiest ever. It was soft , shiny, healthy and clean. My scalp didn't itch and my hair glowed with health. I know we don't all have the luxery of a fresh water stream to bathe in every day, but it just goes to show you, that all the chemicals we are using to clean ourselves are not neccesary and most likely create a rebound effect where, the more you use them, the more you need to use them.


  1. Thanks for the great link to the natural recipes site. I've been making my own sugar scrub with olive oil and sugar for sometime and scent it with an essential oil if need be. I also have switched to just using olive oil to moisturize when I get out of the shower. Not only is it just cheaper all the way around I find that it "lasts" on the skin better than any commercial lotions do. I always found I was wanting to apply more lotion througout the day too so overall those chemical creams were probably having the opposite effect.

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