Archive for beauty products

All-Purpose Cleaning

When it comes to beauty/personal care products, I have pretty much use one thing:ย  Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.

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Dr. Bronner’s is a castile soap, which really just means that it is an all-vegetable oil soap. The (few) ingredients are listed clearly on the front to show that this soap is truly organic and all-natural. There are no questionable ingredients with potentially harmful side-effects. Dr. Bronner’s is biodegradable and no harmful waste is produced when it is manufactured.

The soap comes in liquid and bar form, with the liquid being very concentrated. The liquid is what I personally use everyday. What do I use it for?

  • Body wash. I put 2-3 squirts on my body poof, lather it up, and wash.
  • Shampoo. I tried this after I just couldn’t get my hair clean with baking soda. So I just use a a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s on my hair, making sure to work it all over. I have found, however, that occasionally switching the Dr. Bronner’s out for baking soda works really well.
  • Face Wash. Since it doesn’t take much to clean my face, when I wash my face in the shower I like to wash my face after I have lathered my hair but before I rinse so that I can use the suds already on my hands. If I am out of the shower I just use a couple pumps of my hand soap.
  • Hand soap. For this use it is best to dilute the soap. How much, though, depends on your preference and what kind of pump you use. A regular soap pump will require more soap but a foaming soap pump will allow you to use much less. For my pumps I filled the dispenser up about 1/2 inch or so and filled the rest with water. You can always buy a nice pump, but I simply went to the Dollar Tree, bought some foaming soap, then rinsed all that soap out so I could use the pump. For this use I have found that it is best to thoroughly wet my hands before using 2-4 pumps of soap.
  • Toothpaste. Okay, this one is a lie. One of the many uses of the soap is toothpaste, so since I was going to be talking about personal care/beauty products, I figured I should try it so I could talk about it. Unfortunately I didn’t like it AT ALL! But I think that is my fault. The peppermint soap is what is recommended for brushing your teeth, but I only have almond in liquid form, so that is what I used. But I like having versatile products, so I think I may get the peppermint soap so I can add one more use to my Dr. Bronner’s.
  • Baby wash. I either put a squirt on a wash cloth and wash his hair and body or put a couple squirts in the bath water and just wash him from that. They even make one without any scents so it is mild enough for baby. Sometimes I use that (I have it in bar form) and sometimes I just use my almond.

Using Dr. Bronner’s has really only been different that using conventional products in one way – it does not lather as well. You can still get a good lather if you want it, thanks to the high fat of the organic coconut oil used, but just not as easily as other products. This is because those products use ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemically-derived surfactant, to produce the rich lather. But I will gladly substitute that lather for my health.

Along with the many personal care uses for Dr. Bronner’s I also use it in other cleaning around the house (but I will save that for another post). The initial cost may seem a little high up front, but since it is concentrated a little goes a long way and it lasts forever. I bought a 32-ounce bottle a few months ago and am not even 1/5 of the way done with it. Plus you aren’t having to buy multiple products! So not only does it save you money in the long run (or even short-run if you are needing to buy multiple products at once) but it produces far less waste from the packaging. That makes it green and thrifty ๐Ÿ™‚


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What’s in your bottle?

Your shampoo bottle that is. As well as your body wash bottle or bar of soap. And while you’re taking a look, look at what is in your toothpaste, your moisturizer, your chapstick, your deodorant, and all those other little necessities we need to stay clean and pretty. Since you probably aren’t going to get up right now to look at any of these products, I’ve taken a picture of my OLD shampoo bottle.

Let’s talk about just a few of these ingredients:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – This detergent and surfactant gives your favorite products the rich lather and foam we all love so much and associate with clean. It is also found in other products such as mascara, soap, shaving cream, lotion, and stain remover. It is an irritating chemical that can be very dangerous. Even though it is not ingested, it still gets absorbed through the skin and scalp. In the body it mimics the hormone Estrogen andย  can lead to various health problems such as PMS, male fertility problems, and female cancers. It can also lead to skin damage, eye damage, and liver toxicity because the liver cannot metabolize it when it gets absorbed.

Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate – This is a very mild co-surfactant that is highly water soluble and is used for its cleaning and foaming properties. It is known to be very gentle and non-irritating to the skin. The problem with this ingredient is not so much the chemical itself but the chemicals that are used with it and the risk of contamination with dangerous chemicals. These two chemicals are ethylene oxide and 1,4 – Dioxane, which are both known to cause cancer, problems with allergies, and developmental and reproductive disorders .

Methylchloroisothizolinone – This chemical mix is used as a preservative used not only in cosmetics for its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties but also in many other products such as air conditioners, polishes, pesticides, jet fuels, and metal working liquids. In pure form it can cause chemical burns and be a skin and membrane irritant. Because of this it has been removed from many cosmetics, except for ones that are rinsed off. It is still used in various other forms as a solution for sensitive skin users, however. There are also many concerns surrounding this chemical because of increased allergies, organ toxicity, and cancer.

Tetrasodium EDTA – This chemical is known as a chelating agent. This means that it strips your hair lightly before a chemical process. This is what is used for that “clarifying” effect. It also acts as a preservative so your cosmetic product does not go rancid. The concerns with this chemical are that it is easily absorbed by the skin and can cause bioaccumulation, which means that a toxic chemical is absorbed by your body faster than it is lost. This can lead to non-reproductive organ toxicity and irritation. This “safe” chemical is also cojnsidered an occupational hazard, meaning that those who are exposed to and handle this chemical at their job are at an increased risk of health hazards. This chemical can also lead to, you guessed it, cancer.

Sounds nice, huh? After reading that the ingredient label should really just be:

All of these chemicals are considered safe since they are used in small amounts, but think but think of all the products you use on a daily basis that contain these chemicals and more. You are definitely getting exposed to these chemicals in much larger doses than the FDA considers safe. And aside from all the nasty chemicals I would just like to point out that the first ingredient in this shampoo is water. Water. The largest ingredient is the first one listed, so you are paying a hefty price tag for something that you pay pennies for at your own home. So that makes most conventional shampoos ungreen and unthrifty ๐Ÿ™‚

This is the first post in a series I am doing on natural beauty products. Stay tuned for more information on what is really in your cosmetics and beauty products as well as alternatives that won’t cost you a fortune.

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