The 'non toxic' world can be absolutely overwhelming when first starting out and quite honestly my brain even 6 years into the process can get overwhelmed. However, I found that one swap at a time made the world of difference.
Some brands that I found helpful for my children that didn't break the bank, were at my local store. I found the key words to avoid in ALL cosmetic and body care products were: Fragrance, Benzene, Phthalates. Phthalates like DBP, DEHP, and DEP, and Parabens...some of the few to avoid. We will cover more in another blog post. But I want to make this short and sweet so it is easily digestible and can be applied.
Fragrances can be composed of any combination of up to 3,000 chemicals. It is rare to find out what specific compounds compose that product since fragrance is such a broad term. And I am honestly upset at all of the companies that claim to be clean and use fragrance in their shampoos/conditioners etc. Reading labels is vital in ensuring we are using clean products. Sadly we cannot trust companies. Their greenwashing tactics which can include the words organic, safe, gentle, effective etc. honestly doesn't mean much.
Benzene, a known carcinogen found in basically every aerosol dry shampoo can. Well, in every aerosol can since it is a chemical reaction that occurs during the process of hydroxylation. Old Spice, certain perfumes, hair sprays etc contain benzene.
Phthalates make the fragrances in your skin care products stick to your skin or make the product itself more pliable. There is plenty of research that indicates that this family of ingredients disrupts the endocrine system and is toxic to our organs (both reproductive and non-reproductive). They might also cause birth defects.
Paraben studies are honestly fascinating. Simplified, parabens act as preservatives in most products on the store shelves. According to the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, parabens mimic estrogen in the body and are endocrine disruptors. As the group explains, “studies have shown that parabens can affect the mechanisms of normal breast cells and potentially influence their abnormal growth, leading to increased risk for breast cancer.” The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) reports that parabens have also been linked to reproductive, immunological, neurological and skin irritation problems. Shampoos/conditioners, skin care products, and body washes contain parabens.
I have found that just a nice old bar soap from the local farmers market of health food store(most conventional grocery stores have bar soaps that are filled with ickies, so I avoid. I have never once found a clean bar soap at Walmart or Target, but Fred Meyers or local Krogers does have better options.
Overall, don't be fearful about what you put on your body, but just be informed. Knowledge is power and your skin will thank you. In my Holistic Hair Guide found on my website under ebooks, I also recommend a handful of natural alternatives that I use and love.